Photography is all about sharing what we see, and we’re seeing pretty much all the time whenever we’re awake. For me, a lot of the magic of it comes from motion: seeing characters and objects moving in sync with their environment, like a dance or choreography that imparts a strong visual impact. It’s a difficult to capture that in a static medium like photography, but that’s what makes it a fun challenge for me.
For my cosplay photography name, I wanted something simple and super hard to get; “Adorable” was taken but thankfully (and surprisingly), “Adorables” was available. I get the occasional DM from people asking to buy the username! –
I mainly started during my days in university; our local convention would rent part of our campus for a weekend. I would be taking summer classes and seeing crowds of people in costume, which got me curious about the world of cosplay. It helped that I had already made travel and food photography a hobby, so a lot of the learning process had to do with adjusting to portrait photography.
A lot of what I learned came from YouTube and friends in the community. By working with more people over time, I got to absorb a lot of ideas and techniques that helped me grow as a cosplay photographer.
A shoot that stands out for me features Evangelion, one of the first anime series I’d ever watched in my youth. It comes in two parts!
Part 1) A cosplayer @ivi_cosplay was interested in getting shots as Rei at Katsucon, and I was a bit anxious for this shoot because it was a very talented cosplayer with a cosplay I wanted to really bring to life.
This was the first year I was attending Katsu, so I didn’t even really know where to do the shoot. It wasn’t until Day 1 that a friend mentioned the Awakening Hand, a large hand/face art installation near the con. It sounded perfect for Evangelion, so my goal came in to focus: Rei, large hand/face, and a generous pop of color.
I was discussing the concept with them while we were walking to the structure, and when we arrived it was like magic: it looked perfect, and it was one of those moments where I could just envision all the shots I would take before I took them.
We did the shoot in a couple minutes, and afterwards I just looked at the photos in a bit of minor shock. We shot this on Saturday afternoon and after seeing those photos, I would’ve been okay not taking another single photo for the rest of the weekend. It’s rare, but it’s a wonderful feeling to know that the work and preparation really paid off.
Part 2) I worked again with this cosplayer at ANYC, and this time it was for both Rei (@ivi_cosplay) and Asuka ( @roro_cosplay). The situation was a bit similar, it was my first time in New York and I was yet again looking for a location that would fit the Evangelion aesthetic.
During a lunch break I passed by a building across the street that was just a flat high-rise with large framed windows arranged very geometrically. I thought it was perfect, and I excitedly expressed this concept to the cosplayers, who were very happy to get the shot.
It turned out to be rather challenging: I would have to shoot from across the street, so any directions I gave were only visual (moving my arms and head), since they wouldn’t be able to hear me. It was so cold that day so we only had a couple minutes to shoot. The traffic was heavy, but we managed to take some shots between cars/buses. Getting that photo was also such a dream, and it looked amazing directly from the camera. For this shot, I took some liberties in photoshop to heavily manipulate the colors, making their cosplays stand out in contrast.
I consider my favourite shoots more than just a shoot, they’re the product of a whole process: getting together with friends, discussing ideas, then going step by step from inception, and overcoming challenges to finish the photoshoot and get “the shot”
I approach cosplay photo shoots much the same way I would a meeting of artists, it’s not necessarily one person calling all the shots (though of course sometimes that is the arrangement), but rather a way for us to combine some unique visions together. I usually have discussions with the people I work with, and I’ve found it incredibly important to be able to ‘mesh’ and get along with them. If our creative processes are in sync, the project comes out amazingly! Otherwise, I have found that I need to think a bit harder to create work that meets my standards in tricky situations.
Like any creative endeavor, cosplay is something that I feel has a definition, but one that’s changing constantly all the time. There’s a general sense of what cosplay is, but what I draw inspiration from is the idea that literally anyone can do it! I subscribe to the broader definition that cosplay can be whatever you make it out to be, as long as you believe in your own creative efforts and output, and year after year I see amazing things being created all over the world.
Disclaimer: all images and videos used, do not belong to FnC and belong to their respective owners.