Behind the Lens: Yuji Katagiri of Giri Photo Works (Japan)
Welcome to another Behind the Lens post where I interview a talented wedding photographer whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with. Every photographer has their own distinct style so the purpose of this series is to help you choose a photographer whose style best represents you. Thus I want you to meet them not as “vendors” but as potential friends who just so happen to have the skills to creatively chronicle your special day in pictures.
Meet photographer Yuji Katagiri of Giri Photo Works Japan
You may remember the name Yuji Katagiri from Atsuko & Kenta’s Everyday-Fun-and-Play Engagement in Tsukuba, Japan which I featured a few weeks ago. Today I am delighted to introduce you to this talented wedding photojournalist and portrait photographer and once again I have my younger brother to thank for bridging the language gap for this feature.
As there are very few Japanese wedding sites in English, we are often exposed to only their traditional rites so it was quite a surprise to find out that a lot of Japanese couples tend to go all out and have fun at their engagement sessions, possibly since their wedding ceremonies are going to be formal anyway. Giri-san’s e-sessions particularly stood out for me because looking at his work, it’s easy to tell that he understands his subjects very well. He previously shared with us that the Japanese are very shy so he shoots “everyday boyfriend-girlfriend moments” that his clients can treasure and look back on once they’re married. He lets them be and shoots them while they go on doing what they usually do on a date, and this results in beautiful, natural-looking photos that show the couples’ genuine emotions and endearing quirks. For sure you will see what I’m talking about in a bit.
Giri-san is multi-awarded as well, having won many top prizes from the JWGP (Japan Wedding Photo Grand Prix) for consecutive years in a row and he also happens to be the President of Giri Photo Works Co., Ltd. based in Ibaraki-ken, Japan. I’m excited to showcase his photos here and I hope you enjoy seeing his work.
* All photos on this page are copyright Yuji Katagiri / Giri Photo Works *
Hello Giri-san! Please tell us more about yourself and your wedding photography business.
It’s been 7 years since I first picked up a camera and Giri Photo Works is heading into our 2nd year since establishment. I’ve been shooting engagement photos since 2007. As for my photographic style — I get a feel of my subjects’ personalities first and then make sure the photos I take correspond to them without forcing anything expected of engagement pictures. I think that is the style most suited for shy Japanese people.
The quirkiest wedding you’ve photographed?
I once shot a wedding where the bride and groom wore a Batman and Catwoman costume respectively while the guests also wore different costumes. Each group of guests had a theme and they dressed as the characters according to their theme.
The most unusual or unexpected location you’ve shot a wedding at?
I’ve shot in a lot of quirky locations but I think the most unusual one was a race horse training center in Miho Village. Almost all the famous race horses have trained and are being trained here. It has a big gate and the security is tight but the groom himself is a horse trainer so we were given special permission to shoot there.
A wedding photography fad you will never follow?
I’ll never shoot tacky poses and photos that make no sense to the couple or to me just because they’re trendy. I also won’t shoot photos that use wide angle lenses just because it’s “cool” and will only do so if it makes sense to use them. I don’t like costume photos that don’t mean anything to the couple. I make it a point not to take tasteless photos just for the sake of grabbing people’s attention. There has to be meaning and a reason for everything.
Which celebrity’s wedding do you think would be a blast to photograph if you could (doesn’t matter if they’re already married or not!)
Cyndi Lauper, Jane Birkin, Japanese actor Ryuhei Matsuda
Quick, name 5 favorite songs off the top of your head!
Cyndi Lauper — Time After Time, Keiko Lee — The Flame, Supercar — Cream Soda, Michael Jackson — Man In The Mirror, Billy Joel — Honesty
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
A japanese manga / comic artist.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about Yuji Katagiri. The fun and adorably quirky images on this page are just a taste of what he can offer! If you want more info on this talented photographer, please visit the following pages:
Website: Giri Photo Works
Blog: Bitter Choco
Facebook: Giri Photo Works on Facebook
* See all our previously featured weddings & shoots by Giri Photo Works.
* Meet other featured photographers in our Behind the Lens interview series
* While you’re at it, do check out the site map to browse our real wedding/engagement/styled shoot features by photographer and by location.