Bellechan

I enjoy taking photos both outdoors and indoors. When I am inside, I like to tell something about the particular character. Then I sketch the idea to see what I would need to take that photo…

HunterXv2

I like to take close-ups where I can show the beauty of a figure. I follow my inspiration. I think that the figures themselves guide me to take their photos…

You are probably the only couple that have been focusing on taking figure photos for such a long time that I know of. How long has it been, 10 years? How did you start collecting and taking photos of figures? Can you tell us what your beginnings looked like?

HunterXv2: Wow! Almost ten years! Time sure does fly. Belle and I met thanks to her classmate who worked with me. She knew we both liked anime and manga, so she introduced us to each other. While I focused on games and drawing, her interests were figures and photography. I think that is how it all started. She showed me the world of collecting, while I sparked her interest in games, hahaha. Belle taught me where to buy figures, how to take care of them, and gave me some tips on photography. Nowadays, we do everything together: we collect figures, photograph, and play video games.

What type of photos do you take? Is there a story behind them? What kind of figures do you prefer?
HunterXv2: I like to take close-ups where I can show the beauty of a figure. I follow my inspiration. I think that the figures themselves guide me to take their photos. Scales and Figmas are my favorites, although I like scales much more. I admit that I am the type of collector who buys a figure for its aesthetic. We have many figurines of which we do not even know the origins. When I see a figure that could make a nice photo, I get tempted to buy it.

Bellechan: I enjoy taking photos both outdoors and indoors. When I am inside, I like to tell something about the particular character. Then I sketch the idea to see what I would need to take that photo. I prefer to get figures of characters that I like. Lately, I have been concentrating on getting more Hatsune Miku for our collection.

Do you use any special photography or post-production techniques?
HunterXv2: When I take indoor photos, I try to manipulate the light using my cellphone screen. So I usually take my photos in a dark environment. When I take daylight photos, I use different types of lamps to achieve different effects. Like my Yae Sakura photo, for which I used an incandescent lamp to create a sunset effect.

Bellechan: Post-production is a very important step. It is where all the magic happens. I have „saved“ some photos that we thought that should have been discarded. Like this one. I edit all of our photos using Lightroom. I use Photoshop for retouching and manipulations like making it snow! And because we share some social media for our photos, we create a certain uniformity in the editing style.

Is there any upcoming figure project you are going to surprise us with?
HunterXv2: Unfortunately not. We had a trip planned to visit new places to take outdoor photos because we truly like it. But because of the pandemic of coronavirus, we had to postpone our plans.

What is your number one figure photo you have ever taken?
HunterXv2: This is a tricky question! It is hard for me to point out the best photo. What is good for me may not be for people who see it. I think the best photo is the one where I have outdone myself. Like when I have an idea and I put it into action, the photo turns out even better than I thought. So I think the current one is Twilight Heaven which received surprisingly positive feedback.

Bellechan: This is a very subjective question! I always try to do my best to evolve. There is a photo that is special to me; the one I took to celebrate my 50th Miku. It looks like a simple photo at first, but in this one I used Focus stacking and a technique to remove the nendoroid bases. I do not have much experience with doll photos, so I had a hard time trying to photograph it. I did not succeed at first. And in the end I know I had done my best. I have to praise the doll photographers, this is really hard!

Which cameras and lenses do you use to capture the figures?
HunterXv2: Nowadays we have a NikonD5500 and a 50mm lens. We wish we could invest more in equipment, but we live in a country where these things are very, very expensive.
What would you recommend to someone who is considering collecting and photographing figures? What camera and equipment would you recommend to start with?
Bellechan: I started with my mother’s compact camera. But later I had needs that the camera could no longer fulfil. If you can invest some money, I recommend buying a DSLR camera at least. And then choose a suitable lens for the photo style you want to follow. My 50mm is perfect for shooting Nendoroids. Nikon and Canon are equally excellent – it just depends on your preference. But you can start with baby steps, even with a mobile camera. It is important to know what you need. But the most important thing is to have fun.
What is the most important figure photography achievement you have ever accomplished?
Bellechan: The first achievement that we will never forget was a photo book called Shining Moment in 2012! As for the most important one, and I can speak for both of us when I say that it is being a part of Figubo. I mean it! We have met many people that we admire so much and, for example, being able to be in the same exhibition with them is very gratifying for us.

What about the times when you are not taking photos, how do you like to spend your free time?
HunterXv2: We play a lot of MMOs together (and other games). What we play together most often is Final Fantasy XIV and we are trying Phantasy Star Online 2. As for me, I love drawing and I have been trying to improve my technique lately.

Bellechan: When I am not taking photos, I am playing games. I must admit that it is something I have been doing a lot lately! I like playing JRPGs and at the moment I am addicted to Phantasy Star Online 2.

What is your favorite anime and anime character?
HunterXv2: Do games count? If so, I am a super fanboy of Megaman games, especially the Megaman X series, that is where my nick comes from; Maverick Hunter X (the “v2” is another story). If I only have to choose from animes, I do not have anything specific, I love many of them, but if I have to pick one, I would say: Dragon Ball.

Bellechan: My favorite manga is Fruits Basket while my favorite anime is FullMetal Alchemist: BH. As for a favorite anime character, I have to pick Hatsune Miku even though she is not from an anime. She is my favorite character of all!

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