Photography Workshop: Japanese Schoolgirls

(See page 2 for the German version)

Together with 9 other (female) participants, I recently took a photography class, so that is what today’s blog post is all about. The class was about portrait-photography and especially about how to take pictures of girls. Our beautiful models were two high school students who wore ‘school uniforms’ that the photography teacher had prepared for them.

I guess, school uniforms are a particularly interesting part of Japanese culture (at least for someone like me who comes from a country without any school uniforms) and an essential part of everyday life here. Kids normally wear a school uniform from elementary or middle school, until they graduate from high school, and every school has their own uniforms and unique clothing design. Supposedly, there are even girls who just desperately want to go to that one school because of a particular school uniform design. The school uniform plays a big part in countless anime and manga series, and has many admirers but at the same time has also become the object of a sexual fetish for some people. Besides this negative connotation, overall one can say that girls’ school uniforms (with their skirts or, less common, dresses) in Japan are in particular one thing: A symbol of the youth and of being a girl (- and not an adult, yet).

During the photo shooting, it was all about paying attention to the lighting, shadows and poses in order to be able to express the ‘softness’ and ‘girly-ness’ properly. The interesting thing was that both models were completely different, and I mean this not only in terms of their outer appearance. While I was looking forward to take pictures of Momoko (もも子) with her long hair and porcelain doll – like face at the beginning, it turned out to be a bit difficult to take pictures of her as she was really shy and did not quite know how to pose best. Nana (飯田菜々), the one with short brown hair, on the other side was the complete opposite: She was really good at changing her facial expression from one moment to the other, laughing cheekily or looking melancholic, and seemed to really enjoy the photo shooting.

Since this was my first time working with models, I did not quite know yet what I had to pay attention to, and for the next time would definitely spend some time beforehand, to think about photo compositions and about where I would like to place my focus on. Nevertheless, it was really a lot of fun 😉

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