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February 2014 Featured Photographer of the Month: Tony Quan

Cosplay Photographers: Tony Quan is an amazing artist from Southern California. His photos are artworks that are easily recognized and appreciated by many.

Thank you for joining us today Tony. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

Tony Quan: Hi Cosplay Photographers, it is an honor to be interviewed by you today. Hmmm… about me, first, I’m horrible with grammar, so please be patient with me. I’m currently located in San Diego, CA. I love movie, music, collecting video games, and artbook.

Cosplay Photographers: San Diego is a beautiful city! How long have you lived in San Diego? Were you born there?

And no worries about grammar! That’s why we have editors

Tony Quan: I was born in Vietnam. I have been living in San Diego for about 20 years. Loving every minute of it. It’s known as America’s Finest City for a reason.

Cosplay Photographers: You have such amazing photos. Do you do photography full time?

Tony Quan: Thank you. No, fotography is one of my many hobbies.

Hopefully, someday, I can turn fotography into a full time job someday.

Cosplay Photographer Location URL
Tony Quan San Diego, California, USA https://www.facebook.com/TonyQuanFotography

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Cosplay Photographers: What would be your dream photography job?

S_A_L_T_by_qcameraTony Quan: I would say fashion and movie poster. I love fashion for it unique portrait of art and human beauty. While movie poster, I love action and exaggeration, so, I think I’ll have a lot of fun in that field.

Those two fields are more like my ying and yang. One is mellow and gentle, while the other simply loud.

Cosplay Photographers: That’s a great way of putting it. How did you get started in photography?

Tony Quan: Believe it or not, I used to hate fotography. XD What happened was…one day at Getty Museum Garden, I was messing around with my cousin’s digital camera. I was taking a foto of roses in the garden, when suddenly, it hit me how important a moment in the foto is, no matter if it beautiful or not, it is a precious moment of time. Then, I saw my 1 yr old nephew, I’m determined to capture all moment of his life. My passion for fotography just kicked in. I’m in love.

Cosplay Photographers: Hate…that’s so strong! Why did you hate photography?!

Tony Quan: When I was young, everywhere my family and I go, they always wanted fotos. So, I got really annoyed by it.

Cosplay Photographers: Oh, we can definitely seeing getting annoyed by that. But now, you’re capturing all the memories! I’m sure your family is very appreciative of that.

So some people might be surprised to learn that you’re wheel chair bound. What unique opportunities and/or challenges has this presented for you in regards to your photography?

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Tony Quan: Being in a wheelchair definitely has it positives and negatives. The plus side is I get to shoot in a lot of unique low angles that most fotographers would miss. However, being in a wheelchair really limits my mobility. For example, I can’t hike up to mountains for unique foto opportunities. So, there is a plus and minus. You can’t have everything; I just work with what I have. Sometimes, a roadblock can lead to many possibilities.

Cosplay Photographers: What are some photography tips or tricks that you’ve learned that you can share with other wheelchair bound photographers?

Tony Quan: Tips, hmmm.. get a camera that have a flip-able lcd screen, as it will help in getting shots from high and low angles. Use light weight camera when possible. Focus on your subject, not your limitation, hence, that’s why I’m always in la la la land when I shoot. And last but not least, have fun.

Cosplay Photographers: Speaking of cameras, what kind of equipment do you use and why?

Tony Quan: Currently, I mostly use Sony NEX-5N + Sony 18-200mm and Sony NEX-C3 + fisheye for all convention shoot. I use Canon EOS 5D mark II with any L lenses from 16-200mm. I prefer to use NEX for conventions because it’s lightweight and produces excellent fotos. Especially when I don’t need super milky bokeh. I bounce back to Canon 5D II on private shoot, gotta love Canon bokeh and it’s colors.

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Cosplay Photographers: Excellent choices. How do you like the mirrorless cameras?

Tony Quan: I love it!! Very lightweight and compact. I carry two NEXs with 2 lenses in my bag, it is still lighter than my 5d2 + 24-70L. As I have stated before, it is very capable of producing excellent fotos, especially with low noise at high ISOs. It’s a dream to use.

Cosplay Photographers: So why even carry and use the Canon 5D Mark II anymore?

Tony Quan: I thought girls like fotographer with big camera and fat lenses, no?? O_O? Hahaha… Just kidding. Mirrorless is awesome, but it has limitations. For example, shutter speed on my NEX can only go up to 1/4000s, where as 5D2, can go up to 1/8000s, which is crucial for me, especially when I want a certain creative control right off the camera. Color gradient and dynamic range are also other factors that I use 5D2.

And of course, the extra creamy bokeh from Canon signature lenses.

