Based in Japan, I am an English-speaking documentary wedding photographer with a BA in Photography from the University of the Arts London and 20 years of documentary and event photography experience. I work primarily in the Kansai region of Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara but have the ability to reach Tokyo by a one-hour direct flight, and I can travel to the islands of Okinawa and Hokkaido in approximately 4–5 hours.
TADO Visuals was founded with the aim of creating a unique documentary wedding photography service for clients seeking more natural and less contrived wedding photographs. My philosophy and background in documentary photography/photojournalism means that I maintain a low-key presence: I don’t get in the way, take over or interfere in your wedding any more than is absolutely necessary to capture the special moments that make up your day. In both photojournalism and wedding photography, I always look to capture images that tell a story, and I work tirelessly to get the best photos possible.
Style & Approach
My style and approach to wedding photography is informed by my background as a documentary photographer and is best described as “documentary wedding photography”. This style, which is often referred to as “wedding photojournalism” or “reportage wedding photography”, is about creating unposed, authentic images – capturing, as Henri Cartier Bresson would have called it, the “decisive moments” of your wedding day without interfering in the day’s proceedings. It is a subtle and unobtrusive approach to wedding photography which results in photographs that capture intimate moments in a more natural and arguably more honest way than conventional wedding photography.
Some moments are quiet and reserved, whereas others are full of drama and excitement. Responding to and recording the energy of these moments is what makes wedding photography a challenge but one that I enjoy.
Rather than being actively engaged in the choreography of your wedding day, I am more of a “fly-on-the-wall” observer – following the action like a news photographer might in order to capture a set of images which reveal all the characters and relationships of your wedding day in narrative form. Some moments are quiet and reserved, whereas others are full of drama and excitement. Responding to and recording the energy of these moments is what makes wedding photography a challenge but one that I enjoy.
Decisive Moments, Precious Moments
To me, good wedding photography is about good storytelling. To tell the story of the wedding day, the wedding photographer must be highly adept at recognising and responding to the important moments of the day – both the big moments, full of drama and excitement, and the intimate and subtle moments that might otherwise have been overlooked. This skill comprises both a technical ability based on training and experience as well as the ability to respond emotionally to events as they unfold. The skilful wedding photographer records these important moments and weaves them together to build a photographic narrative that faithfully records the essence of the day so that the images can be enjoyed for years to come.
The most important days of our lives are made of moments, and the best photographers are capable of anticipating and capturing those moments as they happen. Once those moments have passed, they are gone forever and are impossible to reproduce. For that reason, it is important to work with a photographer who can respond intuitively, skillfully and creatively to events as they unfold. The difference between traditional wedding photography and documentary wedding photography is that those moments aren’t fabricated. One approach is not necessarily better than the other. However, I am very much a documentarian and as such will endeavour to photograph your wedding with as little interference as possible.
The most important days of our lives are made of moments, and the best photographers are capable of anticipating and capturing those moments as they happen.
We take photographs because we want to record the precious moments in our lives. Those photographs become documents of our histories, our families and the people we love. When our memories fade, we can look back at these images and remember these beautiful, intimate and unrepeatable moments. This is the unique power of photography and why photographs are often our most treasured possessions. Recording important moments in the lives of others is a huge privilege and one that I do not take lightly.
A wedding day is a public declaration of love and commitment and is a major landmark in life. Your wedding day is about you and your loved ones. It is about you and all those special moments you will share with your family and friends. Therefore, it is important that you and your guests are able to enjoy the day without interruption. From the beginning of the day until the end, I will quietly but diligently document the event as it unfolds and capture those special moments between you and your loved ones. My aim is to blend into the background so that I do not interfere with or interrupt the event in any way. When you and your guests are more focused on the wedding itself, rather than my camera, you’re able to relax more, which, in turn, results in more natural, unaffected photographs.
If you do hire me, I will work tirelessly to take the best photographs I can of your special day. That is a promise.
Traditional vs. Documentary
Many people enjoy posing for photographs, but others (myself included) would rather spend that time enjoying the company of our friends and relatives. For some people, creating fun group shots is an essential part of their wedding day. Other people, however, prefer more natural, candid photographs. There is no right or wrong approach to wedding photography – it’s entirely an individual preference, and both approaches can result in wonderful images. That said, I cater specifically to those who want their photographer to capture the very real moments as they occur, rather than spending time creating posed portraits or engineering stiff-looking compositions. That said, group shots are, of course, not excluded; however, I am the first to admit that posed shots, portraits and group photos are not my strength as a photographer.
Some people prefer a traditional kind of wedding photography, with lots of posed shots, portraits and group photos. Though I appreciate the skill required to make those kinds of photographs, that isn’t my preferred style or approach to wedding photography.
I cater to people who prefer non-traditional, documentary-style wedding photography (also known as wedding photojournalism or reportage wedding photography). This kind of photography is unstaged and unposed and results in entirely natural wedding photographs.
In years to come, some people might prefer to see themselves in amusingly composed group photos with all of their friends – and that’s entirely understandable. However, some people prefer to see photos that are intimate and capture moments of pure emotion.
Though I am biased, I believe that unposed images that capture moments of genuine emotion are the most difficult to create, as they require an ability to be in the right place at the right time, with the right camera settings, composition and sense of timing. These are skills acquired through years and years of practice. If done well, these images will tell the story of your day in intimate detail and will help you relive the experience for years to come. They will also be an authentic and meaningful record of all the moments you may have missed throughout the day.
Over the years, I’ve photographed events attended by hundreds of people and events attended by fewer than 25 guests. In my experience, when it comes to making great photographs, it doesn’t matter how large or small an event is, because it’s the people and their relationships that make event photography such enjoyable work.
This is the kind of wedding photography that I do.
The Decisive Moment
Photography is a form of time travel. Single moments frozen in time have the unique ability to transport us back through the years and relive past experiences. These sorts of photographs, which are often among our most treasured possessions, serve as a special kind of scaffold to the past, something that can strengthen memory and relationships. In the years, even decades, after a photograph has been taken, the images can transport us back to that special place at that special time and with those special people. That’s the magic of photography, and that is why it’s so important to work with a photographer capable of recording those unique moments with sensitivity, honesty and creativity. These moments might best be described as “decisive moments”.
“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second of the significance of an event.”Henri Cartier-Bresson
In the 17th century, the French writer of memoirs and agitator Jean François Paul de Gondi stated, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.” Centuries later, Henri Cartier-Bresson – the pioneer and founding father of street photography and photojournalism and arguably the most significant photographer of the twentieth century – would apply this concept to the new and rapidly evolving field of photography. This approach could be defined as the act of capturing an event that is ephemeral and spontaneous, where the image represents the essence of the event itself.
In the tradition of Cartier-Bresson, I am passionate about visual storytelling and capturing decisive moments. For me, photographing a wedding represents a privileged opportunity to apply these skills in a meaningful way. It is also a great responsibility and one that I do not take lightly.
Thanks for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.