Friday, May 3, 2019

Gothic Princess

On March 31st,  I got to work with Jinx in Wonderland on a gothic princess shoot. The post was held back till I found out if I was published. Most magazines like exclusive work. For the shoot I used dry ice to create fog, which looked like a milk bath, but no one needed to get wet. (If you are going to use dry ice, make sure your model has no breathing issues and it is in a well-ventilated area.  We were running all the exhaust fans and had the windows open.) I also used purple tulle in several of the images to give them a pop of color but keep with the gothic theme.

For the session I used the following items:
  • Canon 70D
  • 24 -70 mm lens
  • Strobes with power supply
  • Large square soft box
  • Speed light
  • 30-inch shoot through umbrella
  • 7-foot reflective umbrella
  • C-stand with boom arm
  • Light stand
  • RF-transmitter
  • Tether line
  • Desktop
  • Foam core board (to make a corral for the fog)
  • Dark grey backdrop
  • Black backdrop for the floor
  • Purple and black tulle
  • Dry ice and hot water
  • Step stool
  • Props: crown, raven, sword
  • Handsome assistant
I had two set-ups for this session. For the first set up, I did not use the dry ice and focused on standing poses. I placed the large square soft box to the right of the model slightly pointed down onto her.  I then had a speed light with a shoot through umbrella on the left, which was used for a bit of fill light.  I shot straight on to the model. The second set up was simpler. For the second set up the large 7-foot umbrella was placed on a boom arm so it could be placed directly over the model, who was laying on top of tulle on the floor.  I then placed 12-inch high by 24-inch long foam core board round the model to create a little corral to keep the fog from the dry ice in.  I placed a metal bowl in corner of the corral with the dry, which my assistant dumped hot water over to create the fog.  When using the dry ice, we ensure there was plenty of ventilation in the studio.  I shot pointing down at the model by standing on a step stool or directly over her.

Now this was the first time I shot using dry ice, to get that milk bath look but without all the milk.  A few things I learned were, I needed to keep more than a tea kettle full of close to boiling water on hand.  The hotter the water the longer the dry ice would create fog.  I got about two – three minutes of shooting per application of hot water.  Having something for the fog to roll over adds dimension to the image. In the future I will need to use two bowls of dry ice in opposite corners to ensure equal coverage of the area.  With only one bowl I had to wait for the fog to cross the corral to fill it. I will be this technique again, because I like the overall images the process produces.

Now onto the image descriptions.  I shot 306 frames, edited 203 frames, and delivered 144 final images. I shot using ISO 100, my focal length ranged from 24mm to 70mm, shutter speed ranged from 1/320s to 1/1000s, and aperture range of f3.5 to f8.  The most common focal length was 24mm, with the most common shutter speed being 1/640s, and the most common aperture was f8.  While I did shoot several images at f3.5, I did not use  a good portion of them because the focus was just slightly off.  The reasoning is because how I shoot,  I shoot wide so I can crop to 8.5x11 inches (publication size requirement) and still maintain the image I want. Shooting wide with a very narrow aperture is not necessarily the best combination. Overall, I’m happy with the images turned out.  

I have several favorite images from this session. My two personal favorites are below.  I like the first one because of the expression and how the fog rolls around her. I like the second because it is portraying a soft feeling, the skin glows nicely, and the purple tulle pulls image together to make it seem like she is on a soft bed. I did edit the second image slightly beyond removing some little blemishes. I did fill in a few spots with tulle by using the patch tool in Photoshop and when editing the image in Lightroom I used the portrait color module, bumped up the purple slightly, and added a bit of vignetting to the edges.

This next image to the left,  is a personal favorite because it is different. I like how the image is soft and the purple tulle is wrapped around her, but what I really like is how the tulle is falling over her. When editing this image, I used portrait color mode in Lightroom. I then bumped up the purple slightly, and adjusted the exposure slightly.  I originally tried for 8.5x11 crop, however that did not do the image justice, it had to have length, so the image size is 9x18. I find a lot of the time the 8.5x11 or 17x11 crop sizes to limit my images.

This final image (right) is a simple image, using the first light set up. It simply captures the gothic princess look. This type of shot is part of my style, since I do like to shoot lower key images. I also like in this image how the models face has a nice porcelain look, and how the light falls off in the image.  I did very little to the image during post processing, just enough to ensure the colors were correct and the blacks did not get lost in the background.

Seven of the images were printed in the Issue 47 Volume 2 (May 2019) of Gilded Magazine

You can see all the images from the session here.

I also want to give a special thank you to Jinx in Wonderland for allowing me to experiment slightly and do a slightly longer shoot then planned.  

Sunday, April 14, 2019

DCC Meet Up - Columbus Studio Shoot

Group Photo from Columbus Meet Up on April 7th

On April 7th  I hosted a meet up of the Dayton-Columbus-Cincinnati Cosplay Photoshoot group at Chromedge Studios in Columbus.  This meet-up was more of a standard studio shoot, because the location was a basic photo studio with access to items like colored seamless paper. This was a great location for detailed cosplays and to get more of a fashion type look.

I worked with all 12 cosplayers in attendance, which resulted in me shooting 265 frames. Of the 240 frames I edited 155 images and delivered 114 final images. I shot the whole meet using a light from a single off camera speed light on a light stand alternating between using an umbrella and just a bare speed light. I shot using ISO 100. My aperture varied between F4.5 to F5.0 with the most common being F4.0.  My shutter speed varied greatly from 1/20s to 1/320s with the most common speed being 1/100s.  Finally, my focal length varied from 18mm to 50mm, with the most common focal length being 18mm.  It does not surprise me that 18mm was the most common focal length since I was close to the models while still getting full length shots.

This shoot was good but a bit frustrating for me, because I could not maintain sharp focus with my camera.  I think part of the issue is I did drop my camera about a year ago, and I think the lens needs to finally be recalibrated.  Second issue might be I was shooting at an aperture of F4.0 which is not in the sweet spot for the lens I was using.  I did like using the seamless paper.  I have shot with regular back drops before, but I liked the look the colored seamless provided for several of the shots. My only complaint is the studio needed to refresh their rolls of seamless since several of the rolls barely hit the floor, and the point of seamless is to extend onto the floor to create a seamless area of color.  Now onto a few of my favorite images.

These first two images are of Glueme Cosplay as a gender bent Soldier 76 from Fallout. The actual Soldier 76 is a mature/retired, still can kick your butt, male character,  she reimaged the character as a mature, sensible female.  Her reimage gives me the vibes of Helen Mirren’s character in the movie “RED”. So, when directing her during the shoot, I wanted to keep strong mature female poses (image to below to the left). She also asked to do a couple pin-up inspired images, which we did a couple simple poses since we were in group setting, which resulted in the image below on the right. I would like to work with Glueme Cosplay a little more with this cosplay to get her some more pin-up style images because this would work well for that.

ISO 100, Focal Length 20mm, Aperture F4, Shutter 1/30s 

ISO 100, Focal Length 18mm, Aperture F4, Shutter 1/30s 

I also like these two images of Eowinth Cosplay as Gladio from the Final Fantasy video game series. When shooting these images, I felt like I was shooting punk metal band album cover due to the combination of the cosplay outfit, hair style, and overall size of the prop. I feel the two images below really capture an album cover feel, I may edit them later and add an album title if I can come up with a good one.

ISO 100, Focal Length 18mm, Aperture F4.5, Shutter 1/125s 
ISO 100, Focal Length 18mm, Aperture F4.5, Shutter 1/125s 

You can see all my images from the meet up here. Also if you think you would like to participate in the Dayton-Columbus-Cincinnati Cosplay Photoshoot group as either a photographer or cosplayer join us on Facebook so you can see when our events will be held. Our next event is coming up in May and will be Star Wars/Space themed.   

Monday, March 25, 2019

DCC Meet-up Cincinnati

On March 10th I hosted a meet up of the Dayton-Columbus-Cincinnati Cosplay Photoshoot group at Urban Artifact’s Venue space which is above the taproom in an old renovated church. The venue space we used to be the main reliquary space of the church, and the taproom would be in what was the basement area. Highly recommend visiting the Urban Artifact taproom, if you like craft beers. This was the second meet up of the year for the DCC, and we had a great turn out for the event.  

