Takako & Steve (Tokyo, Japan)

In December I traveled to Japan to document Takako and Steve’s traditional Shinto-style wedding at the Nogi Shrine in Akasaka, Tokyo. When Takako and Steve first approached me about photographing their wedding, I was so incredibly excited that I would be able to experience and document this day for them. Over the coming months, that excitement grew and grew and grew.

Japan holds a special place in my heart. When I was 12 years old, I traveld to Japan and lived with a Japanese family on my own. I went to school whilst there and participated in lots of amazing activities and random Japanese goodness. Ever since then, I have had a love affair with the country. Throughout my teens, my host sisters and I would exchange letters through the post, they would send me all the crazy Japanese stationary and I would send them all things Australiana. I went back to Japan in 2011 and explored Toyko and Kyoto some more. I fell in love with the country a whole lot more. If you know me well, you will know of my addiction to Japanese knick-knack stores and my over consumption of Japanese food.

My favorite movie is Lost in Translation. There is something about Sofia Coppola’s work that speaks to me on so many levels, but mostly its the quietness and subtle undertones her work has. Possibly the reason why I connect with Lost in Translation so much is that I identify so much with the experience of being in a foreign country, from being a 12 year old kid exploring Japan to much of what my life is now, living out of hotel rooms, to all the wonderful people I get to meet through the experience of all of this, to quote Sofia – “The unexpected connections we make might not last, yet stay with us forever”.

I knew that while photographing Takako and Steve’s wedding, I wanted to capture the lovely little peculiarities about the Japanese culture that makes them so amazing and such beautiful, polite people. Lost in Translation does this so well and I knew from the moment I would be traveling to Japan to document this wedding, I too wanted that to be the essence of this body of work.

I only had a few days in Tokyo on this trip and looking back on it now, it was a complete whirlwind.  I cant wait for my next trip back.

To Takako and Steve, it was a complete honor and privilege to be able to come to Tokyo to document your wedding day for you. A hundred thank you’s for letting me do what I do.







  • goodness me lovely, you've transported us all to another world through your images, what a treat and what a lovely day you documented! love it. lost in translation is a favourite of mine too.. xxxx

  • Cinzia said:

    All is fabulous in these pictures! .....wow there was also a theremin musician!!!

  • Jemma said:

    Wow what an incredible experience!! Absolutely amazing work xx

  • you did exactly what you set out to do and you nailed it. high five :)

  • Kumiko said:

    Samm - these are gorgeous. Utterly, utterly gorgeous.

  • Gwen said:

    Beautiful work Samm!

  • amazing set of images Samm, really beautiful. can I hire that guy for my family portraits?

  • Ben said:

    So I am up to the part of the story where I have the opportunity to leave a comment... Fittingly, two Japanese ladies are in close proximity to me on the train, one to the left and one behind. I am enthralled in this blog post Sammy, smiling, in awe of those colours and very overwhelmed. *Quietly, I see them
    Both peeking and know they are too :) I remember a photographer mentioned that all there life's work was just preparation that lead up to this incredible event in there life. After knowing you and your story. I have a feeling that this wasn't just another wedding...

  • aimee said:

    beautiful, haunting, spectacular - you've waved your wand and created magic with light yet again xx

  • Lost in Translation is one of my favorites too. Japan in the movie was a character all on its own and you portray this so well too!

  • Peta said:

    Absolutely stunning work Samm! So beautifully documented - I felt like I was there...

  • Samm I adore these xxx I love your view of the world xxx

  • romin said:

    well-told, samm. it's just a couple hours away from here, but i have yet to make it to japan. very much looking forward to it. great work.

  • Myekie said:

    Elegant , Effortless and Beautiful <3

  • I've been waiting for these shots Sammy! Ridiculously good. The shot of the brides reflection in the window pane, with Tokyo city in the background > i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e.

  • actually, literally, bonkers. so good. can't get over the portraits of the bride in her traditional clothes.

  • Trish said:

    Samm this is incredible. The people, the story, the place....and the in betweens are everything. You are an amazing journalist ;)

  • fiona said:

    GOD your good. Its that heart thing again. Its from the soul mixed with an eye that only some could imagine. TRULY gracious, in a subtle but spectacular way.

  • Sam said:

    This is mental. Great great great work Samm!!

  • Holy S**t this is amazing... it just gets better as you run down the images! The shot when Takako getting ready in black and white with the reflection... that stop me scrolling! Awesome work & thanks for sharing!

  • Oh good god, 'Lost in translation' is too one of my fav films and this oozes that same stillness and beauty. Incredible Sam, speechless this has literally stopped me in my tracks xxxx

  • Hi, amazing story. When I scrolling I was excited to see what comes next, image after image, my interest in this love story was growing.I which I were there. I don´t know for certain, only you can tell, but i feel that in this story nothing was "lost". Every little detail, every emotion were very well capture. And at the end, humm... at the end, I scroll all way up and saw it again . Great work.

  • matt said:

    I share your love of Japan, such a kick ass country. This is some of the best wedding photography I've seen. Soooooo Coooool!!!!

  • Justin said:

    oh man, this is just too good. it just goes to show why you were named one of the best in the world, you just blow it all out of the water. beyond good really!

  • Melissa Mills said:

    WOW! Spectacular Sammy, just truly awesome. I was pulled into that story like you wouldn't believe. Loved your copy too, finished it off perfectly.

  • Have been so excited to see this post! Love every bit of it!!!! Makes me homesick.

  • Karolina said:

    Love it,Love it, and Love it!!!!! Stunning work, well done Samm!

  • amazing collection, story telling, adventure. (biggest canadian fan right here)

  • Zosia said:

    Oh. My. God. Samm...Wow...just...words about wow and awesome! Can't type I'm so impressed!!!

  • Kate Holmes said:

    very moving Samm. I too have a love of Japan, having also lived there in my teens. Your images gave me goose bumps. x

  • Scout said:

    beautiful. right in the moment every step of the way. love it.

  • one of my favorite of your posts! this is so beautiful and unique!

  • Dienesa said:

    I am at a loss for words...these photos are so beautiful. stunning work. the couple looks so loving too!

  • charity said:

    such beautiful images, i really have a love affair with japan. and i love lost in translation too....bill murray rocks.

  • Pingback : Inspiração casamento - vestido | sapatos | convites | Fotojornalismo Casamento | Fotografo Casamento Porto Braga | Quemcasaquerfotos

  • wow. wow. wow. So much beauty captured here. Such a story. I could weep with the gentle gorgeousness of it all. Like finding treasures.

  • PJ said:

    magnificent!!! you are the artist...simple as that ;)

  • Pingback : This Week in Weddings News - The Bride's Guide : Martha Stewart Weddings

  • Pingback : Una boda japonesa en Tokio | Los Tocados de Olivilla

  • Pingback : Takako e Steve – Tokyo | Blog | Chuva de Papel

  • oh, sammy, these are so gorgeous. i am behind in seeing this, but it's so beautiful, and you captured it perfectly. and i love that you love japan so much. it's on my bucket list for sure. :)

  • Pingback : Published in Heirloom Magazine » Samm Blake Photographer

  • Pingback : Tokyo bride | A CUP OF JO