Exclusive: It’s entirely possible to become a self-taught master of cosplay photography, as proven by Shunsuke

“Imagination is the beginning of creation.”

Cosplay King Shunsuke is a man of many talents. He is a cosplayer, model, craftsman, artist, entrepreneur and influencer.

But perhaps most uniquely, Shun is also a self-taught professional cosplay photographer – the same person in front of and behind the camera.

Cosplay photography experience is something many cosplayers seek. After all, they invest many hours crafting their costumes, armor, and weapons while also perfecting their makeup, and high-quality photos are the best way to showcase their work to the world.

They usually tag and credit the talented photographers behind their photoshoots, but Shunsuke never has to do that. He developed both of these complementary skills when he was much younger and had actually taken up photography before cosplay even came into the picture, he told ONE Esports in an exclusive interview.

How Shunsuke got into photography in the first place

Credit: Shunsuke

Shunsuke started photography when he was very young, only 11 years old. Though he can’t remember exactly what piqued his interest, he recalls practicing taking photos of his friends and sister with a “really old, small screen, tiny camera.”

When he was about 13 or 14, he got a SLR, a Canon EOS 600D, the cheapest semi-professional camera he could find at the time.

It wasn’t until he turned 15 that he started cosplaying with his childhood friend to create a bond between them. Coming from a small village in Switzerland, nobody had heard the term “cosplay” before, so out of necessity he took her cosplay photos.

“When I was younger and just starting to cosplay, I had so much motivation, so I created a lot,” Shunsuke explained to ONE Esports. “It was handy that I could take my own photos instead of planning it with someone else.”

This year he occasionally asked for help from his Tier One cosplayer Knite while they were in London, but a lot of his work is still self-made.

“I always end up taking my own photos because that’s how I feel most comfortable,” he said.

How Shunsuke’s positivity helped him master cosplay photography

Shunsuke's original Reinaissance-themed photo shoot
Credit: Shunsuke

“I think my photography style makes my cosplay more recognizable,” said Shun, who taught himself everything he knows about photography.

He also believes his brand will be further accentuated by “accurate but still very realistic” cosplays as he puts effort into transforming these characters from 2D to 3D. All of his wigs, for example, are human hair and not synthetic.

Shunsuke is particularly proud of his Giorno Giovanni cosplay from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, which underscores his distinct cosplay and photography style. “The overall shape is really accurate, the hair color, the fabrics have all the details that look more realistic and not so cartoony,” he said.

Inspired by nude sculptures in classical art, he also paid particular attention to the lighting in this photoshoot, which bears similarities to his Renaissance-themed shoot, his second favorite set.

Despite achieving such high standards in cosplay and photography, Shunsuke believes there is still more to learn. He can see how much he’s improved just by looking at photos taken three or four years ago.

Shunsuke's original Reinaissance-themed photo shoot
Credit: Shunsuke

“I can still improve and I’m trying. The way I worked on my skin was horrible and I really learned to make it more natural,” he shared. “I’ve improved and kept things professional and polished.”

Still, the self-made journey of a professional cosplayer and photographer, despite their achievements, doesn’t always go smoothly. While the countless photo shoots over the years have certainly helped him hone his craft, it’s also a challenge to “try to be creative and do something different every time.”

“I try to find new and interesting lighting, angles and poses, try not to repeat what I already know, and push myself out of my comfort zone… I’m generally very happy with my lighting and photography skills. The technique I struggle with is more on the creative side of things,” he said.

Keep following Shunsuke Twitter (@Shunsukecos) and Instagram (@shuncoser) to support his work.

READ MORE: Exclusive: Even after a decade in the industry, Knite still lives by those cosplay ideals

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