Ep 51: Lost in translation: Gina’s adventures in Japan


This episode catalogues Gina’s adventures in Japan including sneaky shooting, lots of bikes and missing her plane home.

In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss what you need to know about shooting in Japan, iconic locations, how to try out a new photographic style, and how to “set a stage” for your shots. They also cover: how to communicate when you don’t speak the language, what gear to bring, why the light in Tokyo is like nowhere else in the world – and what that means for your photography.

#ginachallenge #newstyle

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show notes


Mandy Miller’s epic Nutella series. You’ll find the full series in the Facebook group: “So you want to be a photographer: podcast community”

Mandy Miller Nutella Series


Why Gina missed her flight home:

The Japan Subway Network
The Tokyo subway: You need a membership to Mensa to work it out.


What gear did Gina bring?

  • Canon 5D Mk 111
  • 24-105
  • Speed light
  • 2x Pocket wizards
  • Small soft box
  • Light stand
  • Reflector
  • Small backpack
  • No tripod

Transport tips

  • Japan is a country of stairs and train stations.
  • The fastest and easiest way to get around is by foot and by train.
  • Travel as light as possible.
  • Bullet train is fastest way to get across Tokyo.
  • Cheaper to buy a rail pass outside of Japan – about $300 U.S. For 7 day pass including airport transfers.

What were your trying to capture?

  • A new style of street photography
  • Portraits
  • Culture

Shibuya 5 way crossing

Best vantage point 35th floor hotel Shibuya Mark City

shibuya intersection F8 ISO 100
Above: Shibuya intersection F8 ISO 100 70mm 24mm-105mm


Person on a scooter in Shibuya intersection
Above: Shibuya intersection


Above: Shoot through windows to get a voyeuristic feel.
Above: Shoot through windows to get a voyeuristic feel.


black and white photo of an underground pass in japan lined with parked bicycles
Above: Sneaky street photography


Woman carrying shopping walking in front of an advertisment
Above: Identify what would be a good “stage”. Keep an eye out for backdrops.


A woman walking down a street in front of an older style Japanese building
Above: Setting up the stage and waiting for someone to walk through.


Photo of four young men standing in an intersection in Shibuya Japan
Above: Shibuya, Japan. The light bouncing around of highly reflective facades and acting as a giant fill.


black and white photo of an old man in Shinjuku Japan
Above: Mr Miyagi’s doppelganger. Shinjuku, Japan


Gina’s Excursion to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto

Photo of a bicycle in the Arashiyama bamboo grove, Kyoto
Above: Arashiyama Bamboo grove Kyoto
  • Bike hire 1000 yen per day
  • Get first train 7.10am from Kyoto
  • Gets really busy by 8.30
  • Green absorbs light
  • Overexpose where foliage is dense
  • No tripod.
  • Used knees to brace because used low shutter speed.

Old Town Kyoto Shots

photo of a woman in traditional dress walking around Old Town Kyoto
Above: Old town Kyoto


black and white photo of a man in old town kyoto walking
Above: Old town Kyoto


black and white photo of a bicycle parked outside a building in a street in old town kyoto
Above: Old town Kyoto

Memory Lane, Shinjuku

photo of a noodle bar in memory lane shinjuku
Above: Memory Lane Shinjuku (Omoide Yokocho)


Man in a knitted jumper standing in memory lane shinjuku
Above: Memory Lane Shinjuku ( Omoide Yokocho)

Japan has great used camera gear

Above: Great blog post with a list of all the camera stores selling used gear in Tokyo
Above: Great blog post with a list of all the camera stores selling used gear in Tokyo


#ginachallenge #newstyle


Get your copy of Gina’s guide “The Shot” FREE when you sign up to her newsletter. You’ll also receive FREE Lightroom presets every month.

How to direct and pose like a pro


Want Gina Milicia as your mentor?

About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

instagram Instagram