We are launching a new series called “Fandom Photographer Spotlight” which will highlight the talented photographers in fandom. These artists take amazing, artistic photos of some of our favorites, so we thought it would be a good idea to spotlight them and all of their hard work!
Our first spotlight is Mandi Lea Photography! We asked Mandi a few questions about her photos and more, so take a look at the interview below!
Nerds and Beyond: How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
Mandi: I’ve been doing photography since I was 15. I have always wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember, was an ok artist, but couldn’t get over my own criticism of my artwork, so I went from art class to photography class. Photography was the first time I felt like I enjoyed my art, I felt validated. I kept up with it after high school off and on, but have really started focusing on it the last 5 years or so at conventions or concerts/shows.
Nerds and Beyond: What originally inspired you to start doing fandom (cons, concerts, etc.) photography?
Mandi: I started taking photos just for fun and to remember cons back in 2004 at a Buffy convention. The last few years, I’ve actually started to really focus on how I take photos and went from just fun to actually trying to be a photographer.
Nerds and Beyond: What fandoms are you most known for photographing?
Mandi: Supernatural and The Walking Dead panels at NYCC.
Nerds and Beyond: What equipment are you usually using?
Mandi: I’m a huge Canon fan, so I have a Canon Rebel T5i.
Nerds and Beyond: Which events are typically your favorite to photograph?
Mandi: I’ve always loved photographing concerts/shows, so at cons, my favorite thing to photograph is the Saturday Night Special or the concerts at JIB. I also love photographing Louden Swain/Station Breaks shows.
Nerds and Beyond: What would you say right now, is your favorite photo you’ve ever taken?
Mandi: This photo of Rob [Benedict] from JIB. I love the lighting and contrast that I was able to get.
Nerds and Beyond: If given the opportunity, are there any celebrities that you’d like to work with?
Mandi: I would kill to work with Briana Buckmaster or Gil McKinney. I think they’d be fun to photograph and I think I’d be less nervous around them over everyone else. Honestly though, I’d sell a kidney to work with any of the folks on the con circuit. I love them all.
Nerds and Beyond: Are there any other photographers who personally inspire you or whose work inspires you?
Mandi: So many! I love Meg (Stardust and Melancholy). Her photos made me really focus on lighting and work on focusing on the composition of my photos. Also, Miriella (perfmishka) because her coloring in her photos at Rockwood made me focus more on how I color my photos. I think it’s so important to take inspiration from other photographers, not necessarily copy them, but take what you like in their photos and focus on making those qualities in your photos better.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any advice, tips, tricks or words of wisdom for other photographers/aspiring photographers?
Mandi: Just keep taking photos. Learn how to edit them, try new techniques, try new angles… nothing is off limits. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the photographers that inspire you and ask for tips or how they happened to get a particular shot. Also, know that most of the people out there have probably been doing this for years. I’m only just now coming into my own sense of style for my photos, and I’ve been doing it for 16 years. Give yourself a break and believe it when people compliment your work.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have an online store or website where we can see more of your work?
I do… it’s still a work in progress. You can see it here. My Instagram is @mandi1630. I also run a Supernatural Con Photographers Facebook page that I’m pretty proud of.
Take a look at some of Mandi’s work below and stay tuned for more in our Fandom Photographer Spotlight!