If you are either a keen photographer and really want to create some memorable shots of Tokyo, one of our photowalks or walking workshops could be right up your street.
If you are visiting Japan and want to arrange something more bespoke, in locations outside of Tokyo, please get in touch. Alfie has shot all over Japan for a variety of clients and has almost 20 years of experience in the country and is regularly organising photowalks, workshops and photography lessons all over Japan.
One of the attractions of Japanorama’s Photo Walks is that Alfie still get as excited about Tokyo and Japan as he did when he first came here sixteen years ago. That enthusiasm, backed up with good local knowledge, makes him a great guide. Plus, not only does he cover the main tourist areas of Tokyo – Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Tsukiji for example – but loves getting off the beaten track and showing visitors some of the more interesting and lesser-known parts of town.
Alfie is an accomplished professional photographer, shooting a different job most days of the week [portraits, fashion, cars, news, landscapes etc]. He’s a generalist, not a specialist so there’ll be tons of useful shooting tips he’ll be able to give you… and he’s been shooting professionally for almost 30 years.
On the travel photography side of things, he has shot in Tokyo and Kyoto for Travel+Leisure Magazine. He’s also shot in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Tohoku, Kyushu, Shikoku and other places for a host of inflight magazines [United, Cathay, KLM, AirMexico, Air Asia, Malaysian Airways, SAS to name a few] so his insights into shooting for editorial and feature publications will hep you see and get the best of Tokyo whilst you’re here.
If you’re interested in shooting some portraits whilst you are here, Alfie’s experience of shooting fashion, news and editorial features in Tokyo and Japan will be something you can tap into during your stay. Read more about his clients and see some of the work he’s shot for them, here.
All this aside, Alfie is passionate about photography and Japan.. and loves showing people around.
In 2015, Alfie became an ambassador for Hasselblad cameras in Japan and as well as the Nikons he’s been using for years, he also shoots with the Hasselblad H4D-40. He also runs workshops for Hasselblad.
He explains everything below and there are also some superbly crafted magazines to see, all made from pictures shot by visitors during their tours.
“My photography teaching also means that you can combine taking in the sites of Tokyo with learning something new about taking photos.
Whether you are a serious tourist and hobbyist photographer, or a serious photographer who loves travelling a photowalk with me will surely have something to offer you.
Bespoke guided walks and lessons for you, not just ‘another Tokyo photowalk’
I don’t offer a fixed selection of walks in just the usual touristy places and pride myself on knowing a great portion of Tokyo like the back of my hand.
Whether you are looking for an informative and educational photowalk of the usual tourist spots or something a little more off of the beaten-track, I will be able to put together a great route for you.
A chance to see Tokyo through the eyes of a professional photographer and to learn how the pro works
A big part of what everyone who has taken a photowalk or who has done lessons with me learns is the mindset and methodologies of the professional. Getting the perfect shot when you have all the time in the world or can take as many shots as you like… well, with all respect, that’s a lot easier than getting the shot under pressure or in as few frames as possible. Here are some of the things people who’ve taken a tour with me have learned or gained more experience with:
- Choosing the best viewpoint quickly
- Pre-focusing and getting your exposure settings sorted out so that you can nail the shot in one go, quickly and without disturbing the moment you’re trying to capture
- Pre-visualising the final picture, including shooting in a specific picture style [black and white, for example] and choosing subjects to fit that style
- Shooting for print, thinking horizontal and vertical and thinking about how the picture works amongst text
- Shooting a series of related shots
- Shooting with various lenses and being able to pre-visualize the scene well enough to know which lens to use on which subject
- Shooting all day with one, prime lens
- Pretending we’re using film and shooting just 24 or 36 shots, with no deleting
- Shooting 200 pictures and editing those down to 10 great shots
- Basic digital workflow and post-processing
- Getting the best RAW file
- Night and long exposure photography
- Looking back into photography history and how the great photographers of the past have shot similar subjects
Check out a special edition of my digital magazine, Stekki, which I recently made with a student – pro photographer, Shelly Han – who was in town from the US to do a day-long lesson/photowalk with me.
Shelly was kind enough to say a few words about the lesson we had together: “When I first found Alfie’s website it was clear he could take great photos and had a fresh eye on a very over-photographed city. After our time together I can now say he is a that rare combination–a talented photographer and a great teacher. Within five minutes of meeting he had already pushed me outside my comfort zone–in the most very kind way possible, of course! I came away from the lesson much more confident with shutter speed and enjoyed the challenge of seeing things in black and white. He also helped me think more concisely about framing shots and talked to me about how he “sees” his photos. I came away with some photographs I really love and a lot more confidence in my street photography.”
Here’s another magazine, made with shots from a two day photowalk and lesson I did more recently with Paul Rasmussen.
Paul commented on the experience: “I had the pleasure to spend two very interesting days with Alfie starting with the challenge of visualisation when walking the streets of Akabane. Making me understand how information partners in a picture and how a story can be told and tension can be built up in a single image has enhanced my ability to work on more eye-catching scenes and given me a tremendous amount of motivation to push myself. We have further worked on difficult light situations, shooting flash, shooting monochrome and dived into post processing workflow. Locations were Akabane, Shinagawa, a quiet library and the Hasselblad venue in Tokyo. Besides all the knowledge and tips Alfie has shared with me, I’m inspired by his professionalism. – On my flight back from Tokyo to Zurich, I spent two hours writing several pages of all the things I have learnt; two pages alone are merely on the topic of what makes a professional photographer.
Here’s how the photowalk process typically works:
- You email me asking about a walk or tour
- I’ll ask you what sort of thing you are looking to see, learn and enjoy
- I’ll put together a route using GoogleMaps and mail you the link: route maps include all pertinent information about what you’ll see in each place.
- I can attach some sample images of the area, that I’ve taken on previous walks or as part of the daily photography I do in Tokyo.
- I’ll confirm the route and arrange our meeting place.
- You either pay in advance by PayPal or pay on the day with cash. I can also take credit cards. For cards there is a 4% surcharge on top of the usual rate for the tour.
A bespoke route, based on what you want to see and shoot
I always try to tailor the photowalks and lessons to what you want to see, do and shoot. I can put everything together onto a Google map so that you can see, beforehand, what sort of places and areas we can cover in the time you book me for. See a Google Map that I put together for one of my tour clients, who had a one-day photowalk. Click here to visit the full map.
I also recently made a Photographer’s Map of Tokyo & Japan, which has more than a hundred places marked on it – each with a photo – and several complete photowalks.
See some of my own shots from Tokyo, here at my blog….
See my commercial portfolio and some editorial, Japan-related features here: