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Unexpected wedding photo lessons on a Tokyo Beach

A wedding photo session at Jonanjima Seaside Park?  I never thought I’d see that.  After all, the surrounding area is all industrial.  And a short distance over Tokyo Bay is Haneda Airport.  On the water were various ships, none of them beautiful cruise liners.  And the beach?  It was brown sand, not like the white ones I’m used to in Australia.  It’s not exactly the most beautiful place in the world.  But in the end, I learned a thing or two about photography.

wedding couple preparing to take photos with boat passing by

I went there to do aircraft spotting a few months ago.  The beach offers a different perspective of the airport.  Few people were there when I arrived.  A plane photographer was on one side, and some girls were eating McDonald’s on the other.

photographer and couple walking on beach during wedding photo session

After my first few photos, I stopped to check them.  From the corner of my eye, I saw a group of people coming my way.  They were escorting a girl in a wedding dress and a guy in a suit.  Why would you wear that at this beach?  Then I noticed the others.  There was a man with a camera.  Two others were carrying various photography accessories and bags.

Then I understood.  The couple were doing their wedding photos.  But, doing them at industrial Jonanjima?  I was there for aircraft spotting, so I didn’t pay them too much attention.  Still, it reminded me of the Shibuya bride I photographed in 2019.  So I took a few photos, “just in case.”  They left after a short while, and I didn’t think anything of it until I came home.

people preparing for photos on rocks at beach

When I looked at the photos, I realized something.  The couple had employed a real professional photographer.   He knew his craft.  He had chosen to start doing the wedding pictures a little before golden hour.  The ocean and ships upon it would have looked beautiful at that time.  And, as he used a flash.  That would have illuminated the couple against the soft background.  His images probably looked incredible.

bride and groom posing for photo

Their wedding photographer would have taken his photos with the lens wide open.  Doing that would have blurred whatever was behind the couple.  Workboats or cargo ships would be indistinguishable from beautiful cruise liners.

bride and groom with assistant

I knew this because it was visible in my own pictures.  My lens was Fujifilm 100-400 mm.  With its long focal length, it allowed me to blur my backgrounds!  That makes me feel confident in saying his pictures would have been good.  It would have been better if I could have seen them, though!

bride and groom sitting on log

Why do I think that?  Well, when I looked at my photos of them, that is what I saw.  The only difference is that I didn’t have a flash.  But I bet the photographer knew exactly what he was doing.  

bride and groom laughing at beach

By looking at the photos, he taught me a couple of lessons.  It would be good if I could thank him for that.  If you have questions or comments, please leave them below.

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