Make Your Own iPhone Cover

iPhone case and box from Smasha.
Estello Loves Ramen. Image made by me on Adobe Illustrator.

Do you have a favorite image that perfectly expresses who you are or a moment you want to remember? At Wonder Photo Shop in Harajuku you can take that favorite image and make it into a personalized iPhone cover. I love Wonder Photo and I recently wrote a post introducing the store. You can do lots of interesting things with your images at Wonder Photo. Making a personalized iPhone cover is probably my favorite.

Make Your Own Smasha iPhone Cover for ¥2700

The product, called Smasha, is a collaboration between Fujifilm and Monogram You get a semi-hard plastic cover with your image printed on the back. The images doesn’t wrap around the sides. It takes 10 days from data submission until you pick it up at the shop.

    1. What You Need:
      1. The image you want must be on your photo album on your phone. This will not work with a clip/clip drive.
      2. You need a QR reader. Any QR reader (Japanese or English) will work. I downloaded the first free QR reader I saw in the Apple App Store. The QR code will guide you to the page you need later.
    2. How It Works (this link shows the steps in Japanese).
      1. You use your QR reader to take a photo of the QR code posted in the shop.
      2. This will open a window on your phone, through which you select your image. There are a series of steps here. The staff will help guide you through this.
      3. You can enlarge your image and slide it around to get placement that you like. On the website, it seems you can add text. I didn’t want to add text and so maybe I missed this function at the shop.
      4. You get a message that the info is correct and then hit enter (again the staff will help guide you through this).

The staff I met didn’t speak much English but they are very friendly try really hard to help. They really made the process quite easy. A bit of Japanese and patience and friendly attitude will get it all done.

Adress: Shibuya-Ku, Jingu Mae 6-29-4
Hours: 11:00 -8:00 Open everyday except end of year/ new year holiday.
Phone: 03-6427-9703 [shop]
2F tel 03-6427-9709 [studio]



      Fukutoshin Line/ Chiyoda Line. Jingumae Station. 1 Minute


    Exit #7, 1 minute from Jingumae Station. You will be on Meiji Dori. Turn right (in the direction of Shibuya/ away from Omotesando).

JR:(Yamanote Line) Harajuku Station. 6 minutes.
Use the main exit (NOT Takeshita Dori exit) and walk down Omotesando towards Aoyama. Turn right at Meiji Dori (landmarks are Tokyo Plaza or Lotteria on the Burgers on the corner). Walk one minute. Shop on the right side of the street.

Car: The shop has no parking spaces but paid parking is nearby.

〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前6-29-4 1F&2F [studio]
open 11:00 – 20:00 [年末年始を除き無休]
1F tel 03-6427-9703 [shop]
2F tel 03-6427-9709 [studio] 
fax 03-6427-9719

●東京メトロ千代田線/副都心線「明治神宮前」駅 7番出口から渋谷方面徒歩1分


Wonder Photo Shop Helps You Finish Your Photos with Fun.

Wondering what to do with that great photo you just took? Check out Wonder Photo Shop in Harajuku.

Wonder Shop is on Meji Dori 1 minute away from Omotesando Crossing.
Wonder Shop is on Meji Dori 1 minute away from Omotesando Crossing.

“I have my print, what next?” is an overlooked challenge in photography. The life cycle of a photo tends to be, print it, frame or album-book it and eventually shove it in a box when it got in the way or toss it. One huge advantage of digital photography is that our boxes full of photos are virtual instead of virtually all over the place. But photos aren’t meant to be forgotten in a shoe-box or on a hard-drive. Digital imaging allows us to be more creative with the format of our final images than ever. Wonder Photo Shop by Fuji Film can help you make your photographs into fabulous objects.

Different rolls of washi tape are hung on the branches of a metal tree for display.
I love this display idea. I wish I had the space (and the tree!) to do this at home.

Whether you uphold the time-honored tradition of scrap-booking or just want to stick your photos in a cute album, Fuji Wondershop has an array of scrapbooks, albums and accents to help you along. They have a nice selection of the Washi tape/ patterned masking tape which is quite popular recently. The tape makes a nice way to attach photographs to albums, books or papers. This tape is more forgiving than glue or stickers and, depending on the surface, generally can be pulled up a couple of times.

Animal photo holders.
Total inspiration for a future polymer clay project!

There are many frames or stands available for displaying photos. My favorite is the animal figure. It is cut in half with magnets attached to the middle. Place one half in front, the other behind and the magnets and animal keeps the photo upright.

Like any modern photo store worth its salt, you can print directly from your smart phone via cable, or bluetooth with a photo printer. An L-sized print is 30 yen and is available fairly quickly.

The shuffle print which looks like a more stylish contact print, might be a great way to show off Instagram prints. If you have more time, you can order large prints or print onto other surfaces. My favorite is making your own smart phone cover. I tried this and will be blogging about it next week.

If you are still loving analog and lomo-style, you can buy mini-instant film (polaroid style) for Fuji Instamax cameras. There is also 35mm film available and some cool 35 mm film cameras. For those with studio aspirations, there is a rental studio on the second floor.

