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Jamie · Updated Sep 27, 2014 · Spotlight

Spotlight: SoulCrash Ron

AnimeChicago’s Spotlight interview series highlights local organization leaders, artists and personalities. Meet Ron Ladao, best known as SoulCrash Ron, veteran cosplay photographer based in the Chicagoland area.

AC: What inspired you to pick up a camera? Did it coincide with an interest in cosplay?
RL: It all started with the car club that I used to be with. I was their “media” expert since I know about media editing. But I was lacking a DSLR camera, so I bought a Nikon D60 out of impulse, without doing proper research on DSLR cameras. Then I just hanged with the local cosplayers that I know from my area. Took a few shots of them in various conditions, then gotten curious on how to improve my shots with the current gear that I had at the time. In other words… It sort of coincided with my interest with cosplay, but that’s not how I gotten my start in photography.

AC: What is Chicago’s cosplay photography scene like? Any friendly rivalries or collaboration?
RL: From how I see things, looks like we’re pretty tight… We talk to one another, give tips on intel that could be useful in the future. Like camera gear info, supplies, deals, tech, etc. Usually Scott Waldron keeps better tabs on the photographers in the scene than I do. I’m just another photographer that other photographers ask for advice when needed… ._.

AC: What kind of camera equipment do you favor nowadays?
RL: The ones that I favor the most is the one that can help get the job done, with great quality results and without breaking the budget. Right now, I’ll use a Canon 7D & 60D, because it can record video when things get a bit too hot that I have to get video at any given moment. While I use the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 for hallway shots, Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 for wider shots, and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 when I need more light / bokeh photo shoot shots. For photoshoots, it varies, if I gotta run and gun I gotta use the Canon 580exII with Yongnuo yn-622c flash trigger attachment. If I’m outdoors with overpowering sun or wanna be different in my shots, I’ll use the AlienBee B800 flash strobe with Pocketwizard flash trigger attachment with a 24″ softbox.

AC: What’s your favorite photo session to date?
RL: This was a tough one to think of. So my answer have to go to KollisionCon 2012. Most of the time, I’m a candid photographer on the con floor, taking pics of stuff that happens at the con. The whole con for me was one massive photoshoot. I got a good amount of locals for me to shoot on, and I did something that not many photographers do on the con floor. I have a secondary person to carry a studio strobe flash with softbox around the con. The results sure made a difference from the other photographer pics from the con floor that weekend.

AC: Do you have advice for con-goers looking to take better cosplay photos?
RL: Camera & gear/mods are only as good as the person who knows how to use it, and understands the “photo science.”

AC: Where can readers view your work and con schedule?
For pics: flickr.com/photos/rladao
The Portfolio: thesoulcrash.deviantart.com
Me talking about cons & con schedule: facebook.com/soulcrash
or at the fanpage: facebook.com/questiontoyoucosplayers