Already very well known in the worldwide cosplay community, Shiro Ang
is also one of the first friends of Cosplay Gen
, having its photos published in each issue. Never ceasing to amaze through his beautiful portraits and stills, he is also the no.1 contributor
on Cosplay Gen group
, submitting his wonderful works for the view of as many cosplay fans as possible. Very talented not only as a cosplay photographer, but also as a photographer as such, Shiro
was kind enough to reveal some of his opinions regarding cosplay photography for our readers, in the interview below.
Cosplay Gen: First of all, in a few words, what is your story as a cosplay photographer?
Shiro Ang: I attended my first ever Cosfest back in 2004, which was the kick-start for my interest in shooting cosplay and my love for photography.
Cosplay Gen: In your opinion, what are the main differences between a private photoshoot and a convention photoshoot? Do you particularly prefer one of them?
Shiro Ang: In a private photoshoot, you are able to plan and discuss in advance with the cosplayer (and the team), to choose the most suitable location and time for the series (also the light if it’s an outdoor shoot), the overall feel of the shoot, what each other wants to achieve from the shoot. In short, we are in control of most of the factors, other than weather and (bad) luck.
Whereas for a convention photoshoot, the best we can do is to scout and use the most suitable location (for the series) around the convention area, but be prepared for a wall of photographers crashing in your shoot, or security officers chasing the team away, and whatnots. I definitely prefer private photoshoots. To me, conventions are more of a going to catch up with friends and getting into the convention fun.
Cosplay Gen: You specialized mainly in portrait photography. What do you consider the most attractive element in cosplay portrait photography that differentiates it from the other types of cosplay photography?
Shiro Ang: My main concern is focusing on expressions and emotions, which revolves mainly on the eyes, lips, facial contour, and body language. But recently, I’m learning to shoot so that to get the sort of a “movie poster” style, which I want to incorporate in my main shooting style, along with a good background or surrounding/objects, to get the “correct” atmosphere feel and aura for the shot.
Cosplay Gen: What is your favourite tool of trade? If you were to give a piece of advice regarding the equipment, what would be the “ideal set”?
Shiro Ang: For cosplay photography, my favourite would be the 85mm f/1.4 lens; it’s just plain beautiful, in colours, bokeh, isolation, and the overall feel of it. But nowadays, I don’t just stick to one lens; I use anything from 24mm-200mm, depending on the image I want to achieve.
Understand your own equipment well, know its strengths and weaknesses then go out and shoot more. Having better equipment doesn’t make you a good photographer; it just makes taking a good photo much easier.
Cosplay Gen: How do you think a cosplayer could reach a “perfect pose”? Can you give some piece of advice regarding posing in a photoshoot?
Shiro Ang: Research and know well the character he/she is going to cosplay. Think, feel, and portray out what the character would do in real life, especially regarding the expressions and emotions. Poses-wise, it’s possible to practice at home.
Cosplay Gen: How important do you think it is the post-processing for a photo? Is there the risk to make the photo and the cosplayer look too artificial and unreal? What would be your recommendations for post-processing?
Shiro Ang: Very important, even a little editing goes a long way to help in enhancing the image.
My usual post-processing will be more on the technical aspect, like colours, contrast, light/darkness, to fit the overall feel. I work only minimally on the retouching aspect.
But I believe in getting the most of the shot on the spot (during the shoot). Rather than salvage the image in post-processing, it’s more of an enhancing the image in post-processing.
Cosplay Gen: What do you think it is the most difficult element in a photoshoot and how do you think it can be surpassed?
Shiro Ang: Getting the best out of each other (photographer and cosplayer), the relationship and connection.
On the long run, collaborating with the same cosplayer surely helps. But in my opinion, it varies from one person to another. The best scenario would be when both the photographer, and the cosplayer’s personality, ideas, and style complement each other.
Cosplay Gen: If a novice photographer would come to you with the intention of approaching cosplay photography, what would be the first thing you’d tell him/her?
Shiro Ang: Do read up/watch the series to understand the character and series, and have a discussion with the cosplayer before the shoot.