Thursday, 22 January 2015

コスプレCosplay Photography and Videography from Smile250

Official Smile250 Page
           Your one stop shop for all things Smile250 and the best hub for my content^^

Hey everyone, Kean Tyrone Tagaro here - I have transformed this website to link you to everything that I do and the one place where you can find all the social networks I am on and consolidate everything in terms of cosplay and it's awesome world =)

There are quick links on the top part of the page to swiftly navigate you to content!

Find me on YouTube -

This is where I have all my cosplay videos and main content uploaded so please check it out! Find my cosplay videos from 2013 through 2014 and now I'm working even harder to get more awesome videos for you guys in 2015!

Find me on Facebook -
My Facebook fanpage is my main page and the most up to date of all my social media - you can find behind the scenes photos and interact with all sorts of announcements and previews here! You can message me here and I can reply quickly too^ Add in the usual updates and the chance to tag with upcoming projects and connect with friends.

Find me on Twitter -
This is my used to be secret account that I have just to live life and rant but hey some people want to connect with Twitter and I have many friends on here so tweet away! I usually tweet about my thoughts and general reactions to things and talk to people here.

Find me on Instagram -
This is another used to be secret account I have but since a lot of coser friends of mine also use instagram and particularly you awesome friends - I have adapted to it and its loaded with food and bubble tea pictures >.< - speaking like a true Asian ahahaha :p

Find me on Tumblr -
My crazy photo blog of all things related to teenage life! From food to travels and relationships - this side is in tandem with my lifestyle blog of the past and colors and ideas spring to imagination with this blog. Re-blog all that cool stuff!

Cosplay Photography something I want to constantly improve upon and so I have made a new page where you can view high resolution images of my cosplay photos! I am re-starting my portfolio collection with new editing and making them even better so it will be a while before things become fully populated so just enjoy my World Cosplay account and have a gander for 2015 and beyond!


Alternatively, if you want to view a simplified version of my new 2015 cosplay photos collection, with new edits and full information and high full quality versions - I made a new dedicated website for all of it and slowly adding everything on here for 2015 and beyond =)

Cosplay Photos by Smile250 -

What about the Smile250 store for merchandise and goodies? The store is coming soon this 2015!
All powered by StoreEnvy and will contain all the requested stuff you guys have been asking :3

Lastly, my email is if you want to contact me with inquiries =)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Farewell to the past: Smile250 LifeStyle Blog 2007-2014

Hey Everyone! Welcome to the completely new and redesigned Smile250 website! You may have come to expect the usual lifestyle blog that I have been running and writing since 2007 and the blog that started it all with teenage adventures and posts about pockets of mischiefs :3

I know many of you guys have come to love the food reviews, the relationship rants and the music and crafts and press content all jam packed in here over the years! You guys have read my stuff and you guys are the reason why I am here today now to where I am. I simply cannot thank you enough for your support and I will never be able to repay the awesomeness you guys have shown me in this world and the comments and crazy emotions we all shared.

In retrospect, I will not forget the countless memories we all experienced together, from the convention meet-ups, the old days of anime music videos, the banter about which games are the best and the collabs with many bloggers around the world and remember those posts about my old bedroom, house, the you tube music and the skateboarding and dating write ups ahahaha =) It's hard to believe that in those span of time - I have met countless amounts of amazing people and gotten to know many of you guys reading this - once again - thank you for everything.

Every story has a climax, every good adventure must come to an end and every tale has it's shake ups and today is no different. I want to share with you something that I have been thinking for a long time and frankly I truly believe that it's something that will empower better things for the future...

It's now time to say goodbye...

From the over 1,486 blog posts from 2008 till 2014 (psst even the 2007 beta testing days) - and the days of my highschool troubles till my college adventures to even this past week of 2013-2014 cosplay shenanigans^^ You guys have been there for me and I want to announce something that I know will shock many and that is for 2015 - I'm now closing the lifestyle blog of Smile250.

I have gone ahead and removed all the posts previously available and all blog content has now been taken down and I'm going to rework this entire website to something completely new. Gone are the blog posts and video posts and the thousands of snaps all scattered around here. I want you guys to give me this chance to fully admit that I am now transitioning into the cosplay scene more and more and all roads have lead to this. There are two big important key facts that remain despite this massive shake-up.

Firstly, this website is not closing down, as a matter of fact it will change into something better and will still be fundamental to what I do and who I am. Secondly, I'm not going anywhere and I will still be the teenage blogger you know and remember. In fact because of my shift to more cosplay photos and videos - I'm out there in the world more and more and I get the chance to meet more of you guys my friends :D

To consolidate everything, I present to you have the now reformed website and serving a brand new purpose the entire page as your one stop shop for all things related to Smile250 and myself =)

See you soon!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions answered!

