Telling the story of a product in the most beautiful way – a talk with Hiro K. about his mesmerising Liquid & Cosmetics Photography


If you are interested in liquids & cosmetics photography, we probably don’t need to introduce you to Hiro K. – one of the best photographers in this industry. We had a chance to talk about his inspirations, biggest campaigns and recent projects. We would like to invite you to this interesting journey of Hiro K.’s imagination. Enjoy!

Production Paradise: You studied photography in New York. How this city influenced your perception of art, work and process of creation?

Hiro K.: It’s the city where I met and fell in love with photography, and it’s the city where I was trained under a wonderful mentor photographer. It is my second home and the influence is huge. Before moving to New York, I could never have imagined becoming a photographer. In the last several years, I have been based in Asia. To be more exact, I am mostly in Tokyo and Shanghai these days. These two cities have been another big influence to me. You can witness the class of New York, the simplicity of Tokyo, and the energy of Shanghai in my photography.

Production Paradise: What made you choose to become a still life and more specifically a liquids & cosmetics photographer? What do you find is the most interesting and unique aspect of this type of photography?

Hiro K.: Still life photography is all about details, details, details. I have a very keen eye for details. I am especially good when the subject matter is smaller, like that of the human face, or cosmetic bottles. I realised this soon after I started learning photography, and that eventually led me to become a cosmetics/beauty photographer. The difference of the cosmetic/liquid photography from other kind of studio photography is, to me, that there is an endless number of texture to play with. You need to have a good understanding of liquid, powder, glass, wax, skin, and all other kinds of texture to put the lights on. It is highly technical and that is why this genre of photography fascinates me.

Production Paradise: Liquids, powders, creams, mascaras, lipsticks – they all have their specific texture and nature. How does the process of production for liquids & cosmetics photography looks like? How important is post production here?

Hiro K.: Post production is a big part of the process of our image making. Our human eyes and camera lenses see things differently. This is especially true with images of cosmetic textures. Often, we define truth as what we physically experience. With lighting and other tricks on set, we can alter what the camera sees to align with what we see with our eyes. However, we still need to fine-tune this vision with post production. These days, post production is almost always expected to be done. A thorough understanding of this process is part of the skill set one must now have as a still-life photographer. If we don’t know what is possible with our images, we cannot give direction to our retouchers.


Production Paradise: You are working with the biggest brands in the luxury & beauty sector – Estée Lauder, Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, Shiseido to name just a few. How much space for artistic freedom and creativity is left in those kind of campaigns?

Hiro K.: Brands and their products have stories, and the photographers are the storytellers. We cannot tell a lie, but rather we must tell the truth about the product in the most beautiful way possible. This is not only where we find the challenges and limitations of our artistic freedom, it is also where we find endless creativity. I love the challenge, so I love my work.

Production Paradise: Tell us why you decided to expand your portfolio and started to be involved in video and motion ads?

Hiro K.: These days we see more and more short movie contents both on and off the internet. The cosmetic industry is no exception here. I work on movie projects quite often these days, and I am very happy that it is leading my career to another field. Since what you can do in the post production is more limited with movies, as a still life photographer I find our lighting technique and other tricks really helpful on setting to bring superb quality to the results.

Production Paradise: If you were to choose your biggest inspiration when it comes to your work – who or what would that be?

Hiro K.: Irving Penn.

Production Paradise: Do you think that Production Paradise is helpful in promoting your work and achievements?

Hiro K.: Definitely yes. It is very important to show off your work and make it visible for your potential clients. Production Paradise has been a huge help to do this, and I am sure I will keep relying on Production Paradise to expose my work to the world.

We would like to thank Hiro K. for the opportunity to get to know a little bit more about his work.  If you are interested in Hiro’s photography, do not hesitate to visit his portfolio on Production Paradise or website.

For more Still Life, Liquids & Cosmetics Photography – check out our Spotlight Magazines.

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