Recently, while getting prepared for my busy con season of July, I realised that I have so many cosplays that I haven't yet gotten photos of, or the photos I do have are getting incredibly old.
I decided to post on my page seeing if any budding photographers would be interested in doing shoots with me, thinking maybe just a couple of friends would be interested, but much to my surprise, I got a lot of responses and messages! It was really uplifting actually.
I arranged to do some shoots with Jon Brady, one of my many friends I met via Twitter (ah twitter, is there anything you can't do?) after I did some location spotting near my flat, which enabled me to use my flat as a base for the 3 costume changes I did.
I get a little nervous when it comes with working with photographers I haven't before, mainly due to my own personal low self esteem. When I see the model's and cosplayers that photographers I know have worked with, I can't believe the results and I personally don't feel I can ever produce the same.
Posing isn't my strong suit, I'm extremely self conscious but I've learned a lot from friends, fellow cosplayers and my photographer friends, and I really enjoy learning more about modelling for any kind of photography. For example, my favourite bit of advice was given to me by the amazing Aranel, who said that before you get a photo taken, blow air from your lips and it'll give you a natural sexy pout in photos, rather than creating the famous 'duckface' expression which is all too common and easily achieved.
Anyway, I didn't need to be nervous as Jon was fantastic! As we've talked for a long time online via Twitter, I didn't feel like I was meeting up with a stranger, so instantly I felt more comfortable. He's really funny, chatty and a real professional. I was in awe of his kit, his ideas and his directing. Plus, I had a lot of fun! It was like hanging out with a friend while also doing something super productive!
While I went back to the flat, aka, our base, to change into the second cosplay, he backed up his photos on his Macbook and showed me his previous published work. It was really inspiring and I love when photographers talk me through their process. The more work of his he talked me through, the more lucky I felt that I got to work with him!
The entire day we shot, Misty from Pokemon, Monomi from Super Dangan Ronpa 2, and a cosplay I quickly put together for Halloween last year but wanted to get photos of, my genderbend of Kaneda from the famous 80's anime film, Akira.
Monomi was the main cosplay I wanted photos of, as I originally made her to wear at the last Kitacon for the Sunday morning, but of course forgot that more than half of the Kitacon attendees are too hungover to crawl out of their hotel rooms so the con floor is dead, and I mostly spent that time sleeping in the hoodie I sewed for Monomi, rather than walking around in it.
I remembered I bought some Dangan Ronpa tape from ebay for Monomi, and brought it along to the shoot, much to Jon's joy! He loved the idea and totally made amazing use of it in photos despite not playing the Dangan Ronpa games or watching the anime adaption. That's to me what shows a great photographer, ones that despite not knowing the source of what you're from and trying to depict, they still manage to capture it perfectly.
The main thing I loved from Jon Brady's photos, other than the fact he shot over 1,000 photos and managed to post-process and send me them in a matter of days, was that he managed to make each photo tell a story. When it comes to cosplay photography, a portrait could just be a portrait. But, for example, when he took this photo of me as Pokemon's famous red-headed gym leader, he took the photo through the blankets of grass, adding a lovely depth of field and suiting the character perfectly as of course, in the Pokemon series, it's the 'tall grass' where you find Pokemon to catch.
Each one of Jon's photos is so beautiful, and not because of me (hah), but because of his eye for composition and his evident joy of photography, even if he doesn't know the source the model is trying to depict. When I went through the finished photos properly to upload on my favourite social media websites, it was clear to me that when it came to finally getting music shots for music releases and this website, it will be Jon that I'll be commissioning to do them.
Whether you're a fellow musician, cosplayer or need a photographer for an event, I'd highly suggest hiring Jon. He's a true professional and such a joy to work and hang out with. I can't wait to work with him more in the future!
Where to Find Jon Brady: