I attended Matsuricon for the first time.  Matsuricon is an anime convention held at the Columbus convention center near the end of August.  I don’t know what my expectations were for the convention, but I don’t know if I’ll be attending again. The whole convention vibe could have been off due to the U.S. President attending a Republican fundraiser dinner being held the same time as Matsuricon in the same convention center.   

The check-in was relatively fast on Thursday night. However, I felt there was some confusion over photography badges.  If you are going to schedule individual shoots or charge for your photos, you must apply to get a photography badge. This is a little bit of a pain, because they only go on sale a few months before the convention, and you don’t know if you are approved except for about two months before the convention.  As a photographer, I want to know if I’m approved way before then so I have time to book clients, and make the proper hotel arrangements.   Also, during check in there should be a separate check in list for photographers if they are going to have a limited number of photography badges. When I checked in they didn’t even look at my receipt saying I paid for a photographer badge or check me off a list, all I said was I paid for a photography badge and they handed me a photographer badge.   Other from that check in was relatively smooth. 

I felt the convention was small.  The dealers room filled one regular sized ball room and the artist ally was just in a large meeting room, both seemed very small without a lot of variety.  I did not attend any of the panels, since I had shoots scheduled, but that didn’t matter because I did not find any of the panel descriptions that interesting.  They had several group shoots scheduled in both the convention hotel and the A POD area of the convention center.  This was nice in a way because it made sure large groups were not blocking areas with their fandom’s group shoot.  I may have missed it because, I spent most of my time in the A POD area doing shoots, but there did not appear to be a generalize meeting area where cosplayers just hung out for photos.  Because of that I didn’t do any hall shots.

Since this was the first time for me being at this convention I did not book as many shoots as I normally would for something like Katsucon.  I had 15 sessions booked when I normally would have about 20 booked. Also, what played into the booking was the conventions times, it is not a straight 72-hour convention, this one actually has a start and end time each day.   I’m going to talk about a few of the shoots, and the one group shoot I got drafted into shooting.  

Let’s start with the Star Wars group shoot I was drafted into shooting. I had time after lunch and before my next one-on-one session so I decided to pop into the Star Wars group shoot, to possibly get a couple of quick photos. That plan did not happen.  When I walked in there was no official photographer for the group, and people were just taking cell photos.  Then the Matsuricon Group Shoot Staff organizer walked in, came up to me and said “oh good a real photographer” while looking at my camera.  He asked if I was a photographer, I showed him my photographer badge, which led to him asking if I could shoot the group.  Basically, I was drafted because all the staff photographers and other photographers were shooting the Fate group, which is a huge group.  Thus, I ended up running and shooting the Star Wars group, which was a lot smaller then I would have expected.  Thankfully, I was dressed appropriately for the shoot, I had on my Turtle Tee shirt with a picture of General Leia, that said “Call me general.”   You can see the photos from the shoot here.  The whole session was shot with one speed light mounted on a light stand directly behind me (I was in the middle) and zoomed all the way out.  Now on to some one-on-one sessions.

ISO 100, aperture f4, shutter 1/160s, flash to the photographer's left at 1/2 power

I’m going to talk about my favorite shoot first, which was with Kat Everett as Princess Elizabeth Liones from Seven Deadly Sins. This was an interesting shoot, because the character is supposed to be all sweet and innocent, but she is drawn like a sex bomb.  So, shooting sweet and innocent when looking like a sex bomb becomes tricky.  Kat was wonderful to work with, and great at posing.  I ended up loving the whole set I shot with her, though my favorite is below.  The convention center is nice because it has a nice bright white wall perfectly suited to get lovely high key images. 

ISO 100, aperture f4.5, shutter 1/250s, flash to the photographer's left at 1/2 power

The second session I want to discuss is the Naruto BunnySuit session with Average Space Mom and Ellie.  The models did tell me when they scheduled the shoot that it was going to be the bunny suit version, but for some odd reason I was thinking more along the lines a full up body suit you were during clean room operation, not the Playboy Bunny outfit.  They were fun to work with, and I learned what ‘tasteful ninja poses’ are.  During the shoot I focused on two types of poses, ones from the actual anime and the other more traditional bunny poses.  My favorite photo from the session is a more traditional bunny pose, that I edited with a slightly faded look to make it a bit vintage.  I felt it work really well.

ISO 200, aperture f5.6, shutter 1/80s, flash to the photographer's right at 1/4 power

This final session I’m going to talk about is the AfroSailor Moon session with Minah CosplayGround. I had two sessions with her, and thought she did Sailor Moon the best, because it just fit her bubbly personality.  Her costume was spot on, and I like how she made it hers by doing big afro buns instead of traditional anime buns.  Her face photographed cleanly, and you could just see happiness in her.  My favorite shot is a close-up beauty shot that captures here eyes and smile.

ISO 100, aperture f4, shutter 1/50s, speedlight mount on camera 1/8 power

This was the first convention where I shot some duplicate cosplays.  I had two groups do Kakeguriui and two groups do My Hero Academia.  While the cosplays were the same, the personalities of the cosplayers themselves make each shoot unique which influenced my editing style.  This was especially true for the two Kakeguriui groups.  Even though Kakeguriui is a very dark anime, the first group I edited with more black & white images and a cleaner look, while the second group I used more faded and high clarity/contrast images.  

Overall the convention was ok. I’m not sure if the President being in the area during part of the convention changed the mood or of it or not.  I’m still debating if I will attend next year, but probably will attend.  You can see all the images from the convention here.


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