Why do you make cosplay videos?
I film cosplay fan videos at cons since I really want to push forward the idea of showing cosplay to more people around the world. I strongly believe that our community is relatively young and the social aspect is by far the best part of it. In 2010, I was welcomed by the community with open arms and making fan videos is something I want to do in return of that. Whilst making these videos, I hope to empower more talented cosplayers out there to be part of the YouTube fan vids rather than just the select few who are cosplay "famous" - this is especially evident in my Oct 2013 featuring over 380 cosplayers and my recent May 2014 video with over 500 cosplayers.

How do I get in a Smile250 video?
My filming ways hasn't change since day 1 from when I started one year ago. If you ever want to get involve in any of my videos, simply approach me on the day of the convention and we can make something happen! If you spot me, just grab me! Always up for filming :3

How do I find you in a con? What cons do you attend?
I attend 22 events a year; 18 of which are cosplay events and a few non cosplays (but I still film a video for them) I can generally attend all UK midlands based and all London based cons and if I do attend a con, it's always on all days and on maximum hours roaming and filming. I have a schedule of cons I go to found on my facebook fanpage which is always up to date =) In terms of spotting me, I normally wear a snapback with black jeans and yeah ahahaha but more importantly, I now announce spots to find me in cons (via facebook fan page) so it's easy for people to find me.

How much do I have to pay to be in your videos?
It's FREE of charge. I don't ask any form of payment. Your participation is more than enough! In fact I am the one who is honoured to have you be involve in my videos and taking your own time to help me make it a reality. I will never charge anyone for screen time in my videos.

What equipment do you use? Camera set ups and etc? Stabilizers?
I normally film with a Nikon D3200 but I recently upgraded to a Canon 70D, I vary between a 35mm lens, 50mm lens, both f1.8 and the regular 18-55mm kit lens. I recently bought to a Nikon D3300 for 1080p 60fps video to really push my boundaries. In terms of stabilizer: I use a flycam nano for almost everything and for panning shots I have a 80cm slider on a tripod that I sometimes use too =)

Do you get paid to go to conventions and make the videos?
No, it’s just a hobby and I attend on my own expenses.

What do you do for a living?
I am a student as of now but I also have a part time job at a pizza take away store which helps and I save up money carefully to attend so many cons and use coupons, vouchers, rail cards, sleep at friends accommodation, share car and try to save as much in ways that allow me to go to cons more.

What software do you use to edit?
I use Adobe Premier Pro/Elements 11. I used movie maker for my first few vids and I tinkered with Vegas Movie studio HD for a bit too but I settled for Adobe in the end.

How long does a video take you to edit normally?
One vid takes me about 8-10 hours to edit (up to 15 if its a big con) and then it renders and uploads for another several hours. I try to get vids out within 24 hours or less if its a small con. If it's a medium con, I can do next day edits on videos but if it's a massive con then I take 3 days total. All my videos always release within 4 days from the last day of the event.

Do you use all the footage you film? 
Absolutely! I made a personal commitment to myself with a golden rule. My rule is that if you have given me your time and effort and you helped me by letting me film you - You will absolutely make it into the final video - no excuses. However to further share a story; the only exception in this case is during the hail and rain of MCM May, one of my SD cards got wet and 2 shots got lost but other than that, everyone I film makes it onto the final video!

How do you select music for your vids?
I go with whatever music just sounds good to my ear at that current moment in time! I then edit the video based on this and sometimes I have a song ready and sometimes I just search and then hit the music then and there while editing.

Who are you favourite videographers? Inspirations?
Tough question but man I will give honourable mentions to 5 videographers, no particular order
Kevin5622, Mamuro5254, Sticknou, Nathalang and Ackson Lee

What is your goal in cosplay videography?
I haven't found a definitive answer yet but personally, to me the best part is during the filming process, when someone tells me that "omg no one has ever asked me to be in a video before and I have always wanted to be in one" THAT to me is instant satisfaction. More than anything, I aim to showcase more people in our community and hopefully reach more people who otherwise may not make it into a other cosplay videos because they are not well known cosplayers with sexy cosplays.

I have always wanted to be your videos and I see them on You Tube but I just can't seem to bump into you in a con, What should I do?
This question has come up more and more recently and honestly by all means please message my facebook fanpage and I will get back to you with a plan. Normally, when people request to be in my video, I ask them the time they are free and I find them in the con myself and we collaborate. In most cases, I also give people my contact number so they can call me in the con and I keep track of my social network at all times on cons to make sure everyone who messages to be in my video can be part of it no matter what.