I shot 312 frames of which I edited 197 frames and delivered 139 final images. I shot the whole meet using a light from a single off camera speed light on a light stand with an umbrella. I shot using ISO 200. My aperture varied between F3.5 to F8.0 with the most common being F7.1.  My shutter speed varied greatly from 1/25s to 1/1250s with the most common speed being 1/250s.  Finally, my focal length varied from 18mm to 50mm, with the most common focal length being 18mm.  It does not surprise me that 18mm was the most common focal length since I was close to the models while still getting full length shots.

I will say we had a lot of good cosplayers at this meet up, but I was having trouble getting into shooting. I think my problem was I was still recovering from Katsucon which takes a lot out of me creatively. I usually take a minimum of one month break before shooting again after Katsucon.  In this case I was only two weeks removed from Katsucon, so wasn’t fully up to creative shooting.  So, I apologize to the cosplayer’s because the photos from this event were not what I consider my best work and I know I could do better.  You can see all the images from the shoot here.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

2019 Katsucon Wrap Up

I have delivered all photos from Katsucon 2019, so it is now time for the annual wrap up post.   This year was a little different, because they made the convention a closed convention.  Making it closed meant that you needed a badge or room key to be in the hotel and convention space, and they were checking badges.  I think this significantly cut down on lobby-conning and somewhat reduced the crowds, but since they got rid of the tables to sit at, it increased the number of people sitting in hallways.  Also, by checking badges right at the beginning of the area of gazebo level it hindered flow of traffic and I think reduced the number of people who usually stand up there to show off their cosplays.  Now onto the actual photography.

I had 21 sessions booked and I took 1,837 shots across two days.  (Due to living in Ohio, I no longer shoot on Sundays due to an 8-hour drive home.) The most prevalent focal length used was 18mm, which was used on 53-percent of the shots.  The most prevalent shutter speed used was 1/200s which was used on 17-percent of the shots. The most prevalent aperture used was F4 which was used on 34-percent of the images. Finally, the most prevalent ISO used was ISO200 which was used on 80-percent of the shots.  Of the 1837 shots, I edited 1,384 images which is about 75-percent of the total shots taken.  Of the edited shots, only 77 images were hall shots this is reasonable considering most of my time is spent in one-on-one sessions. 

This year I got to work several amazing cosplayers, who obviously put a lot of work into their cosplays. I can’t cover every single one, so I’m only going to talk about a few of my favorite images.  

Focal Length 28mm, Aperture F5, Shutter 1/1600s
I’m going to start with an image from my session with Moonie Warrior Cosplay (left).  She put together an amazing Elphaba from the musical “Wicked.”  Her cosplay looked Broadway stage ready and her make-up was spot on.  My favorite image from the session was taken near the end of the session. To accomplish this low-key image, my assistant held the flash slightly off parallel to the models face, and I set my camera to eliminate ambient light.  When I brought it into Lightroom to edit, I enhanced the lights and shadows on the dress and the hat, then darkened the background a bit more, and finally added a strong black vignette to ensure the proper mood.  

The next images I'm going to discuss came from my session with Escape Cosplay. Working with Escape Cosplay was an absolute pleasure. Her cosplay of Yasha Nydoorin from “Critical Role” was very good, but what really makes her cosplay standout is how she embodies the character.  I was concerned at first when she told me, due to meet ups during the convention, that both sessions she booked with me were going to end up being of same cosplay because I might not be able to do a wide variety of shots.  I didn’t have to worry after the first session with her, I knew we be able to make the second session different even if it was the same cosplay.  Since I had two sessions with her, I’m going to discuss three of my favorite images.  This first image (below left) is thoughtful and introspective. I set my camera to be able capture the sky and compensated with the flash to light the model. My assistant held the flash to my left off perpendicular to the model.  I only did light edits on the image to ensure proper light balance and added slight vignette to the image to draw your attention to her face.  The next two images are very low key and show anguish and were both shot in the same location with similar edits.  For the middle image (below middle), I went for a low-key approach and had my assistant hold the light to the model’s right while I removed ambient light.  When editing I kept the background very dark, and focused on how the hit the model’s face and faded into the background.  For the last image (below right) my assistant went to the level above my model and aimed the flash down through an opening to the lower level.  My model then looked up to the light and gave a might cry out in anguish/rage pose.  I also used the flash mounted on my camera to add a bit of fill to the image. When editing I balanced out the image and made sure the light was fading appropriately down the model’s body and her face was well lit. I also added a bit of a vignette to darken the edges to make it look more like a ray of light was hitting her.

