• Welcome to my little corner of the photography world! I am a Natural Light, Lifestyle photographer in beautiful Okinawa Japan. I specialize in black & white photography while having a love affair with bold color. It is my hope that my style of story telling will preserve your memories in an artistic way that you will cherish for a lifetime. Life is Sweet- Capture it

Difference Between a Full & Mini Session

I often get asked (especially this time of year) what the difference between a mini and full session really is?… Well I felt like a blog post might be the best way to answer that questions.

Truthfully not much… But they are different products so it still worth explaining. I can not cram all the photo magic in a fraction of the time :). There are obvious differences like, time but here is a quick look at what you might not know:

Mini Session: Location picked for you   ~vs.~  Full Session: Location picked with your desires in mind.

Mini Session: 20-25 Minutes   ~vs~   Full Session: 45-70 minutes

Mini Session: Key family images. 2-3 pose changes   ~vs~  Full Session: Variety of poses and scenery changes (on location)

Mini Session: headshot of each child Or Group sibling pic.   ~vs~  Full Session: Multiple kids portraits & Mom & Dad portrait time

Mini Sessions: Take place earlier in the evening so not everyone will get a sunset session.  (usually within the last 2-3 hrs of daylight)

~vs~

Full Session: Full use of the light on the evening.

Other things to consider:

If I am being honest I want to give you a fabulous mini session, an image worth getting text messages from friends saying “I love your Christmas Card”... Mini sessions are a great TASTE to what a full session would be like.  Now there are definitely kids and families whose session goes so smoothly that a mini is probably truly all they need and that is something I gauge time to time through the year. I try to be honest with clients on what will work best for them.

I have seen toddlers do outstanding in 20-25 minutes and realize we couldn’t have squeezed one more minute out of them… and others who take that long just to warm up and won’t look my way.  There is always a warm up time with a photo shoot before we fall into a rhythm and that is different for almost every family. I really will help weigh your options and give you my best opinion. Just because you have little kids doesn’t mean a mini session is a better fit… they might need awhile to warm up!

As far as workload: a mini is pretty much no different for me. I still render more images that I anticipate with either session!… Mini doesn’t mean less work for me necessarily but we can’t get as much variety in your shoots with limited time. You will still have plenty of images to proof in a mini but if it’s been awhile since you’ve had a family session I suggest you go for a full session to really get the most out of our time together 🙂  A good rule of thumb is depending on family size and ages, a mini will get you about 30-60 proofs. A full session is usually 50-100 images again depending on ages and size of photo session. (You will get 48 hrs to review your images in your proofing gallery and make your package selections)

I truly hope this helps you pick the best session for your family. If you have any questions Just ask!!! Basically if has been awhile since you’ve done a full session, try it! I know you will be pleasantly surprised

Location… Location… Location

Here is a quick little guide to popular locations here in Okinawa. I will give a highlight of the good and maybe undesirable parts of the location so I can make a decision. Mostly in Okinawa there are popular locations because they WORK. Don’t let a locations popularity fool you in thinking it isn’t as great as it really is… Okinawa has difficult light and dramatic beauty so being able to capture those symontaliously is important. Some popular locations provide some relief from direct sun which is ideal :).

Toguchi Beach

Toguchi Beach

This is probably my most used location and for good reason.
Pros:

  • Variety of looks. Rocks help diffuse the harsh light and provide some interesting landscape for your pictures.
  • This location provides nice lush greener for another type of look.
  • Multiple beach locations. We are able to walk a bit and get a whole other beach look very easily.
  • Parking. Accessible FREE Parking
  • Great during high tide or low tide. Close(er) to Kadena & Foster… closer than other desirable beach locations.

Cons:

  • Used a lot by a lot of different photographers… I would like to point out though to your non Okinawa friends and family, they won’t know it is popular. they will just see a beautiful beach 🙂
locations in okinawa Japan
photo locations in okinawa japan

Maeda Point

Maeda Point

Pros:

  • A unique “ocean” look that is NOT the beach
  • Cliffs and greenery make for interesting photos

Cons:

  • Usually always windy here.
  • Parking is tricky. The paid lot closes a little before sunset. Shooting here we usually have to adjust our time to wrap up before the sun actually sets… But the ease of having a paid lot is worth it.
  • Street parking is NOT an option.

