Kean Tyrone Tagaro has always had a drive for adventuring and seeing the world with its sights and delights. A London transplant by way of Asia, he started a lifestyle blog that earned global attention and eventually started attracting interest from event organizers in the UK. Opportunities to write and blog about cultural events in the UK surfaced and Tagaro found himself with heaps of press passes to cosplay events, gaming shows, and car shows. He learned early on that photography was of the utmost importance when blogging about these events, so with camera in hand, he went from lifestyle blogger to the mastermind behind Smile250 and now travels the world filming and photographing cosplay.
“I started out by photographing the friends I made at these cosplay events and it evolved into a global thing. These shoots are just so thrilling because you get to work with so many different people, and photos click with me because it’s the right mix of storytelling and art. When you get to share it on social media and you have fans who look forward to your posts, it feels rewarding and as a hobby it’s incredibly fun.”
Tagaro is a self-taught photographer and videographer, having started out with his parents’ old digital camera and inspiration from YouTube videos. He now shoots with a pro-consumer DSLR, is sponsored by SaikoPlus and AiMyMaid Apparel, and has over 2 Million views on his own YouTube Videos. After conducting photo and video shoots at events that are sometimes 3 days in length with up to 300,000 attendees, Tagaro spends a lot of the time in front of his computer, editing away. His go-to for touching up cosplay photos from anywhere in the world? BeFunky’s online Photo Editor.
“Sometimes all a photo needs is a little color boost and quick brightening and sharpening. BeFunky offers all the tools I need to accomplish that on my Mac while I’m on-the-go without having to launch Photoshop. Speed is of the essence, especially to stay relevant on social media while capturing these events.”
The type of cosplay that Tagaro shoots has a distinct look that most resembles Anime cartoon characters. From vibrantly-colored hair to intricately themed outfits, cosplayers all over the world spend hours achieving this look in real life. Tagaro takes it a step further in his photo editing process, as most cosplay photographers do. This means using BeFunky’s Touch Up Tools to edit skin tone, lengthen legs, slim certain features, and more. It truly is a cultural artform.
“The sole reason I use BeFunky is because it gives me more control over the areas of the photo I want to edit. It offers the option to paint effects on selected areas of my photos and use sliders to increase or decrease the amount of effects. It gives more control where other alternatives just slap a filter and that’s it. Photo editing should not be complicated!”
Kean Tyrone Tagaro now travels to up to 24 cosplay and comic con events per year, documenting it all as Smile250. With every event, he gains more experience, meets new friends, and takes every opportunity to network. His video for the World Championships of League of Legends in 2015 is one of the most viewed cosplay videos online with a whopping 2.3 Million views.
After having been a judge for major cosplay competitions, having his work has featured in both print and online publications, Tagaro still has one dream left to accomplish - travel to Japan. We’re sure that will happen soon with his level of expertise. His advice to those who want to follow in his footsteps?
“Network and network some more. Never stop learning; use online resources like BeFunky to learn new editing styles and techniques. Take solace in the meaningful relationships and the friends you meet along the way. Those friends I’ve made in the community are the reason I am here today. They have taught me, sheltered me, nurtured me, supported me, collaborated with me, and most importantly had fun with me. The life experiences all these years would be nothing without the people.”
Follow all of Kean Tyrone Tagaro's adventures in cosplay photography and videography on Instagram. To edit your photos to perfection, click the link below and find all the tools you need to succeed.