Richard Bui is a wonderful photographer from California, who has an amazing eye for beautiful imagery!
How many years have you been into photography and what got you into cosplay photography?
I’ve been a professional wedding photographer for 4 years now.
What got me into cosplay photography was this video rental place, Japan Video & Media in San Francisco, where I used to rent tons of anime DVDs. They have this poster board of 4x6s of many cosplayers on what looks like a cosplay judging contest. It wasn’t until later I learned that very event took place in the same complex as Japan Video & Media during the Cherry Blossom Festival (CBF). I attended CBF for the very first time in 2007 and have been hooked since (Gallery here).
What regions do you usually cover, and do you charge for photoshoots? Also, how does one get in contact to shoot with you?
At the moment I’m limited to the San Francisco Bay Area (California). I commonly attend the big conventions around here such as Fanime (my favorite), WonderCon, Anime on Display, as well as the local cosplay gatherings.
I don’t charge anything for a photo shoot. My only requirement is that you must have fun.
The best way to reach us for a photo shoot is to use the form on our website.
What type of photoshoots do you prefer and why?
These days I primarily only do private photo shoots at con. It lets me craft photos that are interesting and memorable. I guest wrote a blog entry about this sometime ago here.
What is some of your favorite equipment you work with and why?
I’ll take vision and the artistic eye over equipment any day. What I typically use for cosplay photography is fairly simple, a single camera body and generally one lens and occasionally Speedlites. What I generally shoot with is the Nikon D3. I love this camera for its ability to perform in low-light situations. The lenses I’ll generally use are Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G, or the Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4D. I prefer shooting with prime lenses.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m always excited to work with cosplayers who I’ve never shot, as well as cosplayers I’ve shot many times before. Everyone is always upping their game, so it’s always exciting.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other photographers and who do you think does them well?
Sharing, being social-able, having fun, and not taking things too seriously. I think the SoCal group of photographers do this very well. The SoCal Cosplay Photographers are friends first who enjoy to hang out and shoot together. I love meeting new cosplay photographers!
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
Amazing work by so many amazing and talented artists on both sides: cosplayer and cosplay photographer.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
In the cosplay photography scene, I think photographers need to push themselves harder to craft something more than just your typical, stop them and take a snapshot. Spend a bit of time making sure you don’t have distractions in your background. Nothing ruins a great shot than a random person walking in the background of a photo. In the cosplay scene, I’ve seen some amazing stuff, but they’re still rare and far in between. I would love to see more cosplayers tackle the harder cosplays that have very elaborate costumes and/or details. I’m a sucker for details.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into photography?
Do it because you love it and follow through with unwavering passion. And don’t forget to take the lens cap off.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Fanime. I get to meet so many cosplayers and cosplay photographers from all over the U.S., as well as internationally. It’s beyond cool. I also very much enjoy WonderCon. I would love to go to Comic-Con and DragonCon one of these years.