Cosplay at the Winery

On August 22nd, I attended a D.C Cosplay Photo Shoot meet up at Walsh Family Winery in Purcellville, VA.  The winery had both nice indoor and outdoor spaces and the wine was good too. I got a nice glass of one of their whites after the shoot was over.  

For these sessions I used:

  • Canon 80D
  • 2 Speed light (1 acted as a trigger)
  • Light stand
  • Small Lumiquest square soft box
  • 18-200mm lens

For this meet ups we could use both the indoor and outdoor spaces of the winery, as well as be in the vineyard itself. I shoot mostly outside, in the vineyard and wooded area. I didn’t feel the inside worked well for several of the cosplays, since felt a bit more modern which doesn’t work with Disney princesses and elves.  Though it did work perfectly for Yomogi from Monster Hunter Rise, since that character is waiter. Thus 90-percent of my shots were taken outside.

For this shoot I ended up using a 400 ISO, which is higher than my usual 100 ISO.  I ended up using 400 ISO because I started shooting on the inside with an aperture of F8 and wanted to keep a higher shutter speed without killing my flash. I never changed the ISO back to 100 once I got outside.  My aperture varied from F8 to F22, with most shots being either F8 or F9.  I was keeping my aperture high for the depth of field; I had no real reason to blur the background and it helped with balancing the sky and flash. My shutter speed ranged from 1/40s to 1/250s, with most shots being at 1/250s.  The few very slow speeds were from the few shots that I took indoors.  Then my focal length ranged from 18mm to 40mm, with most shots being at 18mm.  I really need to work on zooming and getting out of the 18mm rut.

As usual with this group there were several wonderful cosplays which led to several great pictures and if I tried to talk about all of them, this post would be very long.  So, I’m only going to talk about a three.  The first cosplay I’m going to talk about is Belle from Beauty and the Beast as done by Egdramaquee.  I got so many lovely photos of her but I’m going to talk about my two favorites.  The first is a very nice image of her sitting under a tree reading a book.  Yes, that is a real baguette in her basket.  To get this image I place the flash about 60 degrees right from my center.  I had my camera metered for the general scene, and used the flash to add that pop. When editing the image, I cropped it down a bit, white balanced it, and slightly adjusted the shadows and highlights. To finish the image, I added a vignette.  

The second image is a lovely princess twirl coming down a wooded path.  To get this image I place the flash directly in front of me, aligned with the model.  Then had the model face away from me, then on the count of three, spin towards me, which flares the dress out and gives movement to the image.  The spin was a lot easier than the skip I sometimes tell the model to do to get movement in the dress. When editing and cropping the image, I wanted to make sure I kept the framing of the pine tree branches and keep the that division of bright behind her and shadow in front as she enters the wooded path.  I did add a little more light to model in post, but not a lot just enough to pop her out from the background little more, and added a vignette to the frame to darken the sides of the path just a little.

This next cosplay brings back some childhood memories of the 80’s.  How many of you had a Strawberry Shortcake doll? Lady Cels made a lovely Strawberry Shortcake. What is nice is this outfit really pops against the green of the vineyard, due to red and green being complementary colors. Also, I loved how fun and playful the outfit and here personality was.  I took this image between rows of vines, right after the end of a skip sequence. Using the end of a skip sequence lends itself to a natural pose that isn’t stiff and natural placement of the legs.  For this image I had the flash slightly left of my center.   In post I did go in and brighter her face slightly, hats and fluffy wigs sometimes leave the face in a bit of shadow. I also added some extra light to the eyes but not enough to make it horribly noticeable. The sky was not exciting but overly bright so I did add a graduated filter, during post to bring out a little color in it. I finished with a very light vignette.

This final image is of Saragobragh as historical Snow White, in her work cloths. She did all the detailed smocking on the outfit herself.  She always does amazing work.  This was one of the few shots I took inside, because the fireplace worked with the cosplay. For this image I had the flash close to 90-degree right of my center. I also had some natural light coming in from behind me, but I basically eliminated that with the flash. I rarely use natural light anymore, just because I can control the light from the flash a bit better. When editing this image, I made sure to crop out the merchandise stand n the background and the more modern looking table. My goal was to try to just keep to the fire place and fake rustic without too many modern features cropping in. I also tired to keep the image a bit towards the darker side by using a deep vignette.

As usual it was a good meet up. While it wasn’t horribly sunny, more overcast than anything; it was horribly hot and humid.  Thankfully the inside of the winery was air conditioned, so it was easy to take some breaks between cosplayers and cool off briefly. I also drank a bunch of water, no wine for me till the end of the shoot. Wine is a reward. I think I may go back to the winery, just to sample a few more of their wines and do a full picnic lunch. It is a nice little winery.


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