Pokemon

AR Photographer Interview : ZoëTwoDots

As part of a new series, we want to introduce you to some of the incredible AR photography community. There are so many brilliantly talented creators who are sharing their work on social media, and their work deserves a spotlight.

When it comes to big names in the AR photography community, I’m not sure they get any more well known than ZoëTwoDots! Zoë is an incredibly popular Pokémon GO Youtuber and Twitch streamer, known for always wearing a bow in her hair, and her love of Togepi.

Zoë is also one of the few Pokémon GO influencers that is an active part of the AR photography community. She features her AR photography in her videos, has produced tutorials, and regularly features other AR photographers at the end of her videos via her hashtag #ztdnews. Using Zoë’s hashtag is a chance to be featured on her channel, and it is so wonderful to see such a popular influencer using their work to showcase the work of others.

I was lucky enough to get to reach out to Zoë and interview her for our new AR photographer interview series, so lets learn more!

Hi Zoë! First of all, please introduce yourself for anyone who hasn’t been lucky enough to be aware of you yet. Tell us some fun facts about yourself and where you are from.

Hi there! I’m Zoë, also known as ZoëTwoDots! I’m a content creator and all Pokémon nut from Newcastle, Australia.

How did you first get into Pokémon?

I’ve been a PokéFan since the 90’s watching the anime, collecting and playing (poorly) with the cards and eventually my first game, Pokémon Yellow. I don’t recall it ever being ‘introduced’ it was just always a huge part of my childhood after the age of 5.

When did you start playing Pokémon GO, and who was your starter?

Pokémon Yellow was my first ever full Pokémon game, so technically Pikachu. But at every chance to pick in later games/replays Charmander was my choice! SO imagine my disappointment when I thought Pokémon GO randomly assigned your starter Pokémon… and I got Bulbasaur (don’t get me wrong, Bulba is still cool). I restarted the game so many times hoping for Charmander but the only thing on the map was Bulbasaur. Australia got the game a day early, so no tweets, no guides… I later found out if you walked a distance Squirtle, Charmander and Pikachu would pop up… Sadly, there was no way for me to know that sitting at my desk at work.

What level are you currently, and which team did you pick?

I’m currently Level 43 and I’m on Team Mystic!

Who are your favourite Pokémon and why? Are they also the Pokémon you like to use in AR?

This is such a hard question haha! Some of my favourites are: Togepi, Venomoth, Lickitung, Emolga, Pumpkaboo, Dedenne, Espurr & Corsola. Some of these aren’t in GO yet so I’m very much looking forward to photographing them eventually! And I generally like to photograph Pokémon that fit a theme, match a location or that has a unique animation. Typically, finding those unique animations is hard work, either experimenting with them as your buddy or seeing photos others have taken. I only found out this week Ninetails sits like a puppy when it’s your buddy because of a photo taken by @Mythical_Lae_Snaps!

What phone do you use, and what apps do you recommend for the budding AR photographer?

 I use a Samsung Note 20 Ultra (AR photos in 2020) and previously used the iPhone 10 (AR photos in 2019). I try not to edit my photos too much as I want viewers to know they can achieve the same photo at home just by experimenting with better lighting or interesting angles. If I touch up some colour balance or saturation, I’ll either use Snapseed or Photoshop Express.

What are your favourite techniques to use in AR photos?

 I love the buddy features for feeding or patting to get different reactions from your buddy. I think catching them mid blink can be funny to add extra tone or a mood to the shot. I’m a fan of the ‘fake depth of field’ trick, where you cover the camera lens with your hand and then quickly remove it, taking a photo as quick as you can. Because your camera won’t have time to snap focus, it creates a cool out of focus background and makes the Pokémon pop even more.

(Interview note – We have a tutorial on this technique, also known as Bokehmon!)

Do you have your first ever AR photo, and if you do, can we share it and hear about it?

I don’t recall my absolute first photo, but I do have a memorable early one. Back before we had GO Snapshot, and the ONLY time you could take a photo was in the encounter screen… yes, that meant risking it despawning ? … yes I lost many Pokémon this way… BUT one Pokémon that couldn’t despawn were your research task Pokémon. So, I took my Mew on a mini tour of Australia and Japan. Ultimately photographing it with Mt Fuji and a stack of Sakura trees in full blossom. It was weeks of carrying around that Mew and the view on that day I caught it was so beautiful, I’ll never forget it.

What are your favourite type of locations to work in?

Either intense nature or intense ‘fake’ locations. I love really detailed and dense nature, thick forest/bushland, flowers, the ocean with crashing waves etc. Or curated sets, like over stylized shop fronts with a huge fake ice-creams/props or bright detailed street art & sculptures. I generally feel a bit lost when the location doesn’t create a story, like a plain grass field or regular residential street.

What is your favourite AR photo you’ve ever taken?

I think the Mew I mentioned before is way up in the top for my favourites. It’s so hard to pick! But I’ll be sure to add a couple to show you all in this interview!

Where do you hope to see Pokémon GO and AR go in the future?

I hope to see more stabilization and optimization across both iOS and Android, I still see a lot of difference between both for ease of use. I’d like to see smoother and easier shared AR experiences and being able to take photos of multiple of my own Pokémon at once. And crispier photos, I thiiiink at the moment AR snapshots are technically just screenshot quality, I want that crispy HD!

Where do you hope to see your YouTube channel and Twitch go in the future? Any exciting plans on the horizon?

Oh goodness. I just want to keep having fun and sharing fun experiences with all my good eggs! In terms of goals, I would like to hit 200k subs on YouTube before the end of the year! But ultimately, I just want to keep loving my job, as I am currently, and hopefully in 2021 that means we can be back outside and exploring the world again.

Which other AR photographers do you recommend following?

Don’t make me choose!!! There are so many great ones!!! AHH, I love you all!! Top of mind, I’d absolutely recommend these (on Instagram): @risokichi, @pokemonphotosjp, @mythical_lae_snaps, @kuuma_photos, @and_pkmn, @cleffabel, @pelopogo, @pkmn.snaps, @ashketzchup, @pokemonldn_ar, @growlithegirl, @pogo_reikatje AND SO MANY MORE!! I feature some AR photos at the end of each of my videos that use the hashtag #ZTDNews on Instagram and that tag has so much spice!

And finally, where can we find you on social media?

Searching ZoeTwoDots should find you everything you need but here are some direct links to make it easy!

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