Selfies have their place, sure, but when you're on holiday in a pretty city like Tokyo, you want to capture the bigger picture. Plus, you don't want to have to keep nagging locals with photo requests (although Tokyoites do enjoy a good tourist snap). Also, wouldn't it just be nice to have a few professional, atmospheric shots of you and your partner/friends/family that you can turn into a nostalgic coffee-table album?
Enter Travelshoot, a boutique travel photography company that connects travellers with local photographers in popular destinations around the world, including Australia, Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. They've already done the networking and have a host of photographers on hand in different cities, so when you book one of their packages via their website, they make all the arrangements on your behalf and then put you in touch with your very own professional photographer. You can choose between three different packages: Basic (one hour, ¥32,700), Gold Standard (two hours, ¥49,200) and High-Flyer (four hours, ¥73,900). They recommend certain locations, but they are also more than willing to take requests. And you'll get sample images delivered to you via an online gallery within two days, followed by the full edited album within seven days.
Tokyo is fairly new to their lineup, so when we heard about the service, we decided to book a session and see just how well it works. We went for the Gold Standard package, which allowed us to shoot at three different locations in the city (they recommended Shibuya Crossing, Harajuku's shopping streets and Meiji Shrine) and promised 50 professionally edited photographs. Travelshoot was quick and efficient, arranging our meeting time and place with Tokyo-based photographer Heath Smith.
Heath was great. He put us at ease and asked us upfront what style of photography we like, whether we wanted images that were playful, romantic or just more straightforward. He also asked us what kind of editing techniques we like such as black and white, popping colours or something a little more subtle. Our two-hour session started out at Shibuya Crossing, after which he took us through the backstreets to Harajuku and then to the lush grounds around Meiji Shrine. Besides getting some superb shots out of it (scroll down for a few of our favourites), we have to say, it's kind of cool strolling around Tokyo with your very own photographer in tow.
For more information or to make a booking for yourself, visit travelshoot.com.