With convention season in full force and after reading some of Ashley’s great cosplayer spotlight blog posts, I thought it would be cool to talk to a cosplay photographer! To hear about what it’s like on the other side of the camera lens, I chatted with John Jiao, a photographer who frequents many of the conventions on the East Coast. Picture credits: Cyberhead Designs.
Stephanie: How did you get into cosplay photography?
John: Well, for me, cosplay photography started in the summer of 2013 when I heard from my roommates that Otakon was in town. I decided that I would go down to the harbor to take a few photos, and ended up coming back every day of the con and shooting until sundown.
Stephanie: Whoa, I remember that! I think that’s when we first met. So what do you like about cosplay photography, and how is it different from other kinds of shoots?
John: Cosplay lends itself to all sorts of styles of photography because of the huge variety of costumes on display–you can have bombastic portraits, muted somber scenes, anything that befits the character. I used to shoot a lot of engagements and weddings and they definitely started feeling very similar to each other, but cosplay photography always involves a great deal of variation.
Stephanie: Cool, I never thought about that. Out of all the cons you’ve been to, what’s your favorite con for shooting at, and why?
John: Still Otakon! Biggest and best in the mid-Atlantic. I like it for the variety in costumes, the people, the area, and especially the lighting at the venue! Could really do without the heat though.
Stephanie: True. At least there’s ice cold water for just one dollar! One last question – what’s one of your favorite shots that you’ve taken at a convention, and what about it do you like?
John: I would say my Katsucon photo of the Ryuko–it caused a bit of a stir but it’s also one of the most well-crafted costumes I have ever seen, and the lighting was phenomenal that day.
Stephanie: Yeah, that one’s really awesome! Thanks so much for your time and hopefully I’ll see you at Otakon.
Check out John Jiao’s photography page here!