It was an ordinary morning until I read Mayu Ohira‘s message.
Mayu is staying in Cebu for almost four years now. We met each other back when I was working in the hotel industry. She used to have Japanese wedding photoshoots and ceremonies in the hotel I worked for.
Aside from her quiet yet cheerful demeanor, I remember Mayu for her one-woman show when she was at work. She did the styling of the venue, organizing the ceremony, scheduling the photo shoot, and basically everything.
When we got the chance to know each other more beyond work, we just clicked! I love her disposition in life and you can see it in her photography.
“My dad gave me a film camera as a toy. Just fooling around with it was so much fun for a little girl,” Mayu said when I asked her how long had she been doing photography.
“I started using DSL camera seven years ago when I had been spending a year in Melbourne, Australia. I found it so much fun to take candid pictures then print them on transparent sheets to make postcards that I got to sell in some cafes as fair-trade items and also on the streets,” she added.
Wedding photography is a special and challenging niche. It is not just about portraiture, landscape, and details, it is also about capturing emotions and moments.
I wondered how she became a wedding photographer herself, so I did ask.
“I wasn’t so good at expressing myself by words when I was younger. Spending time alone with a camera and showing pictures to my friends was one of my ways to communicate. Then I got some good chances to work in Hospitality since I was 17. That was so natural for me to find it more fun to make people I serve happy as time goes,” she answered.
“I found this “wedding” occasion meaningful for everyone involved, not only to the couple but also to the family and to all the people who make the day special. I thought it would really be challenging yet fulfilling to take the responsibility to immortalize every cherished moment in a photograph,” she added.
Mayu admires photographers who capture the ambiance of photos naturally, that even every single invisible detail like the air, sounds, and smells are expressed in the photograph.
Before she moved to Cebu, she worked at Walt Disney World, Florida, USA through a cultural representative program. She is now Cebu-based but she often travels to other countries for wedding photo shoots for Bless Cebu Photography.
She sometimes finds herself in circumstances she likes the least in Cebu but she loves the people here, especially her friends who give her so much motivation. She loves the tropical feels, too, and it gives her the idea to “seize the day.”
I asked her what her dream job was when she was a kid and she said she always wanted to work in a place where she can stay in “food coma with loaves of bread and cakes.” I was surprised but I was amused! I know for a fact that we were extraordinary dreamers with stupendous dreams when we were kids.
When I asked her how she feels every time other people become so happy with the photos she captures, she quipped, “feeling as if…someone you have a crush on loved your valentine gift!”
“When I see people laughing like kids on sessions, I feel so proud of myself and I’m happy sharing time with them as a photographer. I couldn’t be happier!,” she added.
Mayu is someone I admire not only because of her photography but because she has a good heart that captures the essence of what she does. She has overflowing positive vibes within her, and she radiates that to everyone she meets.
Her photography is an expression of the magnificent beauty that she is.
Mayu asked me if I would be interested to be her bride model. I jumped off my bed! I said yes without a second thought! I can’t let the opportunity pass. It’s not every day that I’ll get to work with the Mayu Ohira, who is also a dear friend of mine. This collaboration is definitely a dream-come-true!
It has been written in our stars. It’s meant to be. I couldn’t be happier, too.