This month we welcome Joseph Low of JRice Photography to the table for an interview. Joseph is an up and coming photographer from Malaysia that we’ve been keeping an eye on for some time now. Take one look at his photos and the scenes he brings to life and it’s easy to see why we’ve been fascinated with his work.
Cosplay Photographers: Hi Joseph! So tell us how you got started with photography?
Joseph Low: I’ve been interested in photography since I was young and I always offer to help my family to snap photos with my dad’s handycam whenever we would go for a vacation. As time went on and I grew up, my interest started to flow to another field and I totally forgot about photography. When I entered my first year of college, I was brought to a cosplay convention by a friend and from there I was introduced to cosplay photography which then sparkled my interest in photography again. I took up a part time job during college break in order to afford my own personal dSLR and learn more about cosplay photographer from my friends.
Cosplay Photographers: How long have you been doing cosplay photography?
Joseph Low: I started off cosplay photography since August 2010, so it would be 4 years I guess.
Cosplay Photographers: Do you shoot any other genres?
Joseph Low: I’ve never really tried out any other genre of photography at the moment but I would love to try out wedding, landscape, and concert photography if I have the chance.
Cosplay Photographers: How would you describe your photography style?
Joseph Low: I don’t really have a particular photography style i guess, usually it just pop-up in my mind then I would try around with different composition and see whether it fits the character and the location. But I’m now hoping to go into more storyboard based cosplay photography.
Cosplay Photographers: Cosplay weddings are becoming more popular, maybe you can mix them! So if you were asked to shoot a cosplay wedding, how would you do it differently than a regular wedding?
Joseph Low: Hmm…tough question /OTL. I have never encounter one so far so it’s hard for me to say. I guess, I would try to do cosplay wedding photography based on the character selection of the bride and groom then try to capture a series of storyboard scenario portraying the love story from the characters and the message from the bride and groom.
Cosplay Photographers: Do you still find time to watch anime or read manga? What series do you keep up with?
Joseph Low: I’m pretty busy with my semester as my class are from Monday to Saturday and class usually starts in the morning until as late as 9pm at night. Despite that, I would still find time to catch up with my animes after I’m done with my assignments late at night. Animes that I’m currently following for this summer season would be: Aldnoah Zero, Akame ga Kill, Ao Haru Ride, Barakamon, Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun, Glassip, Hanayamata, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo ESP and Zankyou no Terror.
Cosplay Photographers: What would be your dream character/location you want to shoot?
Joseph Low: Hmm…If you were to ask me about dream characters, I think it would be characters from Fate/Stay, Fate/Zero series and also Final Fantasy VII, X, XIII series and many more. Location shoot wise, I would usually go for places where it suit the character for the series but I always wanted to travel to Europe, USA, Japan, Taiwan for shoots.
Cosplay Photographers: So what’s in your bag?
Joseph Low: I’m still using a Canon EOS 500D/Rebel T1i, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Nissin Di622 MKII and a set of Phottix Strato II Multi trigger. Sometimes I would also borrow my friend’s Sigma 30mm f/1.4 to use.
Cosplay Photographers: What is your favorite setup/environment for shooting?
Joseph Low: I usually prefer to arrange shoots early in the morning for the soft lighting and evening for the golden hour. I would definitely prefer to shoot outdoor with my 150cm reflector as I like to use natural lighting as my source of lights for my photos.
Cosplay Photographers: Do you have any “signature shots” that you like to do with every shoot? Or do you treat every shoot individually and recreate scenes of the series or character?
Joseph Low: I don’t really have a signature shot I guess, I usually would treat every shot/character individually as I want to bring out photos that could tell the story of the character itself by playing around with angles, lights, and my surrounding.
Cosplay Photographers: Do you have any tips for photographers starting out?
Joseph Low: Do research on the series/characters that you are going to shoot beforehand in order to bring out the character’s feels in your photograph. Collaborate with the cosplayer by asking their expectation and discuss on poses or storyboard what they would want to do. You may face camera gear limitation such as ISO limit or lens but never give up and keep trying to find a solution to it. Lastly, keep cosplay photography fun! =D
Cosplay Photographers: You mentioned limitations. Have you run into any limitations with your own gear? How did you overcome those limitations?
Joseph Low: ISO issue is usually my limitation especially during night shoots where I try not to crank my ISO over 800 where my pictures will start to be very noisy and you start to lose detail in the picture. I don’t really have enough lighting equipment with me so usually I would borrow my friend’s flashes or hop on their strobe when we are shooting together.
Cosplay Photographers: You’ve shot with Reika and some other “famous” cosplayers. Are there any cosplayers that you really want to shoot with that you haven’t before?
Joseph Low: LOL, there are tons of amazing cosplayer out there I would love to work with and is hard to really name them all =3=.
Cosplay Photographers: How about for photographers? Which photographers inspire you or do you follow, in cosplay or otherwise?
Joseph Low: I really admire CM Leung from Hong Kong for his wedding photography works and as for cosplay photographers, I really admire works from BunnyTuan Photography, 35Ryo, Tony Quan Photography, Kiwira Photography, Blurmage Photography, and Vaxzone. There’s many more I could list!
Cosplay Photographers: You listed some great photographers that we look up to also. Do you think there’s a difference in style between Western (US/Euro) and Eastern (Asian) cosplay photographers?
Joseph Low: I think there are difference in terms of post processing and photography style between western and eastern cosplay phograpers. It is difficult to elaborate much as different photographer around the region/world would have their own preference of post processing whether in terms of graphic design style or normal post processing method.
Cosplay Photographers: Any other message you would like to say to the cosplay photography community?
Joseph Low: Have fun and keep more awesome photos rolling =D
Cosplay Photographers: Thanks for your time, Joseph!
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