Annual Meet Up at the Workhouse Arts Center

On October 15th, I attended the D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoots’ meet up at the Workhouse Arts Center, in Lorton VA with access to the Workhouse Haunt Areas.  This is an annual event location for the group. You can read my previous blog about last year’s even at the Workhouse here: Cosplay at the Workhouse Arts Center & Haunt.  

For these sessions I used:

  • Canon 80D
  • 2 Speed lights
  • Trigger
  • Light stand
  • 18-200mm lens
  • Gels
  • Small smoke machine

Camera Settings:

This shoot was an all outside doors event, unless you were lucky enough to get one of the 10 spots to shoot in the one building open to us for photography. I was not one of those people, so all my shoot locations were outside.  Because we had a bright sunny day, instead of cloudy and overcast like the weather predicted I was using ISO 100 with an aperture of F8. My shutter speed ranged from 1/60s when I was in heavy shade of a building to 1/250s in bright sun and maxing out my flash sync speed. My most common shutter speed was 1/250s followed by 1/160s.  My focal lengths ranged from 18mm to 100mm with 18mm being the most common.

The Photos:

The Workhouse Arts center is a large location with several possible shooting locations. I found a nice little shaded area tucked behind one of the outbuildings that had some old fading white wash covered in vines, it was a perfect location for several cosplays.  I’m going to start with The_Engineers_Cosplay who were Laudna and Imogen from Critical Role, specifically one of the images of the one doing Laudna. To get this image I had her sit on the small stoop and lean against the boarded-up door, with directions to imitate a creepy broken doll.  Per the character description, the character is supposed to look scary but have bubbly personality and not realize how creepy she can look. That is why the broken doll pose works well for this cosplay. For lighting I used s single speed light, zoomed, and pointed down towards the cosplayer.  In post I first did all the basic adjustments.  I then darkened up the skull at her waist, and brightened her face just a touch. I then used a reverse radial filter to make an oval of light around the model, darkening the rest of the background.  I then added a vignette to get the final image.  

ISO 100, Aperture F8, Shutter, 1/250s, Focal Length 28mm

This next image is of Orisen Cosplay as an 18th century vampire.  Usually, I do not like the background items covering the model’s eyes. However, in this case the way the leaves are just covering one eye as she is peaking out from behind the vines, helps tell a story.  To get this image I placed the flash to my right, angled it down, and zoomed it to have a narrow beam of light. Then in post I did the normal adjustments, then darkened the beam running through the image so it would not become a distracting element. I then brighten the model’s face slightly, to ensure the eye is drawn there. I also cleaned up a few distracting threads and filled in the hair. I ended by adding a strong vignette to the image.

ISO 100, Aperture F8, Shutter, 1/160s, Focal Length 18mm

This next image is of Laci as Lydia Deetz from “Beetlejuice”. She really wanted an image of her sitting reading the book, so I found a ledge she could perch on. To get this image the flash was to my left and about 15 degrees off from the wall.  I had it raised up and pointed down with a medium amount of zoom.  In post I did the basic adjustments. I then toned down the red of the dress. Cannon tends to register reds a lot brighter than they actually are, so I usually darken them slightly.  I also removed a few hotspots in the image by placing a few radial filters and a gradient.  I then added a small radial filter to the model’s face to brighten that up a touch. I then added a vignette and add a teal (shadows)/orange(highlights) color grade. The teal in this case is round 20-percent saturation, which give the image that slight green look and a bit of an eerie feel.  The orange is at about 10-precent saturation as it will affect both the dress color and the skin tone. I wanted to ensure I kept the skin pale, to match the washed out look of the character in the movie, so I kept the orange in the highlights very pale.

ISO 100, Aperture F8, Shutter, 1/125s, Focal Length 24mm

Now in this final image, of Coralinx Cosplay as Gideon from the book “Gideon the Ninth”, I ended up fighting with a smoke machine or at least the smoke coming out of the smoke machine.  When working outside with a smoke machine you need to consider the direction of the wind. But when you are working directly behind a building, you can just toss that wind direction in the trash because the buildings create current and wind patters of their own.  It just becomes very frustrating. I basically lucked into this image because the smoke ended up in the correct spot to illuminate the beams of light coming through the camouflage netting.  The flash in this instance was placed to might right, raised up and pointed down.  In post I did the basic edits, focusing on ensuring the smoke and light rays did not get lost in the image.  I then used some masks to refine the light in the image further and pull out some details.  The first mask, brightened the model’s face slightly. I then darkened the background, specifically the wall behind the model. (The new Lightroom feature select background is great.) I also added gradient to the right side of the image as it was still a bit bright. Then added a vignette to the image.  Finally, I added a blue (shadows)/orange (highlights) color grade to the image. I added the color grade to give the image a cooler feel, due to all the blue going on in the background, while trying to keep the sun beams warm.

ISO 100, Aperture F8, Shutter, 1/250s, Focal Length 18mm

Overall, it was a good meet, though I did not work as many cosplayers as usual since the location is so big. A lot of my time was spent walking back and forth from the main gathering point to shoot locations. I did not get a chance to shoot in the one open building. I did try once but they were already at capacity and I didn’t try again because I didn’t want to keep having to check, also the building felt a bit off to me. (The whole site is haunted.)  You can see the all the final images from the even here: Workhouse Arts Center – 2022


Popular Posts