Apart from vague childhood memories of watching Chinese-dubbed episodes of Nintama Rantaro on television, I approached this shoot for Alice and Tammu with little in-depth knowledge of the series. What I did have, though, was a pretty good idea of the look I wanted to achieve for this shoot, and how to go about doing that.
One issue for cosplay photographers is how the original material translates across into photos, which are invariably based on reality and light, rather than lines and shades of colour.
Fact: if you shoot and edit your photos with the view of making it visually resemble the original anime/manga, most likely they will turn out shit, unless the source material is realistic 3D CG stuff like some of the stuff from the Final Fantasy franchise.
So how do we stay true to the original material while still injecting our creativity and style into our work?
This might seem obvious, but without totally throwing out our aspirations to be visually faithful to the source material (affected by things like costumes, wigs, colour choices, lighting, location, etc), it’s about having the end photos convey the character, emotion and feeling of the original. Yes, the visuals are important, but so are the narratives at the core of it all.
In this case, I recalled Nintama Rantaro as a rather funny series as it follows the daily life of a bunch of trainee ninjas. So stylistically, I approached the shots as vignettes of the daily lives and antics of the characters.
This naturalistic approach then affects things like posing and lighting. Lighting in particular was designed to tone down on the drama, used to fill in the shadows, rather than to be a major part of the narrative.