Japan continues to promote international excellence through educational media.
The Japan Prize Foundation is an organization that invites educators and producers from all over the world to submit their work relating to education. Entries are categorized by Audio Visual and TV proposal divisions. The best for each division is selected. Furthermore, every year a Grand Prize is given to the most popular entry of both divisions.
Last year, The Japan Prize Foundation had it’s 33rd annual contest at the NHK Broadcasting Center in Shibuya. Of over 309 media entries regarding education from over 61 countries. I was invited to attend the event by the CoFesta Ambassadors organization. I, along with other invited guests, came to the week-long event and watched many of the entries via Japan Prize’s library page (Entries can only be watched by those who participated with the event). There were also live viewings at the broadcast center, paired with panel discussions and Q&A sessions with the entry producers who could explain the stories or technology a bit more.
My personal favorite entry was “Deadline.” This story followed south east Asian children who were largely independent from their parents and worked to earn enough money to continue on their schooling. Some students were successful in meeting the financial deadline to pay for school tuition, uniforms, and boarding while others confronted a difficult reality.
At the celebration’s end, I was able to meet with a few of the winners and other participants over dinner. The passion these people had for representing their home countries and bringing the education issues facing their neighbors was fierce.
Dare I say, it was the same sort of passion I saw for the 11 companies from Tohoku that presented their ideas for bringing economical growth and interest to their once battered land.
The Reconstruction Agency Event
Just this past Monday, I was invited by Ruth Jarman of Jarman International K.K. to observe and vote on the ways the Tohoku area can make the area more inviting to international tourists. I felt a sense of familiarity to the Reconstruction Agency event compared to The Japan Prize Contest. Once more I was the observer.
It was delightful to watch each company propose their own tour packages to bringing more international tourists to Japan. From executive luxury tours to cycling food tours to fun safe spaces for muslim tourists, each company presented their ideas and invited us to share our opinions of their strategy.
Watching these companies represent their home towns and ideas for bettering Tohoku reminded me how the international producers of Japan Prize felt when spreading awareness of their own projects.
I look forward to seeing what the Japan Prize will bring this year in 2018. What will the message be for global awareness on education?
Perhaps TopTia Photography will be able to capture the special moments of both the Japan Prize and Reconstruction Agency events.
Join Tia Haygood of TopTia Photography and Jayne Nakata of the blog, Gaijin Housewife for a 3-day 2-night adventure in Kyoto where other working ladies can take in the sights, exchange life-changing stories and ideas and learn how to capture each moment for your own social media channels.
When: September 29th – October 1st, 2017
Our Purpose: Invite amazing women who not only want to network with other women but also to visit Kyoto’s most scenic areas and learn basic photography skills with your smartphone or DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera.
Workshops, provided by TopTia Photography, will show participants how to:
-Understand your camera
-Learn basic composition techniques
-Learn how to get those beautiful hazy backgrounds.
-How to ask the locals for their picture. Politely!
How to Get More Information: Click here!
Have a Question?
Email me at email@example.com!
Hope to see you in September!
Creating a Visual Catalyst for Artists and Businesses to Enhance Their Branding Power in Japan and Beyond
I’m Tia Haygood, a bilingual photographer living and working in Tokyo where I love photographing the urban characteristics of the city plus traveling around rural Japan tasting its many unique local foods.
My professional goal is to help artists and businesses enhance their branding power with great photography, especially in the areas I excel in – events, portraits, food and products. My clients love that I charge by the hour and not by the photo like a lot of expensive photographers seem to do.
Check out some of my recent work below, and picture how photos like these might help you or your brand.
But hey, don’t just take my word for it! See what some of my clients have recently said:
“I’ve turned to Tia for all the professional photos for my business since I met her in 2015. She’s photographed for my book, Eigo no Shigoto-jutsu (英語の仕事術), for my website, weekly blog, and newsletter, and for my monthly column in Nikkei Style. When I explain briefly the type of photo or message I’m looking for, Tia comes up with creative ideas to make that a reality. She takes lots of shots and gives me plenty of choice balanced with guidance when I want it. I can’t speak highly enough of Tia’s photography skills and services and recommend them especially to entrepreneurs who want more images for their online presence.”
– Helen Iwata, President, Sasuga Communications K. K.
“I worked with lot of pro photographers during my years in the film & television industry in Australia and Japan, and most of them were either great artists with no idea of how to handle people, or wonderful people to work with who didn’t really have the skills necessary to take great photos. Tia Haygood is one of those rare individuals who has both. She’s clearly a brilliant photographer who combines artistic ability with technical skill, but she also knows how to direct people respectfully to really bring out the best in their photos, and that makes all the difference. If you need go to the trouble of getting photos done, don’t waste your time with amateurs. Let Tia make the process easy for you.”
– Robert Millar, Five-time Founder & Entrepreneur Catalyst at GinzaHub.com
“After working with Tia, I realized that great photography is not just using the right equipment, but interacting with subjects to bring forth the true essence of the imagery.”
