A ReedPOP photographer will tell you how to capture the spirit of CosPlay characters.

David Lackey is a self-taught photographer of No Robots Photography. He has one of the best jobs in the world - shooting pop culture and concert photography for one of the world’s leading entertainment companies, ReedPOP. Yeah, the same guys that put on some of the best Comic-Cons and cool pop-culture shows around the world.

So, we were thrilled when David agreed to give Aurora HDR a thorough work-out to see if it could rise to his storytelling vision. Once you look at his images, we’re pretty sure you’ll agree it has met his striking challenge!

Rock the CosPlay World with Aurora HDR | Skylum Blog(2)

One of David’s primary shooting assignments with ReedPOP is to capture CosPlay characters that so often attend conventions. CosPlay is a term that has its roots in the words “costume play”. Simply put, it describes the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game. A super-fun hobby, it has probably been around as long as movies themselves!

Rock the CosPlay World with Aurora HDR | Skylum Blog(3)

His shots don’t typically have a lot of crazy post-processing, just enough. He shoots with a simple setup: a Nikon D610 and a reflector. Backgrounds, models, props and everything else are exactly what they seem - as real as the nose on your face! Make no mistakes, this is not for everyone.

Rock the CosPlay World with Aurora HDR | Skylum Blog(4)

David does his research and truly knows the characters - that helps him with scouting character-appropriate locations like a downtown or nature reserve for his subjects. It also makes it easier to pose his CosPlay friends in exactly the right way to capture their spirit of the character they are mimicking. The absolute best scenes really tell a story.

Rock the CosPlay World with Aurora HDR | Skylum Blog(5)

To deliver the coolest shots of the CosPlay characters, David often has significant challenges with lighting and composition, which can be aided by post-processing techniques in software. He tells us his editing process is pretty simple: “Shadows down, clarity up, vibrance up. Then… everything else is adjusted on an as-needed basis.”

Rock the CosPlay World with Aurora HDR | Skylum Blog(6)

Oh, and almost 100% of the time, he’ll crank the Yellow channel down. Fortunately, Aurora HDR has all the power and control he needs to achieve his visual style! By tapping into Aurora HDR’s Presets as a starting point, then selectively applying Details, controlling Top & Bottom Lighting, building up his image with multiple Layers and adding finishing touches, he’s been able to achieve some fantastic shots.

Rock the CosPlay World with Aurora HDR | Skylum Blog(7)

Each of the photos shown on this page were single RAW photos, edited exclusively in Aurora HDR running as a standalone app. “Domino” and “Spider Gwen” are CosPlayed by Ashe Lynn, while “Dr. Doom” is Joe Holmes

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