You are a cosplayer aren't you?
That's right!!! I am a cosplayer myself and yeah making my cosplay comeback soon :p

How do I contact you?
Reach me via my Facebook Fanpage:
Alternatively E-mail me at:

Monday, 12 January 2015

Cosplay Photography Tips!

Cosplay Photography work in progress mini guide! No particular order and just the tip :p

Featuring Pixie Late as Sylveon
Photo by: Smile250
I'm writing this in dedication to my fellow cosplay photography enthusiasts and to those who have requested some advice here and there about how I go about my photography. Now an appropriate disclaimer is that I'm not a professional photographer, I do not shoot as a career path, I don't get paid when I cover events and do photoshoots - it's all done because its a hobby and derping with friends =) I've been asked to do event photography and other encouraged me to do landscape and visual product still life photography but my passion lies in cosplay and its showcase.

This is a small collection of tips that I wish to share with you (hopefully somewhat helpful in some way shape or form) Also to start off with; I'm going to assume that as a pre-requisite, you as a hobbyist cosplay photographer is moderately happy with using the more advanced modes in your camera. Lets get started!

Featuring Kishi as Haruhi Suzumiya
Photo: Smile250
First thing I recommend is the ideal mindset and attitude towards approaching things. This topic is so overlooked and I personally believe that its the core fundamental aspect of shooting cosplay. Many people may have already said this to you but practice is the pivotal difference maker. However, your attitude is equally significant.

Cosplay is about working people and that chemistry translates through the photos. If you work with people and in turn everyone enjoys the session, it will shine in the photos as the cosplayer will feel very confident and relaxed and their expression will show this. My tip is to take the chance to empower the cosplayer and make them feel welcome in the ecosystem - manners, positive attitude, compliments and respect goes a long way.

Add in the encouragement and motivation and share your enthusiasm - this attitude will get you a on your optimum and just make the cosplayer more comfortable. This is the only vague part of my tips but I feel its one of the most important ones, take the opportunity to showcase cosplay and make the difference in the community.

Featuring Pixie Late as Baby Doll (Sucker Punch)
Photo by: Smile250
Lets get to the real tangible tips that you can apply =) I'm a big promoter of locations since it can help ground the character more and your scouting of the available light and backdrops is gonna be a factor so always keep an eye on potential locations you can use for future shoots. Location Location Location is key in setting the mood, the tone, the environment of the character and the story you are trying to tell. Of course there are many challenges to locations like security, weather, lighting, crowds, space and more but negotiating obstacles is part of the fun!

Light manipulation is also important so bust out your reflectors and flash guns and whatever equipment you have and don't be lazy to learn them and take advantage of what they have to offer. If you haven't been in the habit of using reflectors and flash - invest in them, try them and honestly it will improve your photos so much more! Part of the approach is the fact that you should not be afraid to make mistakes and be risky with your photos.
Featuring Cos Kittz as Kaito (Sandplay Vocaloid)
Photo by: Smile250

Posing your subject can make or break photos and chances are, the coser will leave you to direct them - so I like to do is to have a clear plan of some sort of back bone going into a shoot. I regularly collect reference photos on my phone so I'm always ready to go with poses and concepts of cosplay photos I love.

This brings me to a further point that you should not treat photography as a competition with other cosplay shooters but rather use it to make new friends ans because of this - we all have fun as fellow togs, help each other with shooting, share equipment and become each others assistants. We can also work together by bringing one cosplayer each to a location and then swapping to maximise convention time and efficiency.

Kishi as Shimakaze from KanColle
Photo by: Smile250
Constantly have fresh concept and ideas you want to pursue within your notebook or phone for reference and keep trying new styles and expanding your knowledge base. Don't be afraid to compare yourself with others and being critical and pushing yourself to double time. Be flexible, adaptive and don't take criticisms in a negative way. Furthermore, if someone tells me that they don't photoshop their images because they like it as it's natural feel - I simply tell them: you are a lazy photographer, please kindly learn to photoshop.

I'm a big fan processing images in order to make them as kawaii as possible because at the end of the day - it's the photographer's job to make the coser as visually appealing as possible - this is just the nature of my shooting since I am heavily influenced by Asian cosplay scene methods and standards. I regularly read and reference and try to learn step by step closer to shooting the Asian style. For those who dont know - its the way of shooting where everything is bright and vivid and examples are abundant via Shiro Ang Photography (a noteable senpai)

Time for some quick fire tips to finish off everything off!

