Game of Thrones Cosplay Shoot

On July 23rd, winter was supposed to be coming, however it was extremely hot outside; thankfully I was inside the NationalBuilding Museum for a DC Cosplay meet up.  The theme for this meet up was the Game of Thrones since the season recently started.  The National Building Museum is an excellent location for the theme due to large Corinthian columns inside the museum and its overall classical architecture.  The other item that made this shoot interesting was the fact; we had access to the Hive exhibit an hour before it opened to the public.  The Hive is part of the museums summer art display, and is a bunch of large cardboard tubes painted silver and pink stacked on top of each other. While the hive was interesting, I did not feel it added to the theme and preferred to use the museum architecture for the backgrounds of the photos.

For this shoot, I used my Canon 70D, my trusty 18 -200mm lens, a 430 EX –IIIRT speed light, with a lumapro bounce.  The museum does not allow light stands, thus I was limited to a speedlight mounted on camera, since I did not have an assistant with me.   I took a little over 300 photos and posted 127 fully edited shots.  For all the shots, I was at an ISO of 400 using an aperture of between F3.5 and F5 with 80 percent of the photos taken at focal length of 18mm.  The shutter speeds varied widely from 1/25s to 1/1600s with the about 46 percent of the photos taken at 1/250s or 1/320s depending on the lighting conditions.  I did my basic edits to the photos but did extra editing to balance how the flash was falling on the subject due to the way the bounce was oriented and also added some creative edits to give the photos a more cinematic look.  Overall, I am happy with the pictures from the shoot.  You can see all the edited photos from the shoot by following this link: Game of Thrones.  Below, I will discuss three of my favorite photos from the shoot.

ISO 400, Aperture f4,  Shutter 1/320s
This first photo (left) is of GC-Chan Cosplay as Daenerys Targaryen, I loved working with her.  She maintained a very regal look throughout the time worked with her, and was still enough that some of the tourist visiting the museum thought she was a statue at first.  I like this photo because it has a cinematic look and is bit dark to match her expression.  To achieve this look I added a filter called vintage slide film that added split toning to the image. I then adjusted that filter to darken some of the shadows in the overall image then brought out the highlights on her face by applying an exposure mask to that area. 

ISO 400, Aperture f3.5,  Shutter 1/400

This second image (right) is of Lady O Cosplay as a reverent. She is one of the older cosplayers (you can cosplay at any age) and always bring it to a shoot.  I knew I had to shoot her, because the selfie she posted earlier in the morning of herself in costume reminded me of a David Bowie album cover.  I did not do a lot of editing to this photo, because I created most of the look in camera.  While I did not have an assistant I did have a second flash with a foot with me, which I placed directly in front of her pointed up.  This gave her a darker look, accentuating shadows.  To achieve the final look, I darkened the image slightly, and added some vignetting.  It was a super quick edit to get the resulting image, because it was perfect in camera.

ISO 400, Aperture f3.5,  Shutter 1/320
This third image (left) is of JMS Cosplay as John Snow.  To get this shot, I used a flash placed on the floor to left of the subject pointed up.  While I used the flash with the bounce mounted on my camera to provide a little bit of fill.  To finish off this picture in post processing, I darkened the shadows some and added a graduated filter to the right of the image to make it seem like there was a dark corridor.  I also adjusted the highlights on his face with an exposure mask to balance the light.
ISO 400, Aperture f4,  Shutter 1/160

If you do look at all the finished images in the gallery, you will see there are very few inside the Hive exhibit itself.  The reason for that is; I did not feel it was a good background for the theme.  The last image (right) of FaeStarfire Cosplay as Khal Drogo is the only one I like using the Hive.  It works because it gives the impression she is coming out of a cave or hut.  I darkened the image to give it a bit of dramatic flair and tone down the reflection off the silver tubes. 


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