What is the best time and place to shoot sakura portraits in Tokyo

There are three stages of sakura (cherry blossom) and that is regardless of where the cheery trees grow. Before the full bloom and full bloom would be first two and both have a unique look and charm, slightly different mood as well. But what you really want is the third phase, which is when sakura petals start falling. 桜吹雪 (sakura fubuki, i.e. sakura petals blizzard) is just magical. This is when you will see entire parks being snowed in with sakura, be in on the trees, on the ground or in the air. If you are in Tokyo and wish to have portrait photos with sakura around you, there are many parks that you could visit. The problem is, that everyone else has the same in mind, and with nearly 40 million people currently living in Tokyo finding

that quiet spot may be impossible. Your best bet is to finda paid park, like Shinjuku Gyouen, or Hama Rikyu Imperial Gardens, etc. Why? Because either of those parks has an entrance fee, and one cannot bring any alcohol inside (especially in Shinjuku Gyouen, there is actually a security check at the gates). I would also strongly suggest you get up early and be at the park gates at the opening hour. One reason is obvious - less people is going to get up at 7am to go to a park, and another is that the sun angle is much steeper which amplifies textures and defines powerful shapes by adding contrast. If you have or can rent a car, you could try parks on the outskirts of Tokyo, or even better, go outside Tokyo and search for wild growing cherry trees.

Portrait photo from a a shoot with Japanese model Yayoi in Shinjuku Gyouen in Tokyo. I have waited for the sakura to start falling and I must say the trees looked amazing, especially in the morning. If you are interested in full length in-depth portrait editing video tutorial in photoshop then have a look at my channel.

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