DSC01544webCosplay Photographers: What’s your favorite lens and why?

Tony Quan: My all time favorite lens is Canon 85 1.2L mark II. The dynamic range on this lens is insane. The bokeh is mesmerizing. It is the lens that really can bring out a whole new dimension to the subject.

Cosplay Photographers: So obviously you use Photoshop. How much time do you spend in post production on an image?

Tony Quan: Approximately one to three hours. Time flies when I boot up Photoshop.

Cosplay Photographers: How do you typically decide what direction you’re going with an image? Do you know what you’re already going to do in Photoshop before you shoot the image or do you figure it out after you’re looking at the image?

Tony Quan: Before I take the foto, I pre-visualized the final image, the basic feeling, the tension, the lighting, the environment, the emotion, and what can be fix and can not. So, yes, I know what I want to do before I even take the foto.

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Cosplay Photographers: What has been your favorite image that you’ve created so far? Why?

IMG_5779webFBTony Quan: I would say “Princess Yue” from “Avatar: The Last Airbender”. It presented a great sense of hope, innocence and beauty. It is really an inspiring foto for me, personally.

Cosplay Photographers: What gets you into the mood for editing? Do you listen to music or do anything else?

Tony Quan: MUSIC!!! It really gets me going when I’m editing. Sometimes, I share the song that I use to edit a particular foto. Mostly kpop, jpop, and sountracks. Fast music. A girl once told me my taste in music is dramatic. Haha.

Cosplay Photographers: Just like your images! Do you mostly do private shoots at cons? Do cosplayers approach you or do you approach them?

Tony Quan: I don’t book con shoot. Very rarely do I accept booking. The reason being is that 90% of the time that I booked someone, they can’t make it on time. So, I stop booking.

At con, I do both. But most of the time, I get approached by cosplayer, or my friends would introduce me to their friends. I actually get really nervous when I approach cosplayer.

Cosplay Photographers: How long does a typical shoot last with Tony Quan?

Tony Quan: 45mins or less.

Cosplay Photographers: What are you looking for specifically when approaching a cosplayer?

Tony Quan: Their costume. After all, I love art, so their unique costume will definitely get my attention. Of course, beauty helps too. After all, it is feeling that leads to great fotography.

Cosplay Photographers: Are there any photographers that inspire you?

Tony Quan: They are tons of fotographer that inspired me. But the few that are always in my mind are Jean Francois Campos, Chen Man, Richard Avedon, and Paolo Roversi. Their unique vision is truly out of this world.

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Cosplay Photographers: Are there any cosplay photographers that inspire you currently?

Tony Quan: Believe it or not, I actually don’t look at cosplay fotography much, however, I do like work from AndyRakka, BigWhiteBazooka, Kiwira Photography, Black Rabbit Photography, Okageo Cosplay and Photography, and JRice Photography.

Cosplay Photography: Certainly great choices. Do you shoot mostly with ambient lighting or flash?

Tony Quan: Yes, I pretty much shoot ambient lighting exclusively. The only time I use studio lighting is when I’m in a studio. Hahah.

Cosplay Photographers: With this new year, do you have any special goals in regards to your photography or new things you’re looking to try?

Tony Quan: More crazier and louder fotography than last year. In addition, I would like to try fashion fotography. Videography is another medium that I’m looking forward to experiment.

Cosplay Photographers: Very nice! We can’t wait to see what crazy videos you would come up with. What is the three most important things you would tell a new cosplay photographer looking to improve his or her photography?

Tony Quan: 1) Respect your subject. 2) Know your tools 3) Shoot first, cry later.

Cosplay Photographers: Well put! Thank you so much for sitting down with us Tony. We look forward to seeing more amazing stuff by you. Any last words for everyone before we wrap up the interview?

Tony Quan: I would like to thanks Cosplay Photographers for providing me this wonderful opportunity to share my work with many wonderful artists around the world. It is a great honor to be here. And I sincerely look forward to more great fotography from everyone. Also, I would like to thank all the wonderful cosplayers for their hard work, commitment, and passion. I’m here today, because of you yesterday, you today, and you tomorrow.

If you found this article interesting, be sure to join our Facebook group, Cosplay Photography Discussion Group. It is a place for cosplay photographers of all levels to learn from each other. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook as well!

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We have been cosplay photographers for a long time now and decided it was time to give back. So we started this website with one main goal: "To Learn, To Teach". What that means is that people come here to learn tips and techniques and then turn around and teach it back to the next generation.

4 Comments

  1. He’s amazing, that is the only thing I can describe him.

  2. Inspiring is the word that comes straight to mind, a great read :)

  3. Awesome read, and his photos are beautiful!

  4. 1 word..
    Amazing!

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