Na ons interview met Tabitha Lyons van Artyfakes kwamen wij in contact met één van de fotograven die haar foto’s maakt, Andrew Dobell van Infinities Edge Studios. Het leek mij leuk om ook van de andere kant van de camera te horen hoe het is om in de wereld van Cosplay mee te draaien….en gelukkig was dat wederzijds 😉
Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview! Funny how we got in touch after the interview with Tabitha Lyons, I guess in the world of Cosplay there are many lines that go back and forth.
It’s a Small world.
But let me start by the beginning, since when have you been doing Cosplay photography? And of course, how long ago did you start photography all together?
Cosplay Photography is still something fairly new to me if you mean taking photos of cosplayers, I discovered it around the same time as Tabitha actually. I had been aware of people dressing up in costumes and calling it Cosplay for years before, but I had no idea there was such a community that surrounded it. Before I ever met Tabitha and Artyfakes, I had met with the Sneaky Zebra Boys, Nick and Gary as I was looking to meet with some UK YouTubers and find out more about that.
Then later I discovered Tabitha’s Skyrim Costume and suggested a short film, which we made. It was after we made that short film, and Tabitha got into Cosplay, then Nick and Gary made their Mass Effect short with 2 Cosplayers and then started to do their Convention videos, that I discovered the Cosplay community as well.
I’m a professional photographer and have been since about 2005, doing weddings and other things. But I love photography and film making anyway as a personal past time, so Cosplay Photography kind of just fitted into my general love of image making.
I saw a few of your pictures with awesome effects, the Red Sonja one being my favourite, do you alter these yourself as well? And do you see a trend in Cosplay photography adding these effects?
Yes, this is all done by myself. I’m a professional Illustrator as well so I have a background in creative image making, so it comes naturally. I’ve been altering and compositing photos like this for years. It seems natural to do it to Cosplay images when there’s super heroes in the photos who are often throwing fire balls around etc. The Red Sonja image of Tabitha was shot at MCM in the convention hall, I just cut her out, created the background and there you have it.
Do you mainly work with professional cosplayers or do you also go to conventions to capture new talent?
Of the little that I have done so far, I’ve shot both private shoots (and I want to organise more, so please contact me if you’re interested in one) and shot on a convention floor.
The convention shooting was fun, but it never felt like I was getting the time to do it properly and I was always making compromises in the images. So I think I prefer to do shoot outside of the convention circuit, but that’s not to say I won’t attend conventions. I’m a big old geek at heart, so I love conventions anyway.
The images below were all taken on the convention floor, using a lighting technique to drop the background into darkness and just light the subject, that way I can get rid of the horrible busy background and focus the viewer on the subject. Plus the Cosplayers loved the images when they saw them, which helps. 🙂
For the photo-shoots, how much preparation is required and what kind of set-ups do you have in your studio and on during the outdoor shoots?
It really depends on the shoot, some are easy, some take more planning. I like working on location when possible, it gives more variety to the ideas when shooting, but, studio stuff is great as well when it comes to compositing as it makes cutting the subject out much easier.
Equipment wise, I use a DSLR, and several flash guns that I can modify with soft boxes or snoots etc which I fire remotely.
Do you also arrange the awesome make-up or do the models arrange this themselves?
Either. I have a good working relationship with a local Make Up Artist (MUA) and we frequently collaborate on shoots together, she’s amazing at what she does and there really is no substitute for professional make up.
But, I’m happy to let the model/cosplayer do their own make up, they may have a specific vision for how they want to look, and that’s cool too.
As an amateur photographer I know that portraits are a complete category of their own, and special skills are required. Do you have tips for starting Cosplay photographers?
Well, my advice would apply to photographers no matter their subject. Just get out there and do it. There really is no substitute for learning out there in the real world. Get to some conventions, talk to the cosplayers, be nice, friendly and respectful and take some photos.
Look at the work of those you admire and try to figure out how they did it. Watch YouTube videos about photography, learn the techniques and apply them to what you do.
Do you have a shoot or model that has a special place place…and if so, why?
I tend to have some favourite images rather than shoots, I am my own biggest critic so I can always see what I needed to do better, I’m always learning. But I do have images that I love more than others.
You told us that you also direct your own short films, when did this passion start and what motivated you to start this?
Again I kind of fell into it. When DSLR’s started to include video in their abilities, I started to take an interest in it, and then I discovered the likes of FreddieW and Corridor Digital on YouTube and realised that I could make short films.
I suppose it comes down to one thing really. At the core of everything I do is the fact that I’m a story teller at heart. I love telling stories, whether that’s with words (such as with my Novel on Kindle or in illustrations or Photography and Film. At university I did a course in Animation and created a short film for my final year project. I have ambitions to remake that short animation into a live action film one day too.
And before this as a teenager I was running RPG games with my friends and I always loved plotting story lines for that too.
Next to the Cosplay photography and movies, is there room for other projects and hobbies?
I’m certainly a busy bee. Well, I love Movies, clearly, and reading books, but I don’t get much time to read much these days.
You work with several models, Cosplay and non-Cosplay, if you could pick one Cosplay model you would love to do a shoot with, who would it be and why?
That’s easy. I’ve love to do a shoot with Vampy! She’s a great Cosplayer, clearly dedicated to what she does and her costumes are beyond Awesome. So I’d love to do a shoot with her, probably over a few days and do both stills and short films. That would be Awesome. So, if I ever get back to the USA in the near future, that’s one thing I will try to arrange.
So Vampy, if you’re listening, I’d love to shoot with you sometime!!!
Where do you see yourself and Infinities Edge Studio’s in the next 5 years? What are your future plans?
Just to keep doing what I’m doing. I’d love to do more of my own work, writing books and illustrating/photographing the content, that would be awesome. I’ve recently seen some Artists who fund their work through Kick Starter etc, so maybe something like that. I have some short film Ideas I would love to do which will need funding through some kind of crowd funder I think.
I just follow my heart when it comes to the creative side of life. You get once chance at life, so do what makes you happy.
365Gaming dankt Andrew voor het interview en natuurlijk voor de mooie foto’s! Houd 365Gaming in de gaten voor meer Cosplay nieuws & interviews!