From the Philippines by way of Italy, Rouvin Denzel of Diz*Zy Photography tells you what to study up on to be a good cosplay photographer!
Cosplay Photographers: Hey Dizzy, we first heard of you from Giada Robin. She speaks highly of you! How do you know her?
Rouvin Denzel: Really?! Thanks Giada!! It was back 2013 during a local convention where she was cosplaying as Miss Fortune from League of Legends. I just to asked for some photos and she was really kind and approachable.
CP: Tell us a little about yourself…
RD: Hi Cosplay Photographers, thanks for this feature! I am Rouvin Denzel but more known as Dizzy, I am from Philippines but currently residing in Italy for more than 4 years now. I am doing part time jobs aside from photography related jobs like shooting in events and sometimes in discos.
CP: How long have you been doing photography?
RD: I can’t really tell how long because there was a point that I stopped photography, when I lose my DSRL for some reasons.
CP: That’s unfortunate! How did you get started in Cosplay Photography?
RD: Back when I was still in Philippines around 2007-2008 and I was still doing cosplay with my friends. I had my lumix digital camera and I just did some snapshots for remembrance. After a while we wanted to have more beautiful photos but that time there were few photographers who we can ask to take photos with. That was the time I started to learn photography. Luckily since I was studying Fine Arts during college, I had a semester with photography class and also through internet and some photography magazines. I would say I started to take it seriously 3 years ago.
CP: Do you think art education is important to cosplay photography? Or can people just learn it on their own?
RD: Not precisely art education, but learning thing like knowing well your camera, how to compose, lighting your subject, posing your subject and more, will really step up your cosplay photography. It is a no ending in learning new things that you can apply in cosplay photography.
CP: Your use of color is excellent. Did you learn about it in art school or was that something you taught yourself?
RD: Thank you! I learned the basics from school. They taught me about color theory and composing an image and other stuffs. Some are self discovered from experience and internet.
CP: What is the cosplay community like where you are from?
RD: Cosplay today in Italy is skyrocketing now compared to the last few years. They now have a lot of access with materials like worbla and foam rubber. A lot of cosplayers do awesome and complicated costumes. Talking about locations it is great but not that great for taking photos because most of cosplay events are done in convention centers which offers limited backgrounds for shootings, While there are some done in open cities, resorts and beach which I like most.
CP: So you don’t really like shooting at conventions? How often do you do photo shoots outside of conventions?
RD: I prefer shoots outside the conventions but there are some of my friends who live far who i meet only during cons. I do 1 or 2 shoots outside of the con a month?
CP: Are there many conventions to go to around Italy?
RD: A lot!! There are 2-4 monthly around Italy to go to aside during winter season like have only 1-2 each month. Some are really far from me though.
CP: Are there many cosplayers to work with?
RD: Yes! But I would say a lot are cosplaying from series that are in the current mainstream and it is kinda rare to see costumes that are unique.
CP: Who are some of your favorite cosplayers to work with?
RD: I would say Itsuki-chan Cosplay and Aisu because of their character choices which I am often also fan of the series which make for us both do photos easily, and of course making their costumes really well.
CP: Do you have trouble shooting in public places? Do police or security harass you?
RD: Ah yes specially in central cities, sometimes they ask permissions but I just say it is for personal use and let us continue the shoot. As long as we don’t disturb other people within the area. And using tripod and light stands can cause issues. Sometimes it’s better to go with someone to assist you with lights or do the shoot with natural lights.
CP: How would you describe your photography style?
RD: I often change my style and it really depends what I am really into. I really like to recreate a lot of graphics like manga cover, fan art, or a scene of the series. I shoot both with strobes and using natural light. It depends on how I would like the character in the photo to be expressed. Also when shooting in flashes I really like to use colored gels to have more fantasy feel in the photos having vibrant colors.
CP: How much post processing do you do?
RD: I really like to edit photos. Anything from simple 5-15 min simple retouching to long hours of photomanipulation.
CP: Do you think it is important to know and like the characters you are shooting?
RD: It is! It makes such a difference when you take photos of characters you know and someone you don’t. What I do sometimes if I don’t know the character is talk it about with the cosplayer asking them to briefly explain the traits of their character.
CP: Of course we have to ask, what’s in your gear bag?
RD: I usually have my D7000, kit lens, 85 ƒ1.8, 50ƒ1.8, 2 flashes colored gels and I also bring 2 light stands, umbrella , softbox, ring flash and a reflector. Sometimes I bring 35 ƒ1.8 and an Ultra Wide Angle lens if I can borrow it from my brother. My favorites are the 35 and 85mm lenses. I just love the sharpness of these lenses. I also like using the Phottix softbox and ringflash.
CP: Who are some photographers that inspire you?
RD: A lot! I follow a lot of photographers like Pugoffka, Muze, Alive Alf, 鴉 吉米 (shadowcrow), Dan Gyokuei Photography, theDevil Photography and a lot more! They really inspire me and drive me to also do better in my works.
CP: Those are definitely some great costogs! How about yourself, do you have any tips to inspire new photographers who want to get started in Cosplay Photography?
RD: Hmm, I’d say that knowing the series of the cosplay you are taking photos really helps, so research is important. I have experienced to shoot a cosplay character before and after I watched the series and we have more ideas for the shoot. And of course have fun sharing the fandom!!!
CP: Definitely! Having fun is the most important part! Thanks for your time, Dizzy!
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