I’m Isaac. Professionally, I’m a digital marketer with a Sydney-based startup called Enboarder. On weekends (and certain weekday nights) I’ll be out and about, scouting locations in my car or on my bike, or doing shoots! I also enjoy tea a lot, so on lazy weekend afternoons, I’ll probably be at home going through my stash of teas.
What gear do you use?
I use my trusted (and long-suffering) Nikon D750, with three main lenses: Nikon’s 50mm f/1.4G, 85mm f/1.4D, and 14-24mm f/2.8G. Lighting-wise, I primarily use a Nori SquareBounce reflector. In shoots where I am setting up a lighting scenario, I’ll use a variety of Godox flashes and a evolving range of LED lights.
What type of photography are you into?
The best way to describe it is probably “environmental portraiture” but within the portraiture genre, I specialise in cosplay, concepts and also do a bit of dabbling around the edges of fashion.
How did you start photography?
Around 10 years ago, I was running around the city testing out a new camera I had gotten for an upcoming vacation when I ran into a bunch of cosplayers. I asked to take their photo – but didn’t think to ask who they were or how to get in touch with them! After I posted the photo on my blog (which was still a thing back then), one of our mutual acquaintances connected us. That’s how I dived into the world of cosplay photography. Over the years I’ve slowly improved, learned a bunch about lighting, composition, posing and set-building, and started to branch out to start shooting my own concepts and ideas.
What inspires you?
I take inspiration from a wide range of places. Art, stories, and poems. Anime and games (a given, since I shoot cosplays). Movies, theatre, music videos. Locations. The dappled light of an afternoon, the short-lived vibrance of the evening sky.
Top 3 photo locations?
I’ve been known to go on fairly long road trips for my shoots: Southern Highlands, Mt Wilson, Cockatoo Island
Top 3 photo/editing tips?
Don’t think of lighting as something you’re just illuminating the subject with. Use lighting to transform the space you’re in. Presets may be vilified by many, but they’re a valid jump-off point for a colour grade. If you’re after even more flexibility, use Profiles. But remember that they’re just a starting point and your edits should always be driven by a creative vision. Never settle for the first idea that comes into your head. Keep tossing those creative ideas around, and see what else comes.
What has been your most memorable experience?
Probably shooting in the Snowy Mountains. We hit a lucky period of time when the sky was relatively clear and we managed to get to the summit of one of the mountains and it was perfect – surreal light, the world vibrant and painfully clear. But it was so cold we had to work quickly. But still, we had some cosplayers succumb to the low temperatures. Every time we go to shoot in the snows we learn something about the importance of being prepared.
If you had superpowers, what would yours be?
For a photography-related superpower, it would be the ability to instantaneously manipulate light anywhere – place or remove light, and modify its size, direction, and colour. Imagine that, you could turn a harsh mid-day sun into beautiful golden light or into a silvery moonlit night at whim.
What have you been doing at home during this time?
During the most severe phases of the lockdown, I’ve basically been working from home and vegging out online. But with the lifting of restrictions I’ve done a bunch of location scouting, and recently restarted shooting, and so once again I have photos to post-process.