 Use the high vantage point to get flattering angles - grab a chair!
Photo taken at Kitacon by unknown bystander
This was the result of the raw photo I took while standing on the chair above and turn into a composite with Photoshop and now as a cos card by CosKittz =)

If you don't have a chair - climb the wall damnit >.< Why Am i so short
Photo by Annie's friend ;)
 If you dont fancy the high ground what about the low ground? THE FLOOR? I look like I'm planking trolololol but anything to get the shot xD

Photo by TobiNinjaFox
Photo by Aisha Ahmed
I clearly love the floor - photo by Thea Taylor
Don't be afraid to do weird poses while getting the angle you want - I look like an ass here
WTF Am i doing? Photo by Quang Chau
Be sure to communicate and guide the cosplayer to the best of your ability, I find that describing scenario and giving specific scene to feel and act out helps a lot. I also comment where the shoulder, eyes and figure points, the feet placement and where the props and hands go.
Photo by Jon Fisher
Work with groups and have fun - dont be elistist! Have the confidence in the people behind the craft and in return they will do the same to you =) Don't be scared to take the lead and start the craze!

Photo by Tara Tamang
Location testing and scouting will go a long way - location can dictate the image and how pleasing it is so find locations and keep trying - if you get told off for using a location, just move but don't be scared to go for it - we found a nice field of purple lavender flowers and its so pretty!
Photo by Fiona Wong
 Get your friends to help you! and help is always needed to get those extra shots - throw confetti, someone to hold the reflector and use a stand or tripod to hold your light set up (bonus tip - use LED light if you aren't comfortable with flash)

Photo by Chapman Lee of LP Cosplay photography
Two friends; Yuu and Ploy about to throw the confetti on each side and Golfy holding the reflector, Karling is the cosplayer as Luka from Vocaloid and I'm taking the photo. My LED light is above the tri-pod on the right of the photo

Also next tip is take turns in always helping fellow photographers as you will learn loads by helping others and taking into account new perspectives. Kinda like don't have a crappy attitude of working in isolation, embrace the fact that everyone is in this as a hobby and out to have fun - photography is not about competition. Be the intern of your own friends and even if you are perceived to be more experienced and better than them, you will learn something no matter what and you do it because helping others is great!
Me as the assistant of Golfy, holding the reflector and bouncing the light.
Photo by Mina Yau
Light Modifiers like reflectors and FLASH! is your new friend, if you previously have been intimidated by flash - please go out of your way to learn it - I am learning it too but I can say it can change things onto another level and improve your shots, check this example below. you can also use the different coloured gels on flash to get different lighting effects, photo credit and thanks: B and H
A dull over cast grey cloudy day turned into a sunny warm day that looks pretty! This is using one flash on a stand on the back of the model as seen on the photo on the left - and a flash gel of colour CTO - colour temperature orange on the flash. This set up = flash and colour gel. My flash  was 25 GBP / 40 USD and coloured gels are under 2 GBP for a set on amazon.
copyright used under "fair use" for educational purposes
Night shoots can be intimidating but you can also try it for giving you the knowledge and forcing you to adapt in tougher lighting condition and not just relying on sunlight/daylight. Combining resources like ambient light, location light and flashes etc to get different results. Don't be scared of night time! You just have to adapt and use whatever is available out there and life will teach you workarounds.
Photo thanks to my iPhone, used for photography panel at ReadCon 2014
Collecting concepts of shots you love from all sorts of inspiration will help you no doubt! Do not be judgmental and block yourself from interacting with so many wonderful people out there. Save a copy of those concepts and use it to plan and create new styles and methods of shooting and editing and just do not worry about making mistakes - the concepts will help you a lot in idea brainstorming.
This is a snippet of my concepts for ideas inspired from many wonderful artists I love =)
Also before I forget - embrace the community of fellow photographers - we all help each other!
Photographers and Videographers at LSCC 2014
photo by - well it was on a timer and tripod - Credit to Shades On Productions?

Photographers and Videographers in LFCC 2014 October
Photo by: Smile250
I would like to stress the fact that you need to learn photoshop because it will enhance everything! Let me show you comparisons of Photoshop can push your photos! Even minor tweaks will make a big difference! Look up editing tutorials and practice - Maximize your photos^^
Before and after, minor tweaks in colour and brightness.
Cosplayer: Kishi and Photo by Smile250
Finally, collaborate with everyone you can because the opportunity should not be missed^^ Don't matter where, how, who they are - no matter if they are famous or a nobody. If you want that shot - GO FOR IT! and make it happen!

That concludes everything :D
            Keep Smiling^^