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Telling Stories with J-Fashion

This one’s a pretty fun one! This applies more to shoots that are done outside of conventions and meetups—specifically when you and the photographer have a set date together and have made time for the creative juices to flow. At first glance, this may seem a little extreme to some people, but trust me and read on.

I know that it’s rare when you get to choose your own photographer, vs. them coming to you. In the rare instances you get to choose, there are some things you should keep in mind, like their portfolio and editing preferences (which should be clear from their portfolio). Once a photographer is chosen, it is important to communicate with him or her about the vision you have for the photos, and his or her personal vision.

When I talk about vision, I mean the word in the most general sense. In every photo—in every GREAT photo—there’s a story told.

Shironuri | Models: Collin and Stevie Quinlan

I could simply just walk around and take standard portraits of you, like headshots, but the photos would be lacking something. Lacking you, in other words. Even in Lolita or other J-Fashion, your personality and the story you want to tell should shine.

The best example of this is Minori. I had the opportunity at Oni-Con 2016 to hear her talk a bit about her photos and how she thinks of them. To her, the photos of her coords aren’t just photos, they’re entire stories. They’re works of art, a collaboration between her and the photographer. I even heard her say once that she has the image of the photograph in her head, and then she makes the coord to match the story she had in mind. In other words, she makes coords for the photos, and the photos are the end result.

Now, you don’t have to take it to that much of an extreme. Do what you do, but whenever you get your frilly hands on a pro photographer, don’t be shy. If you both have the time and energy, tell them you want to tell a story with your coord (that is, if you do). That story is up to you and the photographer.

Model: Jenna Foxhoven

The story you come up with could be as simple as “waiting in the library for dinner” or “me waiting for my prince.” Depending on how metaphorical you want to be, it could get interesting. Do you feel like your coord reflects that you’re drowning in worries? Go underwater. Trapped in your own routine? Get in a box. Leaving your old self behind? There are many things that you could do with this one. Get creative. Believe me, most photographers these days will love that you want to be creative!

Model: Aito-san (Royal Princess Alice)

While those are extreme examples, you get my drift. Most of the stories for Lolitas that I would start with are pretty tame, like waiting, looking for something, etc. because it’s super easy to get the mood and aesthetic down. I haven’t really gotten to do a more extreme shoot, but it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to in the future!

A photographer that does this very well is Xin Lolita Photography on Facebook. I won’t post any of their images on here, because I didn’t take them. Click the link to look them up and trust me—those images are VERY VERY good.

Another example? This series, taken by AKIBA (?).

Model: Stevie Quinlan

I haven’t gotten the chance to do many of these shoots, though I try to tell stories every time I’m one-on-one with someone. I really want to do more, as it brings the beauty of fashion out to me. Pretty much all of the shoots that I have gotten to do so far for J-Fashion are fashion show shoots, which are rushed but enjoyable, and candids. Telling stories with your coords and your photos is an excellent way to improve both your coording and modeling skills. Do it as often as you can!

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