Cosplay in the Park
On November 7th, I attended a D.C Cosplay Photo Shoot meet up held along Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly, VA. It is a very large public park with a few historic structures on site. Due to its overall size, the group stayed in the area near the Walney Visitor Center.
For these sessions I used:
- Canon 80D
- 2 Speed light
- Light stand
- 18-200mm lens
The weather that day had a nice beautiful blue sky with a few fluffy clouds, a perfect fall day. While the trees in the park were a nice mix of yellows, oranges, and some green. I ended up using a 100 ISO without a light modifier. My aperture varied from F6.3 to F8, with most shots being taken at F8. My shutter speed ranged from 1/40s to 1/250s. My shutter speed seemed to be concentrated between four speed 1/60s, 1/80s, 1/200s, and 1/250s which was most likely related to the locations I was shooting in; going from sun to shade. My focal length ranged from 18mm to 80mm, with most shots being at 18mm. I need to remember to back up and zoom or invest in a different lens for sessions.
Today I’m going to start with Fire Lily Cosplay who came as Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones (season 4). The dress and craftmanship was beautiful, and she always looks lovely in pictures. I picked two locations to shoot this cosplay first in front of one of the historic buildings and the second leaning/sitting against the fence with the woods behind her. In the first image in front of the building I place the flash high and to my left. I pointed the flash down and zoomed it slightly to mimic a ray of light hitting her face, which gave me a nice starting point for taking it into post processing in Lightroom. In Lightroom, I did all the basic adjustments then darkened the image a little, added a gradient filter to the left side of the image to reduce a bright spot, and added a vignette to the image. I finished the image off by adding an orange/blue split tone to the image to give a more cinematic edge.
For the second image, which was my last shot of the day, I really liked how the sun was light the background and tried to mimic that a little with the flash. I place the flash high and to my right. I believe I had the flash set to around a 50mm zoom maybe slightly wider for this shot. I came in a little tight for this shot, so I would not have to crop it later in post. The image straight out of camera was fairly good and only needed minor adjustments in Lightroom, where I also added a vignette and an orange/blue color grade. I did take the image into Photoshop to clean up a few little spots, and do a little doge and burn work to brighten up the eyes resulting in the final image.
This next image is a historical cosplay of Lt Robert Maynard as done by Edward. Edward usually comes as a photographer, but for this meet up he came as a cosplayer. For those that do not know, Lt Robert Maynard is the person who captured and killed the pirate Blackbeard. I like this image because I feel it tells part of a story, is the person hiding out or sneaking up on someone. The light in this image is a mix of the natural sunlight and flash to offer some fill. The sun was to my right, as you can tell from the shadows, and I positioned the flash to my right but pointed more towards the cosplayer’s body to act as a fill so he wasn’t completely in shadow, which gave me a good base for post processing. I did all the basics in post, but then added a gradient to the left side of the image to darken the shadows a bit more on that side of the image, to give it more of an alley like feel. There wasn’t a second building to make shade so I had to make it myself. I then finished the image with my standard vignette.
Alana Owlet as in a ballgown interpretation of Totoro. I’m a sucker for big fluffy, swishy ballgowns that have a ton of movement in the skirt. I also love working with cosplayers who are excited to be in those gowns and want to really make them move, and like twirling in them. But I’m not going to show you a twirl photo, I’m going to show you something after the twirl. I like this image because it reminds me of a classic perfume commercial, reminiscent of possibly Dior or Channel, where the woman is running away in a ballgown. To get this look the flash was place to my right, perpendicular to the cosplayer. I then used the sun on the left to fill the image, but the main light in the image is coming from the flash. When I took this image into Lightroom I did all the basics, then when in with the brush tool and highlighted just along the side facing the flash to give it just a tiny bit of oomph. I then added a slight yellow/violet split tone to the image, which worked amazingly with the color of the dress and the colors of the leave in the background. I then finished the image off with my standard vignette.
This was a good meet up location, and both the weather and the changing leaves cooperated to allow for some great photos. You can see all the images from the meet up here: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.