Happy Cinco de Mayo! It has been a hot minute. This week I’m very excited to finally have a feature on my good friend John, COTC Photography. He has been very patient with me over the past month because I just have had a lot going on and haven’t felt in the right place to blog. The great thing about the cosplay world is that you make connections that actually matter, and I’m very grateful to have made John’s acquaintance several years ago. Keep reading to find out what a great photographer and all around guy he is!
What is your photography name? COTC (Cosplayers Of The Carolinas) Photography
What is your name? John Spectre (pseudonym) and it sounds cooler
What do you do when you do when you aren’t behind the lens? Cooking and IT (real job), not in that order.
How old are you? 49
When did you first decide to become a photographer? I decided to be a Cosplay Photographer in 2014 when I started attending all the cosplay events between GA, NC, and SC. Besides, how cool is Cosplay! I just wanted a way to show people what Cosplayers were doing here in the Carolinas! Hence the photography name. It’s never been about me the photographer but the cosplayers. It’s my way of giving back to the Cosplay community for all the hard work that they put into their Cosplay. Why not have a few good pics for all the effort that went into it?
What made you want to be a photographer? Creative outlet and I needed a hobby.
Tell us about your photography style. Creative Portraiture
Your photography style has been evolving. Tell us about the evolution of your style. I’ve always enjoyed portrait photography. Started with getting everything exposed based on what my camera light meter tells me. A little Photoshop because my Photoshop skills were basic. Now, all pics are heavily Photoshopped (probably more than they should be). Personally trying to improve my skin processing so that they look naturally perfect with no blemishes and similar color tone. If you can’t tell I photoshopped, then objective achieved. In reality, I lean toward the porcelain skin look as it fits better with Cosplay. Still need help with hair but I’ll work on that next year.
What is your weapon/camera of choice? I would not recommend my gear as starter gear unless you are getting paid or independently wealthy. I’m not getting paid and I’m not independently wealthy. I have a Nikon D800 and my preferred lens is my Nikkor 80-200 F2.8 (weighs a ton (joking but it is heavy)). My combo takes pictures that are too detailed. Sometimes you just don’t want to see the booger in someone’s nose when you zoom into the picture. Hence why I often have to post process my pics. I have to tone down the skin pores or remove stray hairs (often from areas that people don’t think the camera can pick up). Yes, I may be 15 feet away, but in the photo I can zoom into your nose hairs.
What is your favorite cosplay photograph you have taken? Explain. I don’t have a favorite. The ones I favor are the ones Cosplayers get the most attention, because that tells me we captured something that people find interesting enough to react.
What is your favorite photograph (doesn’t have to be cosplay) you have ever taken? Explain. I don’t have a favorite but my favorite photos are derp pics while doing exposure shots. Please! Derp when I’m doing exposure shots with you! I’ve missed a few good derps due to really bad exposures but I can usually salvage a few good ones. It lightens the mood and I think everyone enjoys them. I know I do.
What is your biggest challenge as a photographer? Improving! As a photographer, you’re always seeing what is out there and you want to do what others are doing but there is no clear guidance on how to get there. Yes, you could spend tons of money to learn from one person, but what about the next. Photography is not hard. Creating something that you feel good about is hard, especially if you are your own worst critic.
What is your dream cosplay photoshoot? Dream locations: Japan, New Zealand or Greenland. Cosplay? Any Cosplay that would have those locations as backdrops.
What kind of opportunities would you like to accomplish in the next year as a photographer? Get published and do more personal work for photography competitions for portraiture from legitimate photography competitions.
Who are the biggest inspirations/influencers in your photography? For Cosplay Photography, HUGE Shout Out to PhotoNXS! When I moved to North Carolina, Jayce had all the cool pics with really amazing cosplayers. He was and is the level I’d like to get to. I’ve appreciated his advice and time hanging out at conventions. He’s not just another fellow photographer but I consider him a friend.
What is the best advice you have for models as a photographer? Relax, be yourself and when in cosplay, be your character! Know your poses as I’m terrible as posing people. If you don’t know your poses, have reference photos, then you and the photographer can work together to get your shot. Derp as much as possible and most importantly, have fun! It’s just a photo.
What is the best advice you have for aspiring photographers? This one is easy. Be polite and always ask before taking a pic. Not everyone will say yes but that was usually because they were in another shoot or they were too busy. Don’t compare your photos with others as people always want their pics, no matter if you’re just starting or have been doing it a while. Variety is the spice of life and everyone has a different perspective. Constantly learn! I can’t improve if I’m not learning.
Anything else you’d like to add? Have fun!
If you want to see more of John’s work make sure to check out his social media below. You can expect to see more collaborations from the two of us in the future. BIG IDEAS. Leave a comment, and don’t forget to subscribe via Bloglovin’ or email to never miss a post!