TheBigTog is a talented photographer from New Jersey, who I have also yet to meet, but am enjoying all his work!
How many years have you been into photography and what got you into cosplay photography?
My dad has always had a fancy SLR camera for as long as I could remember, but I never really played with the big boy cameras until about 2006. I got into cosplay photography around 2008 as a natural progression of me shooting random stuff at conventions and having the desire to do more than what I was currently doing.
What regions do you usually cover, and do you charge for photoshoots? Also, how does one get in contact to shoot with you?
I operate primarily out of the New York City area but I can be seen in conventions in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and as of 2011, in Maryland and Virginia. I normally do not charge for photoshoots at conventions, but the thought has crossed my mind.
The best way to reach me is on deviantArt (TheBigTog) or on Cosplay.com (TheBigTog) where I will usually announce my intentions to do photoshoots at certain cons. I will be in a semi-retirement mode in 2012, so I might not be as loud as I used to be, but anyone is free to contact me if they want to shoot.
What type of photoshoots do you prefer and why?
Private location cosplay photoshoots with the ability to control my own lighting is what I love to do. Having an appropriate backdrop for different costumed characters makes the photos a bit more believable, and having the ability to control lighting can make the cosplayers stand out more or change the mood of an image. I prefer shooting solo cosplayers versus groups for the sole reason that it’s just easier for me.
What is some of your favorite equipment you work with and why?
Camera and lenses are important considerations, but the most important pieces of equipment I have are my portable flashes and any doohickey that attaches to them.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m not sure. I’m in semi-retirement with an eventual full-retirement coming around so I have nothing planned for 2012 right now. But whatever comes along, I’m sure it will be exciting.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other photographers and who do you think does them well?
A little etiquette amongst photographers would be nice, especially from the newer photographers. It drives me nuts to see a photographer take pictures during another photographer’s private photoshoot. I realize that there is this penchant by newer photographers with their big, fancy cameras (including me at one time) to shoot anything and everything, but hopefully they’ll all figure out the whole “being considerate” bit eventually.
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I’m really someone on the outside looking in at the cosplay scene, but it is what it is. It’s people dressing up as their favorite characters. There are some truly outstanding costumes out there, some of which I have had the pleasure of photographing.
And forget the whole drama thing. That’s just a natural byproduct of competition and jealousy; it happens everywhere.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
Like I said: it is what it is. I don’t see a need to change it much. But if there is one thing, it’s that I wish that some of the cosplayers who bring 6, 7, 8 or more costumes to a weekend con would take it a little easier on themselves. How are we supposed to see your costumes if you keep changing costumes every three to four hours? Plus I believe that quality ALWAYS outweighs quantity. Just saying…
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into photography?
This has probably been said before but practice, practice, practice. Learn what your photography equipment can and can’t do and develop your style within those confines. Your own style of photography will surface and it’s up to you if you want to further improve upon it or not.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
From a general fun point of view, Connecticon in Hartford, Connecticut has always been my favorite con even if I’m there all by my lonesome.
From a photography point a view, I’ve enjoyed Anime Boston because of the different backdrops that are available outside of the convention center and I haven’t utilized them all yet.