I first met Jay Vergara through my work with Nerd Out back in August of 2016. He is a Freelance Writer & Photographer known as Medium Blast. Working with Nerd Out placed me at a lot of different comic book conventions across Southern California. Jay’s love of pop culture had him placed at these conventions as well. He had just started getting into cosplay photography when we met and he was unstoppable. He was passionate about his craft. That passion was well reflected in his photography. His photos have a very raw and real feeling to them. They look more like pieces of art you would see in a fashion or photography magazine. He has a way of making even the most boring of convention center backdrops seem beautiful.
Your story, tell us about yourself.
There’s not a lot to tell. My name’s Jay and I do photography as a hobby. More of an escape, to be honest. I only started photography back in June of 2016 and back then I went to as many conventions as I could. I don’t have that kind of financial flexibility anymore so I’m pretty much sticking to SoCal cons that are close to Los Angeles and also cosplay gatherings.
How long have you been interested in photography?
I’ve only been really keen on photography for about a year. I picked up my first DSLR during the tail end of 2015 and it’s still the same camera I’m using right now. I attended my first convention in June of 2016 and everything is history from there.
How long have you been interested in cosplay photography?
Same time as everything else which is about a year.
What got you started in cosplay photography?
I got started out of the blue. Last year I decided that I’d like to go to conventions again. I didn’t really know anyone and none of my friends at the time really did that anymore but for some reason I had this urge to go. I bought tickets to LA Cosplay Convention on a whim and just went to meet people and take pictures. After that I went to AX and I was pretty much hooked from there. I’ll be honest, the photos I took were absolute trash but I was having fun and that’s what’s important. I got hooked from there though and wanted to improve and learn more about photography so I could take better pictures of cosplay.
Is there any kind of equipment that you prefer to use when shooting cosplay?
I have no real preference. I could only afford my Canon Rebel T5 and the only lens I own is a f/1.4 50mm prime that a very good friend gave me as a replacement for my 1.8. That’s all I own so I do my best with what I have.
Is there a particular kind of cosplay/cosplayer you like to shoot?
I like more casual cosplays. I gravitate to stuff like Life is Strange, The Last Of Us, Jessica Jones and stuff like that.
What is a cosplay photo shoot like for you? What do you try to get out of your photo shoots?
Cosplay shoots for me are pretty low stress affairs. For the most part it’s just me hanging out with a friend and taking some pictures along the way. I do want to try to make sure I nail the photos and convey a story in each shot. Other than that, I’m not an elaborate planner. It’s all for fun at this point.
What are your feelings about convention photography? What is your approach to it?
Convention photography for me is fine. I’m always outside at cons shooting. I’m absolute garbage at shooting on the floor and I have no shame admitting that so I just stay outside. Depending on the convention center you can get good photos. If the cosplayer is willing to take a little field trip, you can get even better ones.
Do you have any favorite photos from your collection?
Nothing in particular stands out. If you ask anyone that knows me, I have a pretty low opinion of my own work sometimes especially if enough time passes lol
Do you do other types of photography?
Right now my main focus is fashion and lifestyle photography. I’ve actually moved away from cosplay photography as a whole and explored other things. I still shoot every now and again but I’m a lot more chill about it. I don’t book shoots ahead of time. I just come, sit down, play some music and have a good time.
What do you hope for the future of cosplay photography?
A lot of photographers are really elevating their craft and portraying cosplay in such amazing ways. I hope that trend continues and people just keep bringing new and fresh ways of representing an awesome art form like cosplay.
What new things can we hope to see from you in the coming year?
A healthy amount of weird stuff.
Advice for new photographers out there?
Youtube is you friend. Watch enough tutorials to get to know your equipment and your software. After that, you should probably watch some more for kicks. Also, shoot a lot and edit often. The only reason someone like me managed to bludgeon his way through photography enough to look like I somewhat know what I’m doing is because I shoot a lot. For every one photo I post, I probably took 20. Get in a lot of practice, shoot often, learn from each shoot and try to do something different each time even if it’s something only you’d notice. To the best of your ability always try something new whether it’s a new shooting or editing technique. Try new stuff and keep doing the thing.
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