Leo Nocedo : How do you get the person ,place or thing in front of your camera onto film , chip or paper just the way you want ?
John Mantell : A ton of trial and error, if I’m working with people it’s a lot of ughh, umms and “Can you move a step to your left, other left, to much, not enough” with products and places I take a few photos go through them and move the object or myself and repeat until I’m happy with it
Leo Nocedo : Which photographer influenced you the most , and how did they your thinking , photography and career path ?
John Mantell : Peter McKinnon was one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to landscapes and compositions, I’ve followed his career for a while now and feel like I’ve picked up a few things when it comes to nature and landscape photography.
Leo Nocedo : Exactly what do you want to say with your photographs , and how do you actually get your photographs to do that ?
John Mantell : It really depends on the mood or the overall theme of the shoot. Some shoots I do just because the model or the idea would look really cool other times, we want to convey a specific emotion. I think when trying to convey or having your photo speak it’s a balancing act. Having the model convey certain emotions or poses mixed with the composition, lighting, and post processing color can really create powerful emotions or a story without text.
Leo Nocedo : What was your career path ? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time , for a living ?
John Mantell : I opted out of high-school and collage for a trade school where I learned / graduated from graphic design. After freelancing and realizing I wasn’t a fan of making flyers and brochures I went back to school for web-design that quickly turned into coding. While I was working in that field and doing a lot of I.T work on the side I started missing the creative work, but was struggling to find my place back in the graphic design I was always loved photographer (A big part due to Pokemon snap on the n64). But I didn’t think that was a viable option for me. Though a little more then 2 years ago I picked up my first DLSR camera and Have not looked back since. This past 2 years I’ve been studying photography/videography and now I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Leo Nocedo : What technology , software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best ?
John Mantell : Camera gear: Canon M50 with 50mm lens and Godox 200d pro flash.
Programs: Adobe’s Lightroom, Photoshop and Spotify
Leo Nocedo : What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically , politically ,intellectually or emotionally ?
John Mantell : Photo and video has really become a passion for me, and see people’s faces light up when the see themselves in-camera makes me so happy. That’s one of the biggest driving forces behind me doing portrait photography. Getting paid and earning a living a good motivator as well, lol but like I said seeing my friends / clients get excited / happy seeing themselves as their favorite character or in the complex cosplay they spent all summer making really brings me joy and has only made me more passionate towards portrait photography.
Leo Nocedo : When did you start cosplay photography ?
John Mantell : Around 2019, it really took off when I found the Fort Myers Cosplay Club and started attending event’s with them.
leo Nocedo : What was your first convention ?
John Mantell : As a photographer Swflcon 2018
Leo Nocedo : What convention do think has the best locations and lighting for photography ?
John Mantell : Syfy Bartow 2021 ( it was all outdoors )
Leo Nocedo : What pop culture genre do you like to have as a subject ?
John Mantell : Dc Comics is one of my favorites, though I am also very partial to Fantasy.
Leo Nocedo : Do you like solo or group photoshoots ?
John Mantell : I love group photoshoot’s I love being able to setup scenes with multiple characters interacting or work with / against each other.
Leo Nocedo : What cosplayers have you worked with ?
John Mantell : Scarlette Siren | @scarlette_siren
Poetry | @poetrydoescosplay
Theresa Zomok | @pandadribbles
Caity Jayne Cosplay | @caityjaynecosplay
Hitachiokami | @hitachiokami
And various other cosplayers from the Fort Myers cosplay club way to many to mention here.
Leo Nocedo : Do you have a favorite cosplayer to work with ?
John Mantell : I don’t think I have a favorite cosplayer I’ve loved working with everyone so far. Links to John Mantells work :