Donna Lleces is a talented photographer from Virginia, who has a great eye to capture some unique and beautiful images!
How many years have you been into photography and what got you into cosplay photography?
I’ve been into photography since a young age, when I got my first 35mm camera from my parents. I didn’t actually start taking it seriously until I graduated from high school, though. As for cosplay, I’ve always enjoyed seeing everyone’s cosplays whenever I went to conventions. It’s always fascinating to be able to see what cosplays people can come up with and the whole process of how they make their cosplays. The major thing that got me into cosplay photography was when I first started doing private cosplay sessions for a few friends.
What regions do you usually cover, and do you charge for photoshoots? Also, how does one get in contact to shoot with you?
I’d have to say the only conventions I can usually only attend are mainly Nekocon, Otakon, Katsu, and sometimes Animazement. My work doesn’t otherwise permit me to travel a lot, so I really only go to those four whenever I can. I do not charge for cosplay shoots, mainly because when I do them I’m asking the cosplayer themselves and it is something I highly enjoy doing. For private sessions or just shoots at conventions it’s possible to reach me through e-mail or my facebook.
What type of photoshoots do you prefer and why?
I love to do more private shoots with cosplayers… one-on-one. I feel as if the cosplayer themselves can actually get more into their character and use their surroundings better this way.
What is some of your favorite equipment you work with and why?
Right now what I use for most of my shoots is my Nikon D80. I don’t really like to use an external flash; I feel like the more natural the lighting is in the pictures, the better. At times it can be hard to work with, but I mostly use the wide angle lens that came with my camera.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m hoping to become a photographer for a few local conventions, if possible. Other than that I’ve mainly been working on traditional art and trying to get back into film photography when I have the time.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other photographers and who do you think does them well?
I love being able to see photographers go about their work differently. I usually don’t like seeing the same thing done repeatedly. I love when photographers do video and at the same time photograph, it’s amazing. I’ve had the chance to be able to meet so many amazing photographers at conventions. I think the photographers who can take their work seriously, but at the same time are able to have fun are great at what they do. I also enjoy seeing photographers incorporate their own styles in their pictures; those who can use different perspectives and scenarios and actually be able to bring the characters to life through their pictures alone are simply amazing.
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I really think it would be amazing to be able to actually bring the “cosplay scene” out more. I honestly think it doesn’t get recognized enough. It’s definitely different, but I think it would be even better if people outside of conventions would be able to take cosplay as something new to the photography world and be able to open up to the idea more. Over the years it has definitely been growing, though, and that makes me incredibly happy.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I would absolutely love to see more cosplays that no one has ever done before. I want to be able to see the hard work that people put into their cosplays. I also want to see people enjoy themselves instead of taking it so seriously.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into photography?
Try not to take it so seriously. Enjoy every minute that you put into your work. Practice at everything, whenever you can. Also, try taking pictures of everything, not just things you enjoy. It really helps you out in the long run because it gives you more experience and different perspectives and in the future it’ll help you no matter what you end up doing.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I love the larger conventions, such as Otakon and Katsucon, simply because they have a wider range of cosplayers. Every year I go to them, they never cease to amaze me; there is always something new to capture and I just love them. They have great people and crowds over all.