Focal Length 50mm, Aperture F8, Shutter 1/640s
Focal Length 40mm, Aperture F4.5, Shutter 1/320s
Focal Length 18mm, Aperture F4, Shutter 1/250s

I enjoy working with couples that cosplay together, and this couple was extremely fun to work with. Paradox Cosplay did Lara Croft from “Tomb Raider” and Nathan Drake from Uncharted, which was a great combo.  When working with couples I like to start with a few individual shots before moving on to the couple shots because it gives me a chance to capture individual personalities first and get a feel for each individual character especially if the shoot is a mash-up. The first image is of Drake standing in tall grass, to me it gives off that self-assured rugged male adventure vibe (left).  When editing this image, I made sure to up the clarity to give the image a more gritty appeal and enhance the brown undertones in the image.  The second image is of Laura trying to climb up a hill (right).  I like this image because you can see raw determination in her eyes.  For this image I was kneeling on the ground above her and my assistant was holding the flash pointing straight at her above me. When editing the image, I used a very high clarity ratio to make it a little more gritty and added the vignette to draw your attention her face. The final picture is a group shot of them climbing rocks (lower right). Due to the focal length of the lens and the angle I was shooting at above them it makes the ground appear slightly further below them then it is. I like this image because it is a good action shot, and gives a decent portrayal of the characters. When editing this image, I had to balance the light between the two models and again I kept it gritty by upping the clarity of the image.

Focal Length 32mm, Aperture F7.1, Shutter 1/800s
Focal Length 60mm, Aperture F7.1, Shutter 1/800s
Focal Length 18mm, Aperture F7.1, Shutter 1/1000s

Focal Length 28mm, Aperture F4, Shutter 1/400s

Finally, I’m going to discuss an image from my session with Brown and Curvy Cosplay.  I was excited to work with her, because the concept drawing, she sent of her version of Cruella De Ville was going to be fun to work with. She asked for a more noir style shoot, which I was happy to do since I like noir. I’m also very impressed with how she handled herself, considering her luggage, with her cosplay in it, didn’t show up till about 90-minutes before the shoot.  She was calm and dropped right into character. One of my favorite images from the session is a full length by a mirror, her expression and body language nails the shot (right).  For this image my assistant held the flash to my left and slightly flagged it using his hand. I set my camera to limit the ambient light to give it a more noir feel.  When editing I 
used some gradient filters to darken a bit of the image in front and behind the model to eliminate some more of the ambient light. I then added a vignette, while brightening the light on her face slightly to account for the brightness of the wrap.  I did not add smoke to the cigarette holder, because it looked odd without a cigarette in the holder.  

Overall this was a very good Katsucon, and I’m happy I got to work with some amazing cosplayers this year. Though based on my experience this year I will be updating a few things for next year to include the number of sessions I book and pricing.  Overall 21 sessions is a lot, and it means I cannot wander around the con and see all the amazing cosplays and do some hall shots. I do like doing some hall shots and would like to see the fashion show.  Also due to how the hallways were getting crowded at night leaving very few areas to shoot in, I may not open sessions after dinner next year.  Also, I am considering revamping my pricing, currently I am on the low side which was fine when I was living in DC and did not have to travel to the convention. Now that I have an eight-hour drive, I may be upping my pricing a little bit to account for the fact I no longer shoot on Sundays and have further to travel.  I enjoy the convention, the cosplayers, and am looking forward to next year.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

1920's Heiress

On January 20th I worked with Vida Muerta on a 1920’s heiress inspired session.  The session was originally supposed to occur the day before at the Dayton Art Institute’s great hall, but weather forced us to reschedule for the next at Something Old DaytonVintage Rentals.  Even though we were forced to reschedule in a new location, the shoot went well and still maintained the 1920’s look I was going for.  

