CosplayPro: Hello to the Bui team, and thank you for agreeing to the interview! Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and your work?
Bui: Bui Photography is a team of four photographers: Rendy Lai, Eric Lee, Lynn Truong, and myself. We are professional wedding photographers, who also happen to enjoy Japanese Anime and also cosplay by extension. Cosplay photography allows us to appreciate the amazing artists who spend countless of hours crafting their amazing outfits and it also let us practice different photography techniques.
CosplayPro: There’s a lot of cosplay photographers out there. What makes Bui different?
Bui: 90% of the photographers that attend the cosplay cons or what not are mainly their for con-coverage or hallway shots. The other 10% do private shoots. We fall into the 10% group, but also what makes us different from our peers is the approach to our photography.
CosplayPro: Can you go into your approach?
Bui: We like to push the envelope and use elements that other cosplay photographers might not use or even consider. Plus having watched numerous animes, we draw on knowledge from a majority of the series or movies and consider poses that fit that character.
In this shot, I was looking for something that would really fit this cosplayer’s character, Brena from Macross Frontier, so getting him to stand on this really high ledge and shooting him with the hotel really makes you feel like a shot right out of Macross Frontier.
CosplayPro: You shoot weddings and cosplay. Do you think it is easy for a skilled cosplay photographer to transition into other forms of photography like wedding photography?
Bui: Sure, a skilled photographer is a skilled photographer. But there’s a caveat. A photographer can be skilled in one aspect of photography, say sports photography, can do fairly well at wedding photography because like sports photography, there’s timing involved. But a fashion portrait photography might not do as well as a wedding photographer because they may not be used to the fast paced, ever changing pace of a wedding. That’s not to say there aren’t killer “shoot-everything” photographers, I just can’t name anyone. Look at all the major rock-star photographers. Have you ever seen Annie Leibovitz shoot a wedding? Do you see Joe Buissink do sports photography?
CosplayPro: I agree. Speaking of other forms of photography and cosplay, do you think cosplay photography will start to gain popularity?
Bui: I think it certainly has grown in popularity. I think it will continue to grow as the amount of con attendees have been steadily increasing.
CosplayPro: Gotta agree there too. I see a rise in cosplay popularity. Con attendances have been increasing more and more. Otakon every year goes up, with this one closing in on 30,000 people. Will you be attending any cons this year?
Bui: At the moment, no, but there is a Norcal Gathering that is taking place later this year that we might be going to. Details: http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=216160
CosplayPro: If you were at a con, how do you go about getting photos? Stick to the photoshoot schedule or do it your own way?
Bui: The last two major cons, we’ve had interested cosplayers sign-up via our special cosplay site, http://cosplay.buiphotography.com, and that has worked really well because it allows us to know the characters that the cosplayer will be selecting as well as figure out where we’re going to be shooting. That has been quite successful as all the available slots have always filled up with a waiting list. It’s great because we know what to expect when.
CosplayPro: A con is a busy and hectic place. Is scheduling photoshoots hard?
Bui: In all the time we’ve been doing scheduled private photoshoots, we’ve only had 1 no-show. Next cons, we will be severely limiting our scheduled private photoshoots and doing more walking around and randomly asking people if they want to do a photoshoot with us. Something more dynamic and keeps things interesting.
CosplayPro: For all the other photographers out there, what kind of equipment do you use?
Bui: It really depends. As wedding photographers, we have a plethora of equipment: 12 professional grade cameras, 14 professional lenses, loads of reflectors and diffusers, tons of flashes, and etc. Alot of the stuff is mainly backup, as we don’t chance anything.
For cosplay photography, our gear is very simplified. I tend to shoot with 1 camera, my Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II usually with my Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM prime lens and sometimes my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM. But our gear choice is heavily determined by our location, the look we’re trying to achieve, and etc. But one thing is certain, we always travel with reflectors, diffusers, and flashes. We’re big Strobist and lighting photographers
CosplayPro: Your favorite photoshoot of yours?
Bui: You know, each and every one of the photoshoots we’ve done have been fun in some different way. I think it’s because we have so much fun with our friends that they’re all our favorites. You can see our behind the scene videos: http://www.youtube.com/buiphotography.
CosplayPro: Who are some of your favorite cosplayers to take photos with? Why?
Bui: Oh man. Our favorite cosplayers are all the ones we’ve shot with. Seriously. We have so much fun, it’s just great. I don’t want to name the cosplayers and accidentally leave someone out and they get offended thinking we don’t like working with them, so I think it’s better that we leave it as is.
CosplayPro: Thank you for the interview! It was great learning about the work your team does. It all looks fantastic!
Bui: Thank you!
Thanks to Bui Photography for the CosplayPro interview!
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