Cosplay Session: Rapunzel

On May 1st I did a cosplay session with the lovely thenext.jeneration and thebreezybiz (Instagram names) at Meadowlark Gardens.  The garden was a great place to shoot their Tangled the series cosplays due to the mix of wooded areas, gazebos, and open lawn that allowed us to capture the essence of the series locations.

For this shoot I kept my equipment to a minimum and brought my husband to assist with lighting, since light stands are not allowed.  I had my Cannon 80D, 18-200mm lens, trigger, speedlight, a painter’s pole, and a trash bag.

For this session I used ISO 400, because I was mostly shooting in the woods with medium to heavy shade and it was an overcast day which further diffused the light. I used an aperture of F8, since I was group images and wanted to ensure both cosplayers were in focus throughout the image.  My shutter speed varied a lot from 1/40s to 1/1000s with the most prevalent shutter speed being 1/100s. My shutter speed varied due to where we were in the gardens, the shaded wooded area, or the open field area. My focal length varied from 18mm to 130mm with the most prevalent focal length was 35mm.  Now onto some of my favorite images from the session.

I want to start with the image we did in one of the wooden gazebos that is in part of the wooded area. I liked this location because it let us to do a few shots that could be considered a bit more formal or staged and is a nice warmup location. I like this shot because it seems like a bit of a more formal picture that could be taken on in the castle gardens. To light this image the flash was up and to my left pointed down at the cosplayers.  I was kneeling so down so I was mostly level with the cosplayer’s eyes.  In post I balanced the image and brought up the exposure slightly. I also removed the green tint from the image, which is caused by all the green foliage.  I then balanced skin tones.  From there I cropped the image and added a bit of a vignette. I then pulled the image into photoshop to clean up a few stray wig hairs and remove a few distracting elements on the ground to complete the image.

ISO 400, Aperture F8, Shutter 1/125s, Focal Length 35mm

This next image was shot on the bridge that crosses part of the pond in the open section of the garden, and is classic Rapunzel.  I like how Rapunzel is leading the way but Cassandra is a bit behind trying to act like a voice of reason, know that Rapunzel isn’t really going to listen.  This is one shot where the painters pole comes in handy because we can extend it up and over so it is out of the frame, and still at that kiss of light.  As you can tell the sky is blown out, which is ok because it was overcast, grey, and rather uninteresting.  While I could have used the sky replacement feature in Photoshop, I did not feel it would significantly add to the image due the small amount of sky visible in the picture.  In post after I balanced and adjusted the exposure, I did add some additional brightness to Cassandra, since she was in a slightly darker outfit, to balance her with Rapunzel.  I then straightened the image, cropped it, and then added a slight vignette to finalize the image.

ISO 400, Aperture F8, Shutter 1/200s, Focal Length 18mm

 I like this solo image of Cassandra, because I think it captures the personality of the character in the series. To get this image the flash was zoomed to about 80mm and was placed up high and to my left, and pointed down towards the cosplayer.  During post I balanced the image, adjusted the exposure slightly, and brought up the shadows a bit. I then straightened and cropped the image. I then finished with a vignette.

ISO 400, Aperture F8, Shutter 1/100s, Focal Length 28mm

This last image of Rapunzel, was requested by the cosplayer, as she wanted an image sitting on a brick wall.  I like this image because you can tell that Rapunzel is contemplating, wanting to explore the world and yet stay with her new found family.  To get this image my husband was to my right with the painter’s pole angled and extended over me so the flash is coming mostly straight on.  I was across from the model on a little path that was slightly lower than the base of the bridge.  In post I balanced the image adjusted the exposure.  I then straightened and cropped the image. (I can’t shoot a level image to save my life, they always all have a slight tilt to them.) I then finished with a light vignette.

ISO 400, Aperture F8, Shutter 1/200s, Focal Length 24mm

Overall, this session went smoothly, and the rain held out till after we were done.  While the sky wasn’t interesting, due to it being overcast, shooting mostly along the wooded paths ensured the sky didn’t matter for any of the photos.  Meadowlark Gardens is a great location to shoot, just for the variety of areas available allowing for a greater variety of images.  You can see all the images from this session here: Tangledthe Series.


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