A Figure Photography Tip From TOM’s Very Own Photographer! [#tomphotocon6]

These days, smartphones and digital cameras are everywhere, meaning it’s easy for everyone to take pictures. If you’re a figure fan, I’m sure there must have been a few times when you wanted to take some cool figure photos to show them off to friends, post on social media, or even enter a contest - like the one we're running right now (wink wink). Well, now’s the time to act, because I’m a photographer for Tokyo Otaku Mode, and I'm going to show you a handy tip for figure photography!

The dreaded backlight… can actually be an ally!

This has to have happened to you sometime or another: you’re taking a group photo but then you realize that the sun behind you is glaringly bright, making it impossible to see you and your friends’ faces, so you have to change the way you're facing. Here, the sun is acting as the light source in a backlit photo.

When a camera has to deal with intense light, like in the case we just described, it thinks that the subject of the photo is brighter than it really is and makes everything darker. As a result, it can make people look shadowy. However, in figure photography, backlit photos actually look cooler in many cases. Without further ado, let me explain how it works with a few of my own photos!


It’s extremely tempting to aim light sources on your subject from somewhere in front of it.

Here, the light is pointing at Gojo-sensei from the right at a 45 degree angle. It’s just fine as a photo, but it also feels kind of smooth and without expression. It lacks the 3D quality of a figure.


On the other hand, taking a semi-backlit photo by aiming the light source from the left at a 45 degree angle will emphasize the figure’s 3D-ness and give it a dramatic feel.

The lighting you use will depend on how you want your photo to come out, but I recommend using this semi-backlighting technique for figures and other objects, food, and so on. Take a look at product catalogs and advertisements, and you’ll find that there are actually a lot of photos that use semi-backlighting as a foundation for their lighting.

So, what did you think? I’d like to introduce more handy tips to all of you in future, which you can even use for our figure photo contest! It's easy to enter, and you can submit as many photos as you want by 11:59 pm on October 31 (PDT), so what are you waiting for?!

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article by T. Hara.

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