Wonder Photo is for anyone who wants to make easy, nice looking prints but the store definitely continues the women-friendly vibe found in magazines like Joshi Camera. (Joshi Camera has been promoting women-oriented photography and photo-finishing for some time) and Popeye Camera (locations in Jiyugaoka and Minato Mirai). I think Popeye was the first store in Tokyo to target the female photographer market with its selection of camera  gear, paraphernalia, stationery and photo developing. Like Wonder Photo it’s a one-stop film/memory card-to-finishing photo store designed for everyone but very appealing to the female demographic. Universotokyo has a great review of Popeye Camera.

Without stores like Wonder Photo and Popeye you would spend more time hunting down the same items at places like Bic Camera and Ito-ya Stationery then creating. The curation of photo-specific products and stores with specific samples of how they can be used is a welcome, and really fun, addition to living with photography and making it part of your lifestyle.
Subway: Fukutoshin Line/ Chiyoda Line. 1 Minute
Exit #7, 1 minute from Jingumae Station. You will be on Meiji Dori. Turn right (in the direction of Shibuya/ away from Omotesando).
JR:(Yamanote Line) 6 minutes
Use main exit (NOT Takeshita Dori exit) and walk down Omotesando towards Aoyama. Turn right at Meiji Dori (landmarks are Tokyo Plaza or Lotteria on the Burgers on the corner). Walk one minute. Shop on the right side of the street.
Car: only paid public parking (not affiliated with the shop) available

Tokyo-To, Shibuya-Ku, Jingu Mae 6-29-4
Hours: 11:00-20:00 Every day except Year End/New Year Holidays.
Shop Phone #: 03-6427-9703
Studio Phone #: 03-6427-9709
Fax: 03-6427-9719

〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前6-29-4 1F&2F [studio]
open 11:00 – 20:00 [年末年始を除き無休]
1F tel 03-6427-9703 [shop]
2F tel 03-6427-9709 [studio] 
fax 03-6427-9719
●東京メトロ千代田線/副都心線「明治神宮前」駅 7番出口から渋谷方面徒歩1分

Interview With Bespoke Printer Matsudaira-san of Aflo Atelier

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a bespoke (made to order) photo printer, Matsudaira-san of Aflo Atelier. It’s rather short as he was preparing prints for exhibitions and he kindly took the time to answer some questions.

One of the interesting changes home electronics and digital media brings to photography is that  photographers can do so much more for themselves than ever before. The way we enjoy an image has changed quite a bit. For many images, it’s unlikely that we will make a print. It will live a digital life and sometimes achieve immortality by becoming an internet meme. Other images will get a quick print at a photo store or a print machine or our home printer.

It may have never been easier to control so much of the process but it’s easy to forget that printing is as much as an art as taking the photo. There are many great photographers who made their own prints, and many great photographers who work with printers. There is also some debate about whether getting someone to print your photo means you give up control of your image. This brings up interesting questions about where the “art” of photography begins and ends and what creating an image really means.

This is an excerpt from the interview:

 How would you describe the role of a printer?

A printer’s job is to understand what the photographer wants to convey in their image. It’s my job to provide techniques and tools to help them do that.

What advice do you have for photographers when working with printers?

It isn’t so important to know Photoshop but you have to know about your work. If the theme or idea of your photo is clear to you than it is easier to have a detailed discussion about your work.

Here is a link to the whole interview:

 A list (mostly in Japanese but worth clicking through) of of exhibitions that Matsudaira-san has printed is at the bottom of this web page:

The interview is part of a social media push for a group photography exhibition I am in this week from Thursday, April 11 until Saturday, April 13. You can read more about the exhibition at its Tumblr site

I love printing my own stuff whether it is digital or in the darkroom. Still, if I were to sell someone a digital print, I would want to go through a professional printer like Matsudaira-san so that I could guarantee my buyer the best quality and best archival level that I could obtain. I agree that working with a printer effectively is a kind of collaboration but I disagree that it means you give up control of the image. That’s like saying you can only create “art” by working in a vacuum. To me, it means you wouldn’t even be able to ask for an opinion to consider. If in the end, all final decisions are yours, so is the image.

I would love to hear what others think about the need to control every aspect of the creation of your image.

Used Camera Shopping in Tokyo Made Easier

When I should be doing other things, I like to look at camera gear. I just found Camerafan which makes the whole joyous slog of looking at classic camera gear a whole lot easier.

It is a Japanese site that has listing for a lot, if not all, second hand camera stores that sell online in Japan. This saves me from dead-links and awkward page searches. Some shops have definitely got better search features on their pages tan others. With this site, you can enter some basic parameters and it gives search results from several different stores. Oooh, lovely! Comparison shopping made easy! You do need to be able to speak and read some Japanese.

My favorite second hand camera shop in Tokyo is Map Camera.I find them consistent and really reliable in assessing the quality of the gear they sell. They tend not to have super-obscure B-class cameras and that is what I have developed a passion for ever since I bought my Petri 1.9 rangefinder.

Here is a link to the Petri cameras that show up from a search on Camera fan. No cameras similar to mine available… nanninannibooboo!

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