It’s been another year of living with our new norm. Many of us are still continuing to find our footing in a prolonged pandemic however, as we find our new selves and purpose, TOPTIA was able to encounter some very memorable stories along the way. Here are some of the memories, I will continue to carry with me into the new year.
TOPTIA’s Memorable 2021 Moments
This year was the first year, TOPTIA began selling prints and photo collections! 2021 was Payton’s last year in Japan. But before she left for her new home, we connected for last two photo shoots. Maternity sessions are some of the most beautiful sessions that I enjoy doing. I don’t get to photograph many of these kinds of sessions and I absolutely love creating maternity silhouettes. Couples sessions were some of the most creative opportunities to showcase a couples story unfolding. Another magical couples session during Twilight hour in Showa Memorial Park with Daigo helping me as my lighting team. I got to spend time with this dashing and excited actor and the range this very talented man has is astounding. How on earth can one channel their inner George Clooney, then Ryan Gosling, then Zac Efron! We’ll this man can! In 2020, I wasn’t able to return home as many others weren’t. In July, I was able to fly home to see my family again. Especially, my oldest cart Mutsu (Left), named after the town in Aomori that grows Mutsu apples. The two right cats are my youngest Japanese cats, Shoga and Leia. I might just be a professional cat lady in 30 years or so. One of the biggest honors this year was photographing Her Excellency Ms. Julia Longbottom in the Ambassador’s Residence of the British Embassy. It was a humbling yet exciting experience capturing and photographing her for Custom Media’s BCCJ Acumen Magazine. It was equally exciting photographing Dr Jackie Steele of enjoi K.K. interviewing politician Akiko Domoto in April. Fun Fact, this year was the first year seeing the cherry blossoms in Naka-Meguro. They were just so amazing to capture and look at. It was also a privilege to work with a prestigious company for a project in Aomori. Here we were able to enjoy the local cider. We also enjoyed looking at the canola flower fields. The fields were so vast! Blindingly YELLOW! And featured a local ramen shop that serves delicious curry milk butter ramen. It was heavenly! These two little ones came to my home studio for a Mother’s Day photo session. While mom was getting her hair and makeup done, these two lovlies entertained themselves with some snacks and some entertaining books. It brought back memories of my sister and I quietly keeping to ourselves as our mother rehearsed for an upcoming dance performance. These lovely ladies embracing each other for their photo. Branding with several Tokyo-based businesses was one of the highlights of the 2021 year. I had a phenomenal time capturing a well-known attorney and podcaster in a fab location! Here I was able to photograph a fashion designer who sells Colombian bags worldwide. Branding sessions with coaches and consultants have been an eye-opening experience. I learned so much about how people can offer their expertise for the most specific needs their clients have. Also just being able to not only capture their brand but their work and history that help solidify their brands. When I started TOPTIA Photography, I was strictly a businessperson’s photographer. Then a trend happened, clients with families also wanted family sessions and I just couldn’t resist. This is one of my first Omiyamari sessions at an English-speaking shrine in Yokosuka. Something else I noticed about photographing international families in Japan were the children who follow their parents’ journeys across the world. The personal stories of an international jet-setting kid in 2021 has got to be one for the books. At least the photo books. It wouldn’t be a TOPTIA year for family sessions if there wasn’t a session on the beach. Between the Enoshima island and a gorgeous view of Mt Fuji, this wonderful family continued to enjoy the summer season in the bright sun. Here are some family sessions during the spring and autumn seasons as well. This year was also the first year I opened my home in Musashi-Kosugi for home studio sessions in natural light. I am so grateful for the many clients who trusted me with their headshot and portfolio sessions in my living room! These fabulous ladies also trusted me with capturing their likeness and energies in my living room Though we aren’t completely past the pandemic, it was great seeing a familiar annual event: The Pink Ball. Hosted by the Run For the Cure organization, almost 300 people who were fully vaccinated came to donate to breast cancer awareness. As the year comes to a close, TOPTIA has an exciting campaign to share with everyone in the new year! Keep an eye out for the news!