Time for another photographer interview! This time around it’s with BlizzardTerrak, a photographer and cosplayer from California!
How many years have you been into photography and what got you into cosplay photography?
I’ve been doing cosplay photography for almost three years now. It was Fanime 2009 that I took lots of pictures and posted them online to my DeviantArt account. A couple of cosplayers commented favorably on my photos and asked if I was interested in going to these cosplay gatherings they were hosting. I went to them, shot other cosplayers, and even talked to other photographers. They gave me tips in selecting a new camera and what I can do to improve. Over time, I picked up my own way of shooting, slowly getting better and better and made more and more friends as a result. I still can’t believe I came so far in such a short time.
What regions do you usually cover, and do you charge for photoshoots? Also, how does one get in contact to shoot with you?
Without a car or tons of cash, I’m pretty much limited to the Bay Area region of California, specifically San Francisco andSan Jose area. The only other places I’ve shot cosplay photography were in Los Angeles and San Diego, thanks to help from my friends. From my cosplay photography, I have made absolutely (pause for effect) …NOTHING! I don’t charge anything for photoshoots at conventions, gatherings, or private shoots. I’m not sure my skill level would allow me. Also, charging for a photoshoot would make this feel like a job. I want to be able to enjoy the shooting and hanging out with friends. Turning this into work is the last thing I want to do. That being said, it’s nice whenever I get a free meal as things for my work. 8D The best way to get into contact is via my Facebook fanpage (“BlizzardTerrak Photography”). Just post on my wall, comment, or use the provided email. Keep in mind my limited means of transportation though. I also have the DeviantArt, ACP, and cosplay.com accounts as well.
What type of photoshoots do you prefer and why?
I prefer to do “in the field” shoots using whatever setting and lighting I got. I’m pretty weak at studio photography, as I can’t get any inspiration. I love it when cosplayers bring ideas from their character, specific scenes in the game, and especially gags and jokes fans would recognize. Bring ideas and props to a shoot, especially weapons, and I’ll have a lot of ideas.
What is some of your favorite equipment you work with and why?
I currently use a Nikon D3000 camera and my favorite lens is a Nikor 35mm Prime lens. The lens allows me to shoot better in the dark and do a little background blurring over long distances. The focal length is just right for just about any kind of situation. I also carry a SB-600 flash unit if I need some more light, if I can find a way to bounce it off a wall.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I would love to get a Master control flash so that I can do some off-camera lighting. I’ve seen what other photographers can do with the right lights, but I want to keep it light and easy to carry. A higher-spec camera body would also be nice.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other photographers and who do you think does them well?
I admire David Yu’s ability to bring out colors out of his shots. A lot of cosplay involves color in their outfits and wigs, and I love to bring that out of a shot. OscarC also has an uncanny ability to control the lighting in his shots. I also admire Richard Bui’s ability to have the most dynamic scenes yet having the “derpiest” atmosphere on a shoot I’ve ever scene. XD
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I’ve only cosplayed twice, and only one was successful. So I don’t have intimate knowledge of the scene. Like any hobby, there’s some drama, some elitest who’d drag the hobby down, and lots of blood, sweat, and time spent into projects, but in the end, I love the community. They’ve had the most welcoming environment I’ve ever had. ^_^
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
Well the elitism leaving is always nice.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into photography?
Having the best kit (camera, lens, flashes, etc) isn’t always necessary. I see people using Point and Shoot cameras (the small ones you can fit into your pocket) to great effect. Also I’ve seen people using thousand plus dollar cameras and the accessories and taking shots even an amateur would toss. Having a decent camera helps, but it’s the shooter and his or her ability to judge when and where to shoot as well as how. Lighting is a major thing to watch out for, how the cosplayer(s) are lit up. Eventually, with lots of good practice and constructive criticism, you’ll shoot with the best of us. And as always, be courteous. Ask the cosplayer for permission. You’ll get better results and you might even get to do a photoshoot to get awesome shots.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Fanime is my first and is a favorite of mine. It was so close and had this “do whatever you want” atmosphere. Go to panels, buy stuff, concert, dance, cosplay, photograph, etc. I’ve made the most amounts of friends thanks to that con. WonderCon and San Diego Comic Con are a close second since it speaks to my inner geek. I was a sci-fi nut before I found out about Japanese Anime, so that where I go to geek out. But Fanime just has that atmosphere that allows you to relax, hang out, and have some fun looking like whoever you want.