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Persona 4: Finding My True Self in The Studio

For I Got Superpowers’ inaugural studio shoot, we went with a Persona 4 theme. Guys fight over girls, guys fight over guys, chair surfing and more.

As I’ve been a big fan of the Persona franchise for a long time, so getting the characters on-camera (courtesy of our lovely cosplayers) was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Of course, this couldn’t have been accomplished by myself, but with the combined efforts of the IGSP team. For those who don’t know, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona franchise (or just Persona for short) is a JRPG franchise, and I’ll elaborate some more on the game so you can get an idea of what it’s about. As soon as the suggestion came up I had clear ideas about what I wanted to do and images in my head I wanted to shoot. There were quite a few problems that came up but we were able to deal with it.



The idea was a group shoot for some of Adelaide’s great cosplayers, dressed as characters from Persona 4. The background behind the Persona series is that a group of high-schoolers fight demons using special demons that they can summon called ‘Personas.’ In the last two ‘main’ games (Persona 3 and 4), the game took on a life-simulation design, where you as the leader of the group had to manage your time between trekking through dungeons and fighting demons, going to school and managing your relationships. Funnily enough, the game rewards you having a social life, as the strength of your relationships can enhance the power of the demons you summon to fight for you. The most popular of the games has been Persona 4, with two game releases (on Playstation 2 in 2009, and a Playstation Vita remake in 2012), a fighting game spinoff/sequel (on PS3, Xbox 360 and in arcades), and a TV anime that ran in 2011-2012.

Yellow was the main colour in the game, and I wanted to correspond to that by doing the studio shoot on a yellow background. I would shoot the cosplayers in various poses against this yellow background, well lit to show off the costumes that they had no doubt invested a lot of energy into, and their passion for the game. I’ll try to leave off the jargon where I can, but this part gets very gear-related.

The lighting setup was a 3-light setup – a background light with a Westcott Apollo 50″ softbox (pretty much a portable window) to evenly light the background, a white-gridded beauty dish (like its name, it can make anyone look good) as the key light to light the subject, and a strip softbox fill light to just fill out the shadows a bit more on the subjects. This setup worked beautifully, even for the big group shots where the lighting setup needed to change a bit but overall the setup worked well.

Brenda Le


This would be my 3rd time doing a photo shoot. I enjoyed every moment of it. Not only the photographers were professional. They were friendly which made it easy for me to open up to. I had so much fun. I would do the photoshoot all over again if I could xD

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As the saying goes, even the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. The yellow background was fairly crinkly, a well-used paper backdrop, and took a bit of thinking to minimise. I ended up shooting with the aperture set wide open, but that created other problems, like nailing focus, which was an issue. Thanks to modern technologies like autofocus and live-view on the back of the camera screen, it was manageable but it kept me on my toes. The other big issue was studio space – the space we were shooting in clearly wasn’t designed for the size of the group we were shooting with and some of the group shots presented the challenges which became  ‘manage somehow now and fix it up later,’ leading to some tighter crops than I would have liked but still coming out great.

A big shout-out to the excellent cosplayers who came along including Floksy Locksy Cosplay, Ticaju Cosplay and Smashing Cosplay. I couldn’t have done it without the help of the rest of the IGSP team – Nathan for getting in contact with the cosplayers and getting behind-the-scenes shots, and Angelo for getting on the video. The photos came out great and I’d be proud to have them on my wall. Everyone had a great time and would love to do it all over again.
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Behind The Scenes

Behind-the-scenes photos courtesy of Nathan Tan Photography. And make sure to watch also a behind-the-scenes video by Angelo Beltran Photography right at the bottom of this post.


About The Author
Alex Tran is a professional portrait photographer based in Adelaide, South Australia. Alex loves to shoot at the studio with controlled lighting where he can paint his subjects with light. You can find more of his work at