Let’s talk about idol photographs

When it comes to buying idol-related merchandise the possibilities are endless. We idol-fans buy things because we love our idols and their work. Many fans choose to focus on buying the singles, sometimes buying many copies to ensure their favorite group places higher on the Oricon charts. Other prefer concert DVD’s. There’s also shirts, wristbands, phonestraps, towels and various special items (ranging from alarm clocks to stylish necklaces) to cater to the whims of every fan. I myself have purchased many of these, mostly focusing on CD’s, PB’s, DVD’s as well as the odd shirt. That being said there is one category of idol goods that I’ve never bought and that would be photosets. I’d rather spend a bit more money and have a full-fledged photobook like this recently purchased copy of Morning Musume’s Alo-Hello 2011 pictured below.

A very nice photobook indeed.

Yet, there are fans that will spend enormous amounts of money, time and effort collecting these photo’s. Just take a gander at HelloStoreUSA’s Flickr pool. Some want them all, others only want their favorite member or group and in many cases the tried and true collectors mentality is well at work. People hunt for these on Ebay or Yahoo Auctions Japan. While I personally have no interest in them and do not purchase any of them, I somehow have amassed a small collection of them. There’s is just no avoiding them. If you like idols enough to buy their merchandise you will get them at some point.

These are just the recent ones.

The reason for this is because photos come as free bonuses with so many other pieces of idol merchandise, especially with photobooks and T-shirts. Some times it’s one picture per member, other times it’s a group shot but there will almost always be one. I’ve accumulated so many of them I’ve actually had to go out and buy photo binder pages just to keep them all organised.

They just keep coming!

In the end, it seems it can’t be helped. Idol-photos and the fans who collect them. You can’t avoid them, no matter how hard you try. So you organise them, you put them in a binder and when you find a few minutes of free time, you might be inclined to open that binder, sit back and just enjoy while flipping through the pages.

Because the truth of the matter is that, deep down, every idol fan is a photoset collector on some level. Even if it’s just the complementary ones.


  1. Kathleen Donahue (@PQSquared)

    I collect H!P Visual books. It’s the best of both worlds. You have a mini photobook with giant sized photos that now a days look like glorified pictures from a photoset. But back in Hello!Projects golden days the visual books were themselves a work of art.

    But to stay on topic, I also have a obscene collection of photos. I was able to purchase some photo holders but once they are full I’m stuck using the cheap $1 photo holders I get at the dollar store. Not great, but they do in a pinch! I think the most prized photos are the ones with writing on them. Personal messages on a photo are always better then a standard photo shot, don’t you think? 🙂

    • TommyVD


      About the visual books. Don’t know how it used to be back “ye olden golden days” 🙂 but I bought one once (Fantasy DX) and don’t plan on buying any others. I was surprised it was just a couple of huge pictures of each member.

      I have focused on getting live-PB’s instead. Those are almost always quite good.