Name: Jeff Jenkins
Location: Nashville, TN (Originally from Central Florida)
Social Media Handles & Any Links:
What Is Your Current or Favorite Gear To Use?
I am currently a Sony mirrorless photographer, now shooting on the A7R IV, most of my work is shot on my go-to lens, the Sony G-Master 85mm f1.4. Such a beautiful bokeh with that lens and an all-around perfect lens for portraits.
How Did You First Get Into Photography?
I have always enjoyed taking photos on my phone and earlier with cheap point-and-shoot cameras, but never really got into photography until one day back in 2017. We had a pet photographer come out to our house and take photos of my wife and me with our three pups. The service cost us a few hundred dollars just for the shoot, without getting any photos back, that was an extra cost. So I figured, I’ll take a few hundred dollars during a Black Friday deal and get a camera and take our own photos from there on out. I picked up a kit Nikon camera that came with two lenses and I immediately fell in love with learning all about it! I then began doing shoots for neighbors in our area in Florida and found out quickly that I could start doing that work on the side for a little extra money here and there.
How Did You Start Doing Cosplay Photography?
My entrance into cosplay photography didn’t come until later that year at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, FL where I decided to go and take my camera along for the ride to document the convention (my first ever convention). From there I fell into cosplay photography as a niche based on my love for all of the fandoms and also the area I was in, the surrounding areas around Orlando are full of cosplayers. I have made so many amazing friends from my journey into it. I was truly sad when we decided to take a job offer I received to move to the Nashville, TN area, and I had to part with seeing them frequently.
Where Do You Get Your Inspiration For These Different Photoshoots?
Mostly I gain inspiration from the fandoms. When I coordinate a shoot with someone and we discuss the cosplay that we will be shooting, I begin my research. I watch movies/tv shows and check the character-relevant hashtags. Pinterest is a wonderful reference tool as well!
How Long Does It Take You From Start To Finish To Complete A Shoot?
Most of my coordinated shoots outside of conventions are about 1-2 hours, with editing taking about a week or two before getting the photos back to them for posting. At a convention, like the upcoming Megacon Orlando in August where I will have a guest booth and be the official red carpet photographer for FanExpo/Megacon. The shoots will last about 15-20 minutes and those photos will get sent their way a few weeks after I arrive back home from the weekend and recover.
What Has Been Your Favorite Convention So Far?
I must go with DragonCon in Atlanta! That’s the largest and most fun convention I have ever been to, and I highly recommend it to anyone that is able to make it down there. The entire downtown area is taken over by cosplayers and most of your favorite cosplayers from around the world come into town for it! My first DragonCon, as well as my only DragonCon, was in 2019. Myself and a few of my friends who are also cosplay photographers, set up on the outside patio at the Hilton and did shoots all weekend long. We only broke to get food/drinks or maybe skip over to the park downtown for a different background and to meet up with other cosplayers. I will be returning to DragonCon in 2022!
How Does Cosplay Photography Different From Other Photography Shoots?
Other photo shoots are quite different. Cosplay shoots allow for so many different ideas with weapons or props, jumping, or character posing shots. The ideas can be almost endless if you’re at a great location, with other places you can walk to and incorporate structures and other types of vibes.
How Is It The Same?
All shoots are organized and coordinated. I make sure that the person I am working with is informed and knows what to expect while working with me. I always encourage them to bring someone along, especially if it’s our first time shooting together. It just adds to the comfort level, and plus, sometimes I get a free lighting assistant out of it!
What Has Been Your Favorite Cosplay Photo Session You’ve Done So Far?
Currently, my favorite session is a tie between a four-hour shoot I coordinated with a wonderful cosplayer (@ann_mossy), working through three cosplays with them and capturing some truly beautiful images. The other shoot I would bring up is a DC-based shoot with a group of amazing cosplayers and friends. For my Dream Cosplay Shoot, I would love to be part of an all-out Viking cosplay shoot, in reference to the game Assassins Creed Valhalla in a waterfall park area with large stones and moss-covered trees.
What Is Your Best Advice for Cosplayers When Doing A Photoshoot?
Be sure to scout out a photographer that has a style you want to work with, instead of hoping for something different. Each photographer has their own style of lighting and editing, and that is an extension of their branding. Also, if working with a photographer for the first time, be sure to reach out to some people they have worked with before and get a review of the photographer. It’s always a good idea to do your due diligence and be safe.
What Is Your Best Advice For A New Photographer?
Be respectful and professional. Learn and hone your craft. Shoot as much as you can, and be open to work with who you can in your area. Your early work will be just that, “early work” and using what you learn from those shoots you will only get better and better. Know your equipment and learn to get off of auto with your camera. Learning how to control light is probably one of the biggest milestones you can aim for. Once you know how to work with lighting, you will be unstoppable!
Are You Currently Accepting New Clients Or Projects Right Now? If So, How Can People Get In Contact With You?
I am! I’m always looking to work with new people. You can always reach me thru Instagram (@jeffjenkinsphotography) or thru my contact form on my website! I welcome everyone to follow me and stay in touch, I will be traveling to conventions all around the country as the events start popping back up again! So excited to get back to meeting all of the amazing people in this community!!
Taken from interview on The Game of Nerds fandom website