For this session I used my Canon 70D, a 18-200mm lens, strobes with power supply, large octagon soft box, 30-degree Grid, C-stand with boom arm, light stand, RF-transmitter, tether line, laptop, white loveseat, mirror, pop up changing room, and a handsome assistant.  The dress is from Retro Stage, and the jewelry is from the Alley Vintage& Costumes. 

For this session I shot 147 frames and kept 80 and delivered 58 final images.  All images were shot at ISO 100 using a F5.6 aperture.  The focal lengths varied with the most common being 20mm. The shutter speed also varied, with the most common shutter speed being 1/50s.  I shot in two locations within the studio, 1) a large white wood wall, where I used two strobes and 2) the large window where I used only one strobe.  The large window was giving me difficulty because I was picking up the reflection of the soft box in the window on several of the frames.

ISO 100, Focal Length 32mm, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/40s
Since this session was supposed to have a vintage feel, I kept my editing along those lines, which resulted in several black and white images.  I must say Vida looks stunning in black and white due to here pale skin tone.  I’m going to start with a black and white image.  This image (right) is from the back and outlines her figure nicely.  I had to edit this image to remove the reflection of the soft box in the window. I did that by brightening the window and then using a combination of clone stamping and the healing brush. I also added some additional light along her face, while darkening the rest of the image.

This next image (below) is simple repose.  I feel it channels that bored 1920’s rich woman. For this image the strobe with the grid was angled down onto the model from the photographer’s left and a strobe with a soft box was perpendicular to the couch to add some fill.  When editing the image, I maintained the angled light coming from the left by adding just a bit more light to her face. I then added some vignetting and faded the image slightly. 

ISO 100, Focal Length 40mm, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/60s

ISO 100, Focal Length 28mm, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/25s
This last image (right) uses the mirror that was in studio.  I personally love working with mirrors, even though they can be challenging.  I like this image because it captures a flattering silhouette from behind and the look on the models face.  For this image the soft box was placed to the photographer’s right slightly off from 90-degrees from the windows. When editing I lighted the image in the mirror slightly and cleaned up a few spots on the mirror. I really should have cleaned the mirror before shooting with it.  I then added a slight vignette and called the image done.  The image overall was very good straight out of camera and needed very little in the way of editing.

Overall this was a very good set with Vida Muerta, she is very good to work with. Hopefully, once the renovations are complete at the Dayton Art Institute, we will be able to do a shoot there, like originally planned.

Monday, February 4, 2019

DCC Meet Up Review

On January 27th I hosted a meet up of the Dayton-Columbus-CincinnatiCosplay Photoshoot group at Something Old Dayton Vintage Rental studios.  This was the first meet up of the new year, and I’m glad we had a nice indoor space for the meet up.   This meet up was held in the loft studio space, and easily fit the group and provided interesting space and props to use during the 3-hour shoot.
I worked with all 8 cosplayers in attendance, which resulted in me shooting 242 frames. Of the 240 frames I edited 153 images and delivered 118 final images. I shot the whole meet using a mix of natural light and light from a single off camera speed light on a light stand with an umbrella. I shot using ISO 100. My aperture varied between F4.5 to F7.1 with the most common being F5.6.  My shutter speed varied greatly from 1/50s to 1/250s with the most common speed being 1/125s.  Finally, my focal length varied from 18mm to 50mm, with the most common focal length being 18mm.  It does not surprise me that 18mm was the most common focal length since I was close to the models while still getting full length shots.

ISO 100, Focal Length 40mm, Aperture F4.5, Shutter 1/125s
My favorite image from the session is of Izabel Cortez as Captain Marvel.  To get this image, Izabel sat on the stairs while I sat/lay on the floor directly in front of her. The light was positioned directly in front of her, with a slight downward angle.  I relied mostly on the light from the flash for the image.  When I brought the image in for processing, I used a tight crop to get rid of the distracting elements to her right, and bring the focus more towards her face and eyes.  I then brightened the light on her face slightly to more closely align to the light on her gloves. I then put heavy vignetting on the image to further darken the background.  Finally, I add a slight hint of color grading, using an orange/teal grade.    Izabel was great to work with and I can’t wait to work with her at future events.