– Lloyd Peace, Founder of PeaceWorks
“Tia makes you feel incredibly comfortable posing in front of the lens and offers very helpful and specific directions when she’s after a specific look or a shot in a very encouraging and gentle way. Not only does she capture amazing shots but she is also an amazingly delightful person and a pleasure to work with. I hope we can shoot together again in the near future.”
– Yume P.
“I had a great time working with Tia, she’s a professional, she’s kind and makes you feel comfortable even if you’re an amateur model and you’ve never been in front of a camera before! Thank you so much for the time we spent together!”
– Alice A.
Contact me now
for a free quote on professional and quality photography for you or your brand
A photo mentor once told me the background of the photo was MORE important than the subject itself. At the time, I thought he seemed a bit extreme, but a trip to Nagoya got me to thinking how right he might have been.
I had the pleasure of going to Nagoya the other week for a cosplay photo session. There were eight Japanese cosplayers who were very excited to don their respective costumes from their favorite game and anime, Kantai Collection, AKA Kancolle.
Despite being interested in Japanese pop culture, I had no idea what Kancolle was. After researching and binge-watching the show, I’ve got to hand to the Japanese for their sense of creativity. Who else would think of creating a world of characters personified from World War II Navy battleships?
Yes, that is a Japanese Navy Aircraft Carrier, if you were curious.
The Background Hunt
To get the 1940s feel of the characters, the photo venue was important to take into account. We used an old community center with rentable multi-purpose rooms. Once I saw the interior of the venue, I absolutely thanked my clients for being so thoughtful of and thorough about our photo session. The interior matched well with the era of our characters.
The venue used was the Nagoya Pottery Center「名古屋陶磁器会館」located 5 minutes from the nearest station in downtown Nagoya. It was built in 1932, well before World War II, making it a pretty authentic location for eight Kancolle cosplayers to get into character for a four-hour photo shoot. Once the cosplayers and I were all set, we were confident about our shoot.
Cosplayers can put hours of effort into their costumes to create the perfect photo of their favorite characters and these eight cosplayers for this photo shoot were no exception. But the most frequent problem with capturing the full package for most cosplayers is pairing their awesome costumes with an equally awesome background!
I’m a bit shy to show these, but I took them at my first and second trips to Comiket in Tokyo a few years back.
Sure, we can see the cosplayers’ efforts in achieving the authenticity and quality of their costumes and yes, they are both in character, but the harsh lighting of the sun and eyesores in the background make these photos unfit as a feature photo for a blog, magazine, or any publication. The Monster Hunter cosplayer on the left could better achieve the full effect of his costume in a more natural area, whereas a dark and urban environment would be ideal for the Watchmen cosplayer to the right.
Meanwhile in Nagoya
Back to the 1940s setting of Kancolle, the background of these photos not only set the mood and story a bit better but also adds authenticity to the costumes.
The background for the gentlemen in the first two photos really enhanced the militaristic mood of admirals whom they were dressed as. The lovely lady in the third photo got fully into her character, Z3, a shy yet powerful character. Using the window perch to rest on, viewers can easily piece together a story of a potential attack!
The last two, I enjoy a lot. As my clients were there with me as we took photos, they explained the similarities the bricked hallway had with a scene in Kancolle. Just listening to their excitement as they pieced together which character should sit with whom and where the Shuri bucket, or Repair bucket, should go allowed me to put the shoot together. Despite not being familiar with Kancolle, I was happy to bring my client’s vision to life.
The efforts to find the perfect background may seem a bit too much effort, not to mention the fact that some amateur cosplay photographers are simply happy to see their favorite characters in the flesh. This makes the desire to find the best background a backburner task. But let’s be fair, there are tons of convention attendees who bring their cameras and excitement to con events all over the world. It’s a pause in life to bring out the fantasies they often enjoy. How often does your average Yuri!!! on ICE fan get to see Victor Nikiforov? As amazing as it would be to photograph a Victor Nikiforov-clad cosplayer in real ice skates on an actual ice rink, it’s not going to be a doable photo at ANY local convention, ANYWHERE!
So, what do you do?
Well you could do what some of these guys do at conventions:
But if bringing the expensive camera, lenses, the reflector, the speedlight and diffuser is a bit too much, bring a business card. Serious cosplayers most likely have their own business cards to exchange with other photographers, cosplayers, and media outlets. So exchange cards and plan out simple and easy to do photo shoots with your favorite characters. Scout out that ideal location or background that would best fit the character and go for it! Most likely, if the cosplayer agrees to a future shoot, they will love the photos as a keepsake to post online and will be open to participating as long as you respects their conditions. The cosplayer might bring a friend, present their own contingencies, or simply decline your request. In the end, it is best to respect the choices of the cosplayer and settle for a simple photo with the best background you can find at the convention site. Like this one:
The walls in Makuhari Messe at Tokyo Comicon created a believable background for Chell at the Aperture Laboratories from the game Portal.
Whatever tactic you decide, whether you are photographing your favorite character or taking snapshots of friends while out and about, do consider what is behind your subject before you press the shutter. You’ll be surprised at how much better the photo looks when taking that bit of extra effort. My mentor will thank you.