Already with a history of several years in cosplay photography, Hexlord
was amongst the first friends of Cosplay Gen
, where he kindly agreed to publish his beautiful shots since the pilot issue. Very dedicated to this hobby, to the extent of transforming the result of a mere photo-shoot into a veritable artwork, he accepted to share with our readers and fans some of his experiences as a cosplay photographer, in the interview below. For more of his cosplay photos, don’t forget to visit his deviantART page
Cosplay Gen: How did you start your activity as a cosplay photographer? Was there a special reason that influenced you to it?
Hexlord: I started off as a cosplay photographer many years ago, after attending one of the local cosplay events in Singapore, together with a few friends. Back then, the community was smaller and after meeting a couple of new cosplay friends, as well as attending a few of the shoots organized by them, I was pretty much hooked!
I felt that cosplayers deserve good photos of themselves, and that cosplay photography should be taken more seriously. So, I began my photography journey…
Cosplay Gen: From your point of view, for a good photo what would be the percentage report between professional gear and “eye”/talent? How do these aspects influence and complete each other?
Hexlord: There is no single way of making a good photo. Both aspects are equally important, as they complement each other in making a photo-shoot work. In the hands of the right person, a good camera can show better the photographer’s view and concept.
Skills and Tools. Like Yin and Yang.
Cosplay Gen: Time-wise, what does it mean to organize a photo-shoot? Can you describe a little the step-by-step process of such a meet?
Hexlord: A photo-shoot can be either a time-consuming event, or a quick and efficient one. Usually a shoot begins from the planning stage, initiated by either cosplayer(s), or photographer(s). Planning can be extensively detailed or with minimal information to go along.
Once the location has been decided, along with the date and time, all the parties involved begin their own preparations. On the day itself, there is a quick introductory session (unless everyone are friends with each other) before the shoot begins. At this point, the shoot can be a serious affair with lots of art directions and minute checking of poses, or with fun/crack and laughter. Most of the time, it is a little bit of both.
The photo-shoot will then conclude with a dinner session, although it does depend on everyone’s availability after the shoot. There are some (online) discussions over how the photos are to be sent to the respective parties and the necessary editing to be done before the photos are to be uploaded.
Cosplay Gen: As a cosplay photographer, you encountered various cosplayers. What can you tell us about the difference between cosplayers who were at a photoshoot for the first time (or working with you for the first time) and those who were already pretty much accustomed with the camera? Do you have an advice for the first category?
Hexlord: I can safely say that most of the newbie cosplayers feel awkward during their first photo-shoot, mainly because they could be unfamiliar with posing in front of a camera or working with photographers they just met at an event or cosplay forum. So there are some differences, as experienced cosplayers would know exactly what to do during the shoot itself.
My advice is to take it easy and to get feedback from the photographers involved. It would also be a good idea if you can invite another experienced cosplayer to join the shoot as a helper so that he or she can give some guidance if necessary.
Cosplay Gen: We all know that location can be a very bothersome thing when it comes to photoshooting, and that proper spaces that would fit for a certain series are not always available. As a photographer, have you ever been in need of improvising a background? Can you provide some tips for that?
I have encountered quite a number of situations where a suitable location was hard to come by. I dealt with this in two different manners;
1) Research online (Flickr is your friend) to find places which have a close approximation to the feel of the series.
2) Creating a suitable background at home using cloth and other suitable props/materials. Do remember to remove all the distractions from the setup.
Another alternative would be to rent a studio. You can check out your local directories to see if there are any studios that provide great looking backgrounds at a decent cost.
Cosplay Gen: There are certainly cases when, during a photoshoot, the cosplayers find it difficult to pose properly. Posing-wise, what is your advice for any cosplayer participating in a photoshoot?
Hexlord: The first advice I would give is for the cosplayer to relax. Don’t worry, the camera’s not going to eat you up.
Usually, what a cosplayer can do to pose better is to look at the art reference from the series and to discuss on the poses with the photographer. Sometimes photographers can offer their feedback, especially if they have worked with cosplayers before or have some experience in other photoshoots.
Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to try out a few poses during the shoot, you can always pick the best one out of the lot!
Cosplay Gen: What can you tell us about your time at CLAS:H, where you had the chance to meet some pretty famous cosplayers?
Hexlord: I had a great time at CLAS:H because of its focus on stage performances and cosplay competition. It is an eye opener because the presentation is very different from the ones I have seen in a few other countries in this region.
The famous cosplayers are mostly familiar to me. I had first met with Pinky Lu Xun and OrochiX a few years ago when they wanted me to take photos of Orochi’s Soul Calibur IV cosplay. I also got to know Alodia during AFA 2009 via a few mutual friends. Although Naoki (Thailand) had known of my works for a while now, it was only during CLAS:H when we met in person. Richfield Edbert, who represented Indonesia during AFA 2010 together with Su Gwan as GARO cosplayers, also introduced me to Mark Musashi, a well-known actor and stuntman from the GARO television series. Finally, I was introduced to Kaname (Japan) and he proved to be a friendly, down to earth dude.
To say that I am excited to meet them is an understatement. I had the pleasure of working with some of them during a few photoshoots in Indonesia, and I hope to meet them again in the near future.
Cosplay Gen: Can you recount one of your most beautiful experiences as a cosplay photographer?
Hexlord: I think, after all these years, the one that left the most powerful impression on me was the fact that my photography inspired a cosplayer to decide against quitting the hobby and to strive on to improve herself.
That made my efforts worthwhile, and kept me going through all the ups and downs of my photography journey.
Cosplay Gen: Where do you see yourself as a cosplay photographer on the long run?
Hexlord: On the long run, I hope to travel around the world to attend conventions and to make new friends. I think cosplay is viewed differently in every country, and I would love to see how that is so!
Also, I hope to change the perception of the hobby by the general public via my photography. I wish to present to the world the best elements of cosplay, visuals or otherwise, and to that end I have started to diversify into other photography fields in order to improve myself as a photographer.
It may not be something that can be improved on overnight, but it is something that I wish to commit to as long as possible.