From The Japan News, 7/12/13:
As the stylishly dressed model flashed a pose, the photographer snapped some shots.
“How about wearing a pair of sunglasses?” the photographer asked.
But this was not a fashion shoot or a photo session for a magazine. The model was a first-grade primary school boy, and he was the star of some commemorative photos to mark the entrance ceremony season, which had already passed.
“Shall we blow some soap bubbles?” the camerawoman said at Life Studio Koshigaya, a photo studio in a warehouse off a national highway in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture. Natural light streamed in from large windows, and an old British car sits in the center of the room. There are several corners with different themes, such as an all-white kitchen and a brick wall reminiscent of one perhaps seen in a foreign country.
While moving around the studio, it took about one hour for the photographer to shoot 75 pictures of the boy. During short breaks, he changed his clothes twice.
His 41-year-old mother was delighted with the photos. “It’s a fashionable studio and his photos have a great atmosphere,” she said.
Life Studio has 18 outlets mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Reservations to shoot such personalized photos on weekends are booked up six months in advance.
These photo studios have revolutionized commemorative photography. Many parents are turning to these studies that offer exotic backgrounds and stylish outfits to create expressive images of their children.
Happily Photo Studio located in the Omotesando district of Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, has four studios with different themes, such as romantic or classical settings.
Before it became Happily Photo Studio, it was a rental dress shop. It has about 480 free outfits for children to pose in. Fashionable brand dresses for their mothers are also available. The studio is popular as both children and their mothers can be photographed together in their favorite dresses.
Nagishio Photography Kagurazaka is located in a condominium in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. Typically, professional cameramen who work for fashion magazines and in other related industries are in charge of children’s commemorative photos. They do not take stock frontal photos but focus on expressive ones from various angles.
New way to keep photos
At conventional photo studios, customers must buy their printed photos. However, some new studios sell the photo data to customers.
For example, Life Studio sells a compact disc containing 70 to 75 shots for 29,400 yen, while Happily Photo Studio sells CDs with 75 shots, starting from 29,800 yen.
Customers at Nagishio Photography Kagurazaka pay 29,400 yen for a one-hour session. The price includes a CD with more than 120 shots.
Each studio offers printed versions for an extra charge.
Kaori Onodera, an editor of the guidebook “Tokyo Photo Studio Guide” from Gap Japan K.K., said: “These new studios are popular because they take a lot of expressive photos in various poses in fashionable settings. Additionally, they sell the data, so customers can easily process them for New Year’s cards or upload them to Facebook. The data format is especially popular with the younger generation.”
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