ISO 100, Focal Length 40mm, Aperture F6.3, Shutter 1/80s

Another of my favorite images from the session is of Bochan as Bride Bowsette.  Since Bochan was doing bridal version of Bowsette, I went for a more wedding/bridal look.  This shot is very high key and accomplished by blowing a lot of the highlights and whites out. I specifically blew out the light coming from the windows and used the flash to fill in the light on the model. In post processing I ran a high key filter on the image, reduced the clarity some to give the image a dreamier look. Finally, I applied a reverse vignette to the image. I’m pleased with the overall high key look of the image.

ISO 100, Focal Length 18mm, Aperture F7.1, Shutter 1/160s

Finally, never trust the innocent sheep.  Gleume Cosplay did Bellweather from the movie Zootopia.  (Spoiler) If watched the movie you know it is Bellweather, who is a sheep, is the evil mastermind and villain in the movie, but you don’t find that out till the very end.  I played off the last pivotal scenes in the movie where it is dark and Bellweather reveals, like all good villains, her plan while lording over the heroes of the movie.  I think this photo really captures the evil genius of the character in those final scenes.  The capture this image I had the model stand on the raised stairs heading out to the exit. I shot from the model’s right side with an upward angle.  I had the light raised and set to her left.  I then took down the ambient light with my settings and relied mostly on the flash to light the image.  In post processing I added a bit more light to the model’s face due to shadows from the wig. I also darkened the background some while leaving the main light highlighting the model bright.  Finally, I added a dark vignette to finish the image.  I’m pleased with how dark and sinister I made the image to capture the villainous traits of the character.

You can see all the images from the meet up here:
If you are interested, you can join the group on facebook:

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Romance in a Red Dress

On January 20th, I got to work with two lovely ladies for a romance themed shoot. The whole shoot was centered around a red dress from the Polish designer Ewa Jobko and a white studio room at Something Old Dayton Vintage Rentals.  At this point I would like to thank both models for coming out and the studio for allowing me flexibility due the previous nights snowstorm. The first session with But Dragons Tho Cosplay was inspired by the cover of the book “Kushial’s Chosen”.  The second session with Deanna was inspired by Valentine’s Day romance.  Both sessions turned out lovely and were published in the February 2019 issue of Realm Magazine.
For the session I used the following items:
  • Canon 70D
  • 18-200mm lens
  • Strobes with power supply
  • Large octagon soft box
  • 30-degree Grid
  • C-stand with boom arm
  • Light stand
  • RF-transmitter
  • Tether line
  • Laptop
  • Balloons
  • Fake fur blanket
  • White loveseat
  • Pop up changing room
  • Handsome assistant

ISO 100, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/250s, Focal Length 28mm 
The first session was supposed to be based on the cover of the book “Kushuil’s Chosen”, which is a back view of the main character in a red dress with a black rose tattoo on her back. I started out shooting this look after applying a temporary tattoo to my model. However, the tattoo was not cooperating, because it was peeling off plus looked very shiny in the images, thus the shot was not working.  If I try this shoot again, I will go with my first thought of putting the tattoo on using a stencil and black eyeshadow. So, keeping with the theme of the book, the main character is a highly regarded courtesan, I changed it up and went for refined elegance.   For this session I shot 82 frames and kept 58 and delivered 49 final images.  All images were shot at ISO 100 using a F5.6 aperture.  The focal lengths varied with the most common being 32mm and 40mm. The shutter speed also varied, with the most common shutter speed being 1/250s.  I was working with two strobes, both lights were never pushed above ¼-power.

My favorite shot from this session is the one to the right.  To me it is a perfect picture and could easily be a painting.  For this the main light was to my left pointed down with a 30-degree grid on the light. There was a second light facing straight at the model and wall with a large octagon soft box on it, to give just a pop of fill.  When editing the image, I removed any blemishes and smoothed out a few wrinkles in the dress to make a smoother line.  I then used a high key pass filter, added some vignetting, and finally faded the image to give it more of painted portrait feel.  You can see all the images from the session here.

