Today, I’m super happy to bring you a new Artist Spotlight, one super talented photographer – Soul-Drive Photography! Since 2009, Soul-Drive has built an impressive gallery of Cosplay Photography. With a keen sense of attention on dramatic lighting and subject focus, Soul-Drive has a wickedly acute ability to make his subjects pop out from the backgrounds creating immersive portrait images that near literally bring characters off of the screen into real life.
Working with cosplayers ranging from anime to comic books, in dark cityscapes to underwater escapes, Soul-Drive is always willing to do the work to get that perfect shot in the perfect location with the best lighting. But more than that, Soul-Drive Photography makes the whole experience fun and collaborative – working well with his models to make sure they’re able to create something spectacular.
I was happy to get the chance to chat with Soul-Drive regarding his work and what got him interested in photography. When asked what got him started, Soul-Drive relayed, “[It was during] 2009 [in my] fall semester during college. My major was Information Technology, but I had to pick a concentration — it was either Information Security, Multimedia, or Database Administration [and] I ended up choosing Multimedia. I chose Fine Arts for minor electives since it went well with my major. I felt that photography is something I could be good at, so there it was. It was a 3-day-a-week class, it didn’t teach me much except on how to hold a camera and some very basic composition. I ended up learning on my own for the past ten years.”
In ten years, Soul-Drive has gone to dozens of events and conventions as well as numerous location shoots to get some truly epic results. Speaking about his work flow and what equipment he prefers, Soul-Drive remarked, “Keep in mind that the majority of my subjects are portrait shoots, so equipment may vary. My go-to are the following: Nikon D850, Sigma ART 85mm f/1.4, Flashpoint/Godox transmitter/receiver, Westcott Rapidbox 26″, a couple of Flashpoint/Godox strobes/flashes, and Lumopro collapsible lightstands.”
Continuing to discuss post-production processes, he said, “My workflow is simple — import to Lightroom, apply presets (SLRLounge presets are great), retouch a few things here and there in PS, apply PerfectlyClear plugin, save, export.”
Sounds easy when said like that, but there’s so much more work that goes into it, especially with lighting. Soul-Drive adds, “Sunset/golden hour are my primary. I love chasing available lights when possible, but I’m ready for pretty much any environment with just one or two lights.” His favorite type of photography is “Location shoots — nothing beats that.”
His images back him up and the results speak for themselves. Check out some of Soul-Drive’s work below!
You can check out his work and reach out to him on his Facebook page here
(Soul-Drive currently works on request):
In addition to doing shoots with his friends for practice, Soul-Drive continues to challenge himself as a photographer as well by “Doing…different things from others. Underwater, drone photography — I want to do more of those. Pet photography is something I have not done, but I’d love to try.” It’s one of the many reasons shooting with Soul-Drive can be so epic and fun – because he’s always up for using new, unique, and striking techniques.
The thing that makes Soul-Drive Photography stand out the most to me is the amazing amount of effort put into his work to create a sense of fantasy. When asked about his favorite thing about photography, Soul-Drive answers, “Photography is a creative outlet for me. It’s my escape from the usual 9-5.”
And outside of that usual 9-5, with his work, he helps the rest of us escape into his images too. So be sure to check out the rest of Soul-Drive Photography’s work! Maybe he’ll be at a convention near you!