Interview #001 -Photographer Haru Kudō –

We are starting interview series from today!  (※日本語版はこちら)

Our first guest is Japanese photographer in the front line, Haru Kudō.
He used to be a cosplayer, and now he takes photos drawing on his cosplay experience!

Welcome Haru-san!
How did you become a photographer and how long it’s been since you started your career as photographer?
>>>When I was trying to create one work of the cosplayers, my friends lead me to such an attractive world of photography. I was totally hooked on it from then on, and it’s been about 3years. (as of Sep. 2017)

What is your main activities as a photographer?
Portrait mostly at fashion events and pet portrait for business. When I take cosplay photos I spend much time on its composition and background setting including props setting .

Which Camera do you use most often?
1DX-MarkⅡ by Canon. All 6 cameras of mine are Canon’s product.

Any advice for choosing camera??
First thing I’d see is whether it’s not too heavy to carry for everyday use. I always want it with me for the “exciting” moment and it’s most important for me to capture the “exciting” moment by myself  🙂

Any recommendations for camera or its equipment?
For Camera, I’d recommend Canon or Nikon because they are most common. The more people use, the easier for me to get advised when I’m in trouble. It’s better to get advised from people around me who actually use it, so I ask them “How do I use this function?”, “Which accessary should I choose?” etc. It also helps my photo-taking more exciting!

– Anything you are trying when taking photos?
Simply, to take a beautiful shot. No one would ask me to “take an ugly photo”. It’s always important for me to take a beautiful shot, although sometimes it would be retouched later for some reasons??, and to find their best angle and moment.

– Any tips that we can try?
There’s a common way thats “sets a subject between two lights”
Take one strobe light to cosplayer’s left and another one to the right (or you can do one above the other), and set his/her face in the center.
It reduces the appearance of the wrinkles and skin texture. If you only have one light source, or you take under the natural light, make sure that the other side of the light source reflect the light. (= stand by white wall, use reflector board, etc.) Smile lines appears by the shadow which appears by the light, so lighting up the shadow will reduce the appearance of the smile lines.

– Anything you are particular about, when taking photos?
It’s definitely to create the worldview carefully and  bring it to the completion!!! What excites me the most is expressing the “attraction of the model × characteristic and background of the (manga/anime) title and its character “. No one in the stage costume would want to take photos in Japanese room, or no one in the armor would want to do that on the stage. Considering the character and its title, I take time to decide the overall composition  that the model would look best. And the best moment comes when I finally meet the one I am satisfied with.

– What was your recent activities/work?
Excluding originals, I worked on “Nier: Automata“, “A3!“, “Touken Ranbu“, “ONE PIECE” and 4 times for “SINoARICE“. Preparing for the shooting is kind of mush work such as bringing lots of props to the location, but I enjoy my work very much 🙂

– In the future what kind of locations × cosplayers do you want to try photo shooting? 
I like to bring various props to create my own world in the locations that I’ve been, so cosplayer who comes into the world would be nice. Also I enjoy taking photos of a cosplayer with full of vivacity :D!

– Any cosplayers that you want more people to know?  
That would be 373san (TW: 3737mina3).  She can play widely from cute character to the one with stronger characteristic. She is very strict about herself, sometimes we worry how strict she controls her self-condition before the photo-shooting. She’s my good friend I have much faith in :)! She’s sometimes harsh but has good heart !

– Can you introduce your recommended photographer? (for our future interview probably?)
 I’d say Harry-san. He’s the first photographer I met when I stepped into the world of Cosplay, and we’ve been in touch since then. 

– Any locations or studios that you especially liked?
I had shooting at Non-Art Photo Studio in Shizuoka, I had fun shooting since they let me do how I want (less restriction)! For locations, I’d say Chiba prefecture, they are more generous about shooting permission 😀 I go shooting there often.

–  Haru-san!!! Please let us introduce your master piece!!!
I was thinking to create a cosplay photo book of “SINoARICE”, and this is the photo I took for its cover. I already show this to Square Enix, but haven’t revealed this on SNS including Twitter yet.

In my Cosplay Photo of SINoARICE, I often use fire to express lives fading away and hollow nightmare. Everything I create for the setting including background and props, I gave each of them a meaning to be there, so each photo has their own theme in the book 🙂

– Please leave a message for those who want to start photography. 
You will see a different world beyond the finder. What you see, how you capture is all depends on your index finger. Let’s keep your own “exciting” moment in the best way ! Have a great photo life!

– How do you describe camera to you?
It could be a word, could be a story that I peep through the hole, could be just a lump of iron that keeps hurting my shoulders….and  it’s a small black mass that somehow makes me want to go out with.

Haru Kudō
2015: Start taking photos as his career
2016: assigned to over 150 work,
2017: narrow into detailed photo shooting that he sets up the background and other settings. Currently working on his first cosplay photo book “Monogatari (stories)”.

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