Photography using various clothes and backgrounds to commemorate growing up. ©STUDIO ALICE
"I want to wear a pretty dress and be photographed looking like a princess!" In Japan, children's photo studios, which make the wishes of kids come true, are very popular. At these studios, kids dress up and have their picture taken on anniversaries such as birthdays. Kids can put on clothing such as dresses and kimono, and get a taste of what it's like to be a model.
Japanese Children's Anniversaries
During Tango no Sekku (May 5), which celebrates boys, brave warrior styles prove to be popular
Japan has many anniversaries that celebrate kids growing up. Starting with "Omiyamairi" and the "100th day celebration," which celebrate the growth of a baby, there are also the child's own birthday every year, the girls' festival on March 3 (Momo no Sekku) and the boys' festival on May 5 (Tango no Sekku).
In addition, there are festivals that have been around since ancient times such as "Shichi-Go-San," which celebrates children aged 7, 5, and 3, respectively, and the "Coming of Age" ceremony when they turn 20. Recently, new anniversaries have been added to the list such as the "Half Coming of Age" festival, which celebrates turning 10. To commemorate these celebrations, kids enjoy being photographed in a children's studio, and receiving a keepsake of their memories.
Photo Studios where Kids are the Stars
You can choose from many cute clothes. ©STUDIO ALICE
Children's photo studios are places where kids can have pictures taken while everyone has a good time in a relaxed atmosphere, thanks to the helpful studio assistants getting kids in the mood using stuffed animals and other toys. As there is a full lineup of clothes from western-style dresses to more traditional kimono, the first thing kids do upon arrival is check out the clothing. What would you like to try on?
Before the photo session, have your hair arranged beautifully. ©STUDIO ALICE
Kids choose their favorites, and then go to hair styling. Their hair is then styled, and the girls then have makeup applied. Kids can transform themselves into princes and princesses. There are often clothes to match the heroes and heroines appearing in anime that are popular with Japanese kids, as well as clothes for comic book characters, idols, and rock stars. Everyone agrees that the time spent deciding upon the clothes for the transformation while consulting with the studio staff is great fun. Clothes and poses can be changed, and photographed in countless different combinations.
Photos in dresses to commemorate birthdays. Surrounded by cute props, the studio has a fun atmosphere. ©STUDIO ALICE
There are also different types of photography spaces depending on the studio. Photos taken against backgrounds evoking an anniversary or with the addition of props from fairytale lands can be checked using a computer screen immediately after they are taken. With this system, one chooses only the photos one likes best for developing and printing. Sometimes, not only the mother and father, but also grandparents come with kids to these photo sessions, making it an enjoyable family event.
A natural atmosphere captures photos just like a model in a magazine. ©Studio Little House
Lately, the talk of the town is studios that capture natural expressions of children. Unposed expressions and gestures are captured, so the photos are just like those found in a magazine. Many mothers also inquire about the availability of studios where the finished product resembles a coffee table photo book recording growth over a year and anniversaries, so some popular studios are fully booked up to a year in advance.
Come when You Want, not just on Special Days
Many families have commemorative family photos taken. ©Studio Little House
Professional photography is not limited to special anniversaries. The number of people using children's studios in a more casual fashion is also on the rise.
Family photos, where the children's studio takes pictures of the whole family, maternity photos, which capture expectant mothers before they give birth, and friend’s photos, which are group pictures, are gaining in popularity every year.
Omiyamairi: Commemorates boys 31 days after birth, and girls 32 days.
100th day celebration: A ceremony around the 100th day following a child's birth. The wish is that they never go hungry in their lives.
Momo no Sekku: A celebration of girls growing up held on March 3 every year.
Tango no Sekku: A celebration of boys growing up held on May 5 every year.
Shichi-Go-San: A festival to pray for health in keeping with the growth of a child. Generally celebrated for girls aged 7 and 3 and boys aged 5 and 3.
Coming of age ceremony: A ceremony in which females and males aged 20 become aware that they are now adults, and celebrate their survival into adulthood, and for their future encouragement.