The second session was with Deanna and was just based on a fun Valentine’s Day with balloons.  For this session I shot 100 frames, kept 70, and delivered 54. This session had a few more initial images because we were working with the angel of the light on the boom arm to get a sultry look. All images were shot at ISO 100 using a F5.6 aperture.  The focal lengths varied with the most common being 32mm. The shutter speed varied between speeds, 1/160s and 1/250s.  I was working with two strobes, both lights were never pushed above ¼-power.

My favorite image from this session is the one below.  This is a lovely sultry, come get me look. For this the main light was to my left pointed down at the models face with a 30-degree grid on the light. There was a second light facing straight at the wall with a large octagon soft box on it, to give just a pop of fill. When editing the image I highlighted how the light was falling cross the models face and following the line of her body. I then added a high key pass filter and softened the image slightly by reducing the clarity. I then added some vignetting to the image and slightly faded the image.  Overall, I like the look, and it reminds me of add for something like perfume, chocolate, or wine.  You can see all of the image from the session here.

ISO 100, Aperture F5.6, Shutter 1/160s, Focal Length 40mm 

I did submit images for consideration to Realm magazine. The theme for the February issue was Love, so I thought a few of the images from the two sessions above would be a good fit.  The magazine published six of the images I submitted.  Below are the series cover tear sheets.  I like how both series start with close to the same image with the red heart balloons.  You can find the magazine here. 

I did do a third session on the January 20th, but that one had a separate theme, and will be discussed in a future post.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Photography Goals for 2019

I have now spent a whole year in Dayton, Ohio and accomplished a lot in 2018.  But it is now time to look to the future and photography goals for 2019.

General Photography Goals

1. Expand the Dayton-Columbus-Cincinnati Cosplay Photo Shoots Group
In 2018 I started the Dayton-Columbus-Cincinnati (DCC) Cosplay Photo Shoot Group which currently has over 100 members on Facebook.  I hosted five meet-ups for the group. The goal for 2018 is to double the number meet ups and find interesting shoot locations.  I also want to bring in some additional volunteers to help do location scouting and help with some of the other aspects of the group like check in and supporting the groups social media sites.  If you are interested in joining the group you can look us up on Facebook at Dayton-Columbus-CincinnatiCosplay Photo Shoots Group or on Instagram @DCC_Cosplay_Photoshoots.

2. Book paid shoots outside of conventions
Currently all my paid work comes from sessions held at conventions. While this is nice, I would like to do paid work outside of conventions.

3. Find a muse
This goal is left over from last year, and I expected it would be. I am still looking for a person that I click with.  For me a good muse, would be fun and easy to work with, good with collaboration, and has some creative ideas of their own.

4. Work with male models
Currently all most all of my work is with female models and cosplayers.  Occasionally, I will get to work with a few male cosplayers but not many. I’m going to do my best to seek out some male models to work with to expand my portfolio.

5. Hold a studio session day
I want to hold a mini-session day at a local studio.  The goal of day would be to host a personalized photos session day where people could come in and get some unique photos with interesting headpieces and/or and special dress options, think parachute dress. Sessions would be about 30 – 45 minutes.

Photo Shoot Projects

This past year I did several personal project shoots that could be termed Editorial/Fashion/Fine Art shoots style shoots. This was great but I didn’t get to shoot some the concepts I wanted to shoot.  So, some of my personal projects are a repeat from last year. (Note the projects listed below are in no particular order.) It should be noted all the photo shoot projects below will most likely be TFP (Trade for Print) projects, meaning that the model/cosplayer would be getting a free photo session and 5 fully edited digital images from the session.

1. Victorian/ Steam Punk themed shoot
I just like the style of clothing, plus I think I found the perfect location for the session.

2. Session based on Hannah Alexandra or Sakizou art work
I like the style of art work from both artists, and have several locations in mind for shoots for anyone who makes a cosplay based off their work.

3. Stylized headpiece sessions
I have several headpiece designs rolling around in my head. So, expect to see some more flower and creative headpiece pieces hitting my Facebook feed during the course of the year.

