February 2012 Featured Cosplay Photographer of the Month: Songster69
|Songster69 (Adrian Song)||Singapore||http://songster69.deviantart.com|
While browsing dA’s cosplay groups, I happened upon a number of amazing cosplay photographs by Songster69. So I browsed though the rest of his dA gallery and found some amazing stuff. Songster69 doesn’t rely on heavy post processing, but his shots are focused on strong compositions and clean backgrounds; everything has a purpose and a place. If you haven’t already, take a peek at his gallery and follow this talented artist!
Cosplay Photographers: Hi Adrian! Thanks so much for joining us today. So how did you come up with your handle?
Songster69: It was a nickname given to me by a neighbor and it stuck with me throughout school up to university.
Cosplay Photographers: Being all the way out in Singapore, is it hard to find cosplayers to photograph?
Songster69: Not really. Geographically Singapore is really small so you’ll find a lot of cosplayers and photographers always converging at events which becomes a networking session for us.
Cosplay Photographers: Do you find you have to ask for shoots or do cosplayers generally request to shoot from you?
Songster69: It works both ways; I started out going to events and taking photos of the cosplayers and giving them copies of their photos if they like them. From there sometimes I’ll get invited to do a shoot with them or I’ll ask them directly if they would like to do a shoot at a more relevant venue.
Cosplay Photographers: How long have you been in the cosplay scene?
Songster69: Not long, since 2007. That’s about nearly four years to date.
Cosplay Photographers: I noticed that that you do lifestyle photography as well. What do you like better: lifestyle or cosplay photography?
Songster69: I like both although my DA gallery probably speaks for itself; but I find cosplay photography heaps more interesting as you can experiment with your angles and perspectives.
Cosplay Photographers: If I was a new cosplay photographer and asked you for your three top tips on how to get started, what would they be?
Songster69: 1) Take a lot of pictures to find your style and angle, 2) Shoot what you like and like what you shoot, and 3) Enjoy every moment that you’re shooting
Cosplay Photographers: I noticed that your photos are always very vibrant, do you ever do any b&w?
Songster69: Funny that you asked; I started off shooting in b&w way back when I was studying photojournalism in school. Back then I shot using film and had to process the negatives and print the photos for my class assignments. Sometime last year while clearing my external hard disk I rediscovered some scans of my b&w school assignments which I compiled into a journal entry here:
I still do it from time to time and here’s one from my gallery: http://songster69.deviantart.com/art/Chane-Laforet-118712154
I do find that b&w photography is more difficult as you need to get the tones and contrast right or else the photo falls flat without any dimensions.
Cosplay Photographers: How many conventions did you attend last year (2011)?
Songster69: Not many this year due to work commitments. However, for those that I attended this year, Start of Year Con (SOYC) and CosFest XI, I was cosplaying modern forces with my buddies. We got the cosplayers to change roles and take photos of me and my buddies during those events.
Cosplay Photographers: What are your favorite conventions to attend?
Songster69: Locally, it’ll be the Start of Year (SOY), CosFest, Anime Festival Asia (AFA) and End Of Year (EOY). Other than that, I’d like to revisit Japan to attend the Comiket event which I did in early 2010.
Cosplay Photographers: Are there any conventions you would love to attend if you could?
Songster69: For whatever’s left of this year (2011) I’ll probably be attending Anime Festival Asia (AFA) in November and the End Of Year (EOY) event in December.
Cosplay Photographers: Which conventions are you planning to attend in 2012?
Songster69: I don’t have any plans for next year at the moment but attending an overseas event is always on the back of my mind.
Cosplay Photographers: As a cosplay photographer, what do you look for in a cosplayer when selecting them to photograph?
Songster69: Firstly, their attitude and commitment towards the shoot; those with good working attitude are easier and more flexible to work with in terms of getting good shots as well as the overall outcome of the shoot. If a cosplayer pulls off the character he/she cosplays naturally it also adds to the overall effect of the photo.
Also, communication is important as a cosplay photoshoot is like an artistic collaboration between cosplayer and photographer. Sharing and conveying ideas is the key to getting good shots.
Cosplay Photographers: What are things that would make you refuse to photograph a cosplayer?
Songster69: Being the anal prick that I am I have refused to do shoots if there is a lack of planning and logistics or if the cosplayers have really poor time management skills. Like if a shoot is delayed by more than three hours I usually walk out.
Cosplay Photographers: Do you research any of the cosplayer’s character before shooting or do you play by ear during the shoot? Or both?
Songster69: I do both; before a shoot I request for references, usually screenshots, concept artwork or scenes from the manga or series that they’d like to do. If I do have the time I’ll watch the series or do some reading up. However, given the workload of my job I can barely afford the luxury of watching a lot of anime nowadays.
During the actual shoot we’ll run through the references and make adjustments to the poses and standing positions of the cosplayers for the actual photo.
Cosplay Photographers: What was a particular challenge you recently faced and how did you overcome it?
Songster69: Singapore is a tropical island so it’s either glaringly hot and sunny or wet and gloomy. There must always be a Plan B; a wet weather program as our weather can do a 180-degree turn within an hour.
With our humid climate you also need to consider the cosplayers as they need to hydrate and have regular rest intervals to touch up their costumes and make-up.
Cosplay Photographers: What is your philosophy when it comes to crafting a photo?
Songster69: Get a good angle or perspective but more importantly, the cosplayer must be comfortable working with me during the shoot or else it’ll show in the photos.
Cosplay Photographers: I noticed you worked with International Cosplay Beer Drinking Superstar Shiroin. How was that experience and did you get to try many amazing beers?
Songster69: Ah, Ricky’s a fun loving criminal and all the more he ups the fun level of any shoot. He did give me a can of Taiwanese beer after we wrapped up the Final Fantasy Dissidia shoot which I drank for breakfast the next day.
Cosplay Photographers: What is your favorite lens to photograph cosplay with and why?
Songster69: The Nikon 24-70; it’s very versatile and I can concentrate on taking photos without having to change lenses midway through a shoot.
Cosplay Photographers: Are you a Strobist-style photographer or ambient photographer?
Songster69: Ambient, I always prefer natural lighting although recently I’ve been using LED panels as a light source enhancement.
Cosplay Photographers: Are there any cosplay photographers you are dying to meet?
Songster69: Ooh, “dying” is such a strong word. But I’m open to meeting up with any photographers if they are at an event that I happen to be attending.
Cosplay Photographers: Any cosplayer are you would love to photograph?
Songster69: Hmm, not at the moment. I’m also open to working with cosplayers who are dying to work with me if we both can work out the arrangements.
Cosplay Photographers: Any advice for cosplay photographers or cosplayers?
Songster69: Relax, communicate, have fun and enjoy every shoot ya!
Cosplay Photographers: List the tools of your trade
Songster69: My dad and I both share the same hobby with him being a freelance photographer so we share equipment. Here’s the list:
I don’t bring out the whole arsenal with me and it also depends on the shoot and what my dad is using for his assignments or projects.
Cosplay Photographers: Thanks again for your time and sharing with us so much invaluable information. We can’t wait to see more amazing work from you!