Other than beautiful natural landscapes and rich street life, Japan also has another perfect subject for your photography, especially if you’re into architectural photography. Traditional Japanese houses are rich with unique design features that each hold their own importance in the country’s culture. Many such features are also made a part of more modern houses due to their importance and practicality.

This makes Japanese houses very interesting subjects for photographers visiting Japan. Let’s take a look at some of the best features of traditional Japanese houses before going over some tips for interior photography.

Maximum Use of Light

Your camera will love Japanese houses because of the amazing light that is made part of the indoors. The use of paper screens that slide in and out of spaces as needed is a great way not only to connect and divide spaces but also lets in a lot of light into the house. This light is also diffused, which is great for photography as there are no harsh shadows anywhere in sight. The screens themselves are sometimes so beautifully crafted that they become very interesting subjects.

Connecting the Outdoors with the Indoors

The Engawa is a corridor that is present all around a traditional Japanese house. This becomes a great place to sit and relax, but it also serves the purpose of connecting the outdoor nature with the indoor spaces. This is also why Japanese houses are so well lit, as this space around the house allows light to come in from all sides.

Unique Indoor Spaces

Japanese homes have multiple very unique spaces that each serve a purpose. All of these make taking interior photos of Japanese houses a very fun experience. Spaces like the Ofuro which is a space for bathing usually made separately from the toilet, and the Irori which is a sunken space that is used for heating a room during winters and also as a cooking space make Japanese homes completely different from what you may have ever seen before.

So Japanese houses have some great features that you can photograph, but how should you be photographing them? Let’s talk about some tips and tricks you can try:

Use a Wide Angle Lens

Interior spaces can be very small at times, and a standard lens may not always be able to capture the scene you are trying to photograph. This is where a wide angle lens comes in handy. It will help you take photos that are not only dramatic but also contain a lot more information in them than a ‘normal’ lens would.

Use a Wide Aperture

Using a wide-angle lens with a wide aperture will ensure that your photos are not underexposed. Yes, Japanese homes are well-lit, but a wider aperture will also allow you to use a faster shutter speed. This means you can shoot hand-held, and therefore faster than you otherwise would be able to. It can be very helpful if you’re short on time.

Make Sure You Clean Up

An otherwise perfect shot can be ruined by something small that doesn’t belong in the scene which you missed. So be careful to set up your shot properly and clean up your scene. It doesn’t hurt to make a few changes in the space before you press the shutter to ensure that you end up with the best possible image.

Learn to Post-Process

Cleaning up your images after you’ve taken them, on a computer, is a very important step in professional photography. There are many impressive photo editing software programs available today that make this process very easy. You can not only fix the exposure and contrast of your photos but can also remove objects you don’t want in your frame, change the white balance if you’ve shot the image in RAW, work in multiple layers, create composite images, and much more. To find the best image editor for your needs, it’s best to try them out first to get a feel of what you like most.

So the next time you’re in Japan, don’t just get caught up in the street life and the natural sights, take some time to visit some traditional homes and capture some of the architectural heritage the country boasts. I assure you it will be one of the best indoor shooting experiences you’ll ever have.

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Many professional photographers and even enthusiasts know the benefits of shooting in RAW. However, there is a large number of people who aren’t familiar with all they can do with RAW photos.

RAW Photos are Generally Better Quality

A RAW photo contains all the image data your camera’s sensor captures. This means that the files you end up with are not compressed into JPEGs by your camera, hence giving you the maximum quality possible from the sensor. Why is it important? Because you can edit RAW files without destroying your image as RAW processing is not about artificially enhancing your photos but rather lets you tweak the image data to get the look you want for your photos.

They Let You Be a Little Free

Since a RAW photo can be processed as needed after you’ve imported the file to your computer, you don’t have to keep worrying about nailing every single aspect of your photo while taking it. While a blurred image cannot be salvaged even if taken in RAW, you can easily tweak your photo’s exposure, highlights, sharpness, color balance, and much more.

Making HDRs is Easier

If you want to create HDR images, then the format again is the best way to go. Merging multiple RAW images to create an HDR photo means that you can manipulate the final look of your photo without ruining the image quality while editing in an hdr photo editor.

You can be Creative

Once you have a RAW file in your hands, you can do all manner of changes to it later on. This means that your creativity can flow unhindered. Sometimes you don’t always know what you’re going to do with a photo when you are taking it and it’s only when you see on your computer that you want to make it look a certain way. A RAW file lets you do that while maintaining the integrity of the photo.

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Being a travel photographer, while very exciting, can be a little tricky sometimes. You can’t just go to a place like Japan and start taking photos, hoping to capture something amazing. I mean, you can do that if you a tourist and your main motivation is to have a vacation. But if you are a photographer and want to really capture the essence and beauty of Japan, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

  1. Choose Your Gear Carefully

The first thing I always tell travel photographers to do is to carry the right gear. Yes, you can take along a heavy DSLR with multiple lenses, but do you really need all that? If not, then it’s better to take along a lighter and more compact camera. This will allow you to see more without worrying constantly about all the things you have to carry with you.

  1. Wake Up Early

The golden hour is arguably the best time to capture photos of landscapes because of the quality of light you can utilize. To make the most of this light, wake up about an hour before sunrise and you’ll be able to see things in a completely different way.

  1. Be Mindful of Where you Stay

If you are traveling to Japan mainly for photography, then it is vital that you make the right choice when it comes to accommodation. If you want to capture the urban life and the people, then find a place in the center of the city. Otherwise, choose a place where you’ll be able to capture those amazing landscapes the country has to offer.

  1. Get to Know the Place

Don’t just take your camera and start clicking that shutter button. Get to know the area you want to photograph. Go out, talk to people, try the local food, and roam the markets. Once you get to know the place, you’ll have a much deeper story to tell through your photos.

  1. Look for the Little Things

Try to take photos of things most people don’t take photos of when they visit Japan. Look for deeper subjects than the beautiful landscapes or the friendly people. Your photos should tell your point of view of the place, not that which is being told by hundreds of others.

  1. Be Nice

If it isn’t obvious already, if you want to be a successful travel photographer, you need to be nice to people. Learn to say hello to them in their language, greet them with a smile when you approach them, ask them politely if you can take a photo of them, and don’t take a photo of them when you know they don’t want you to. Always remember that if you treat your photography subjects with respect, your chances of getting a good photo of them will increase.

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If you’ve read the previous posts on this website, you should have established by now that photographing Japan is a joy for those who enjoy photographing different cultures and people. However, as a traveler you will mostly be on your feet, walking around with your camera and trying to capture all that you can. A lot of the moments you want to capture will go by very quickly, as they often do in street photography, so the following tips might be helpful in getting the shot you want.

  • When indulging in street photography, always try to use a fast shutter speed if you’re trying to freeze the action around you. While this does reduce the amount of light getting into your camera, it ensures that you don’t miss an important image thanks to the blur caused by slower shutters.

 

  • A black and white image, usually, can be taken in a lesser amount of light than a colored one. So if you’re using a high shutter speed but don’t have enough light to create a well-exposed image, consider shooting in black and white.

 

  • And finally, if you don’t already know, shoot in RAW! This will help you immensely in editing your photos after taking them. You can tweak the exposure, sharpness, colors, and a lot more without degrading image quality if you shoot in RAW.

 

Street photography in Japan is something you simply have to take a shot at the next time you’re there. The culture, the people, the architecture, everything in Japan deserves your attention as a photographer, and with these tips in mind you can be sure to take some great street photos.

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If you have gone through my previous blog posts, you may have already decided to take a trip to Japan yourself. But an important question to ask yourself, especially if you’re a photographer, is what kind of camera should you take along with you?

For Good-Looking Travel Photos – Go Compact

If you’re taking a trip to Japan simply to enjoy as a family and just need to take some photos to record the memories, even a basic compact camera of these days will serve you well. Compacts have come a long way in recent years, providing excellent image quality for their price. While not as robust as a DSLR in image quality, compact cameras are small, lightweight, and better than your average smartphone.

There are many high end compact cameras available as well with larger sensors than usual, allowing you to take some very good photos that can be printed if needed. So don’t be afraid that carrying a compact camera will not let you get some fine art photography done if you’re into that.

For Enthusiast Photography or Professional Work – The Choice is Yours

Now we come to the whole debate of whether a DSLR is better or is mirror-less the new pro. The fact of the matter is that both these technologies have improved over the years, but mirror-less cameras being the newer tech have taken the world of DSLRs by storm.

Mirror-less cameras are smaller, lighter, and easier to carry around than DSLRs, and have a vast array of features and accessories just like a DSLR. I personally prefer mirror-less technology because of these reasons, but there are many people who don’t. So based on your personal taste, choose between a DSLR or a mirror-less camera if you want to take photographs that you can print or sell on a professional level.

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Traveling around the world is one of the most therapeutic things one can do. Meeting new people, seeing new cultures, and experiencing things different than what you are used to can help open your mind to new possibilities. I personally love to travel, and since I am a photographer as well, I tend to take loads of pictures on my trips. One of my favorite tourist destinations, as you might have already figured out from my previous posts, is Japan.

There are multiple reasons for this choice of mine. The primary ones are that Japan boasts a very colorful and interesting culture, and the people of Japan are quite friendly and accommodating. If you are also planning to take a trip to Japan for some photography, here are some things you should remember:

People Love the Peace Sign

Whenever you are taking a posed photo of a Japanese person, expect them to make the peace sign almost every time. I can’t explain why the Japanese love this symbol or why they feel compelled to make it in every photo, but you need to accept the fact that you’ll have a lot of these symbols in your pictures.

Know How to Capture the Cherry Blossoms

If you happen to visit Japan during springtime, you should definitely plan your trip according to the arrival of the Cherry Blossoms. The country just transforms into an explosion of pink, you will see a huge number of locals and tourists picnicking under these trees all over the place.

When photographing Cherry Blossoms, you should keep a few things in mind. The first is to look for the perfect light. The color of these trees is so light that even the slightest of light at the wrong angle can disrupt your image. You should also be careful about what you add in your frame, and how the color of the trees will be used to accentuate your shot.

Another thing you can do is to take multiple photos of the same scene at different exposure settings and combine them into an HDR photo with the help of an HDR processing software. Aurora HDR 2017 does this job wonderfully. An HDR shot will ensure that you have the right kind of light in your image and that the details are maintained in the highlights as well as the shadows.

Be Mindful of the Privacy

In Japan, people take their privacy seriously. So whenever you take photos of people with the plan to publish them online, you might have to blur out some faces if you don’t have the permission from the subjects to share these photos. I know it looks weird, but you should keep this in mind prior to taking photos so that a good shot doesn’t get compromised later on.

Japan is, without a doubt, a beautiful country that I would suggest everyone to visit. The rich culture, the friendly people, and the breathtaking landscape all combine to make Japan one of the best places to visit for your next photo expedition.

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