Murasaki Mura (Yomitan)

photo locations in okinawa japan

Murasaki Mura (Yomitan)

Pros:

  • Variety of looks.
  • Also could be considered “overdone” BUT what a fun unique location as a memory keepsake.
  • Lantern Festival adds even more to the Asian feel
  • Different looks, not just all red buildings. (however mini sessions are usually in just ONE spot here)
  • Parking. Free parking at location
  • No need to worry about the tides 🙂 Cloudy day is even better for this location.

Cons:

  • Paid entrance fee
  • You have to be more mindful of your photo session wardrobe.

Southeast Botanical Gardens

Southeast Botanical Gardens
Pros:

  • Lush greener
  • Unique look
  • Free & easy parking

Cons:

  • Paid entrance fee
  • Sometimes we have to adjust our shoot time to accommodate their odd hours.
  • BUGS. Mosquitos are an issue here

Mermaids Grotto

photo locations in okinawa japan

Mermaids Grotto

Pros:

  • Unique Look. The rock formations there are really fun and different.

Cons:

  • Parking is a gamble. Mostly it is fine BUT there are a ton of no-parking signs due to the surrounding resorts. It is not normally an issue but does get me worried sometimes.
  • The path down to the beach can be slipper after heavy rain fall.
  • Mostly coral beach landscape. Might be hard for new walking babies. The terrain is very uneven.
  • Better during high tide unless you want some of the mossy rock exposed.

Zakimi Castle Ruins

Zakimi Castle Ruins

Pros:

  • Very unique to Okinawa.
  • Free parking. No entrance fee

Cons:

  • Not a huge variety of looks.

The M Family {while in okinawa}

I had so much fun with this family… at one of my favorite locations. I love love how this session came together. I am honored to meet families before they leave the island but also sad I only get to work with them once… especially when they are this great 🙂

Sakura Season

How could I be a photographer in Japan and NOT view the Sakura trees. Okinawa isn’t as spectacular as mainland. Maybe one day I’ll make it to mainland to view them in full bloom in the spring. *Maybe*

Okinawa’s blossom season is earlier and just like the states (California where I am from)… I’ve heard it just takes one storm and the season is over… so I wanted to catch at least a glimpse of them before that happened since it is still very much rainy and cold.

The blossoms start north and move their way down the island. I decided after a tiny bit of Instagram research to go to Mt. Yaedake which is about 1 1/2 hrs away from me. A little apprehensive with decent car ride and a not-so-travel-friendly toddler I still decided to go on Thursday. Much to my surprise Corwin did great. She was seriously the perfect travel buddy and maybe our days of exploring this island together are just beginning. I went to Mt Yaedake because most of the viewing happens from the seat of your car and that was annoying and easier at the same time. Being the driver, wanting to capture moments but being a lone was a little tricky. Thankfully everyone is up on the mountain to view the beautiful trees so people are kind when you pull off to the side of the road or stand in the middle of the road for a moment to capture a picture.

Completely “Okinawa”: Orion beer lanterns and sparse Sakura trees… and roads that look like single car roads but NOPE it is a two car lane actually.

It was such a pleasant day. I am not going to lie it would have been even more fun with a friend… maybe next year we will have some friends and we can adventure together. Moments like yesterday make a me a tad more homesick but I just have to give it time. I am SO thankful I have this little blessing to join me. Seriously she is just a gift I will NEVER take for granted!

The cutest ice cream stand up the mountain. Cherry flavored ice cream was delish!
Probably the most colorful part of the whole drive

Now Serving Okinawa

We are HERE! I am ready to book session in Okinawa after the long process of “settling”. Here is a peak at my first session on the island. These clients had a great location in mind and I really enjoyed capturing the new landscape! … But what location isn’t perfect here in Oki. A gorgeous sweet family it just made it so much better!

JessicaBowersPhotography.com
JessicaBowersPhotography.com
JessicaBowersPhotography.com
JessicaBowersPhotography.com
JessicaBowersPhotography.com
JessicaBowersPhotography.com
JessicaBowersPhotography.com