I know this post is over a month late at this point, but as you can see by a previous post (TEDDY) I got a dog and it took up a lot of my time. However, I wanted to post about Anime USA, because of the great people I got to work with during some photo shoots. (AnimeUSA Gallery)
Anime USA is a small anime convention when compared to the last convention I attended which was Katsucon. I would call Anime USA a more intimate convention, which has some excellent panels and less intimidating cosplay for the beginner. I personally like the panel on the perception of evil, the speaker was very enthusiastic. I also enjoyed the panel on historical costuming, and that boils down to do your research and historical paintings can lie about the fashion. Now on to the photography.
I had 6 photo shoots, 3 were planned (2 with the same person different cosplay) and 3 ended up being scheduled on site. During all the shoots I used my 18 – 200 mm lens (my go to lens), with an external on camera flash with bonce plate. I prefer natural light, but in some areas of the convention space, flash was a requirement. I also tried to shoot at 200 – 400 ISO with an aperture around 8/f because it gave a medium depth of field. Based on this convention I will be investing in a defuser for the next convention, which will be Katsucon 2015 in February.
The first photo shoot was with girl doing Queen Chrysalis from My Little Ponies. This was her first cosplay, which I thought was good. This was an unplanned shoot, since she was wandering around the convention lobby and look as if she had time I asked if she had time for a photo session, she did so we did a 30-minute session. She seemed to feel flattered that I asked if she would like a photo session. We did the session outside in the lawn/park/garden area of the convention space, since that seemed to fit her character. I got some nice shots. I a little Photoshop-ing on a few to add energy/power balls to give the pictures a fantasy feels.
The second shoot, was again unplanned and the result of how cute the girl was listening to messages on her phone. She was cosplaying Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon. She also apparently won in the beginner category of the masquerade. She also seemed a little shock when I approached and told her how cute she looked while on her phone. I asked if she would like a photo shoot, if she had time. She said yes and we did 30 minute shoot. Again, we shot out in the lawn/park/garden area. My favorite picture is still the one I took while she was looking bored waiting for her friends to show up.
The third and fourth photo sessions were actually prearranged shoots with Ichigei Cosplay (Photo Gallery) who was cosplaying Noel Vermillion from Blazblue and the next day did Stocking from the anime Panty and Stocking with Garter Belt. She was fun to work with and had a ton of energy, unlike me who was very tired for the first session due to its lateness in the evening (I did work in the morning). She also had her boyfriend with her and we did a few couples shots since they were both characters from Blazblue and made a very cute couple. The Noel Vermillion shoot we did mostly indoors in the upper section of the convention hall. Because of the backgrounds in the convention hall (not character appropriate walls or floors), I did heavy Photoshop-ing on the images to remove the background. I think the shots came out nice, but the shots from the next day when she was Panty came out a lot better. We did Panty shoot outside on the patio couch, which worked perfectly for this character. The photos have a pin-up feel to them and just worked. We also did a few inside the convention space using one of the big pillars as a pole. One of my favorite pictures inside, which happened to be one of the last ones, was of her coming down the escalator.
The fifth shoot was a pre-arranged session with SugarBlossom Cosplay, who was cosplaying Sally Jupiter from the Watchmen. She was great to work with and a real trooper since she sprained her ankle, but just kept going. Since I knew, she hurt her ankle I tried to do more sitting poses then standing poses, which gave some of them a bit of pin-up vibe. This shoot was conducted in what I would call the parlor of the convention space, which reminded me of a 1940’s or 1950’s formal living room. This actually worked great for this session. I converted several of the photos to an antique look, because it just seemed to work with the character, setting and vibe of the photo.
The final shoot for the session was with Kenny Kosplay who was Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This was not a planned shoot. I booked this session because the previous day I took a quick snap of her, then started talking, which lead to photo session. I am glad I did this session. I have to say she worked her cosplay and tried to truly capture the character. I love when people get into their cosplay and do their best to capture the character. She was a pleasure to work with. We did the session in two locations, the brick breezeway which worked with the nightclub vibe of Jessica Rabbit and in the parlor space of the convention space.
Overall, it was a very productive convention for me, and I got a several excellent shots. I also determined from this convention when I do photo shoots at conventions I will be limiting them to 30 – 45 minutes of actual shooting, but still block an hour on my schedule in case the session goes over and take into account the time it takes to walk to the session location. I will be doing this because I found the sessions themselves were only lasting about 30 – 45 minutes once we were on location. Of course, I will still be doing free photo sessions at conventions. (Note all the sessions mentioned above were free.)
I believe every cosplayer; no matter their skill level should have more than just the mirror selfie to share. Plus I know how much conventions and cosplay cost. That is why I like to provide free photo sessions at conventions, plus it makes me happy. Therefore, if you will be at Katsucon in February 2015 and need photo session contact me and we can set something up because I’ll be there.