4. Boudoir concept based off “American Beauty” poster art but using ball-pit balls
I have 400 clear ball-pit balls I used for a pin up shoot last year. I would like to use them again for a few additional shoots.

5. End-of-the-world/Apocalypse/Mad Max Inspired
I would love to do some gritty photos that lean towards the end of days, apocalypse, or dystopian society. I have great location in mind for this shoot, and it would have to be done in the summer.

If you any questions or are interested in working with me on any of my goals or projects please contact me through my Facebook page Munchkin Photos byHeather or contact me through my photo site Munchkin Photos

Here is to hopefully a very productive 2019. 

Facebook: Munchkin Photos by Heather      

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Year In Review 2018

The year of 2018 was very busy and eventful year for me.  This was the first full year I spent in Dayton, Ohio after moving up from Virginia.  You would think that just moving to a new area would have me slow down, but it was very busy as I tried to incorporate myself into the photography and cosplay communities in the area.  I went to three conventions this year, one group shoot, did seven individual shoots, got published, went on vacation, and started a cosplay and photographer meet-up group. So, let’s talk about some of these events.

Cosplay and Conventions
I went to three conventions this year, two in Ohio (Ohayocon and Matsuricon) and one in DC area (Katsucon).  I will say I was not impressed by two of the three major conventions in Ohio. Ohayocon was nice, but I didn’t feel like there were a ton of cosplayers or a central location for cosplayers to just show off their cosplay.  As for Matsuricon, while I had several paid shoots during that convention, it felt small and underdeveloped.  However, I did meet some lovely cosplayers and had some great on-on-one sessions. Sadly, I still compare the Ohio conventions to Katsucon, which is considered a go to for several top cosplayers, and it is hard to compete with that environment. 

Because, I was missing the camaraderie of the DC Cosplay and Photographer group, I started a similar group in Ohio called the “Dayton-Columbus-Cincinnati(DCC) Cosplay Photo Shoots”.  The group is currently 140 members strong on Facebook and 60 members strong on Meet-up.  We had our first event in June with 9 people attending, by our last meet-up in November we had 17 people attend.  Overall, I think that is fairly good for the first year the group is in existence.  Managing the group is a lot of work, with the hardest part finding locations to shoot.  Overall running the group is fulfilling and I’m looking forward to next year.

Portrait Photography
This year was a busy year for me doing several one-on-one sessions and one group session. I want to talk about the group session first.  The group shoot at the farm was interesting for me, because I got to work with several models in one day in a decent setting with all my equipment.  I liked the group session, because it was very similar to how I shoot at a convention but without the gear limitations. I am going to try to attend more group shoots next year, because it is a nice way to meet models and build a strong portfolio.


I did seven one-on-one sessions this year.  I started the year with a very cold shoot out in a field of concrete corn with the lovely Vida Muerta.  Followed up by shoot using a large flower headpiece (which I made) with Lady Chappell.  From there moving on to very sparkly shoot involving a pool of glitter with Star.  Then two very creative shoots with a rubber duck headpiece (which I made) with Cora Mandragora and Lady Chappell.  I’m excited to say the rubber duck headpiece pin-up inspired shoot I did with Cora was published in the November 2018 Issue of Delicious Dolls.  Being published was the highlight of my year. 

Vacations for me are a time to relax and work on some landscape photography.  I enjoy landscape photography, but don’t do a lot of it at home. This year’s vacation was South Dakota visiting the National Parks with my mom.  This was a nice week-long trip, and I highly recommend South Dakota especially the badlands for beautiful landscapes. The only thing I regret from the trip is not waiting out the thunderstorm in Badlands National Park, because apparently the sunset after the storm went through was gorgeous according to the park ranger the next day.  But I did get some lovely pictures during the trip and will probably go back at some point.

Overall, I had a very good year and am looking forward to another busy and exciting year.  You can follow my photography journey here on my blog, on my webpage, Facebookpage, and now my Instagram account. 

Gothic Princess

On March 31 st ,   I got to work with Jinx in Wonderland on a gothic princess shoot. The post was held back till I found out if I was pub...