2022 Year in Review
I think this year we started to head back to normal, we are still far from normal pre-pandemic days but we are slowly getting there. This year overall was a fairly normal boring year for me without any major life changes, as compared to the past two years.
This year I shot 10202 frames, which is 43-percent increase from last year. Though I only edited 5810 frames which is a 36-percent increase from last year. My most used ISO was ISO 100 with 50-percent of my photos being shot at this ISO. My most used aperture was F8 with approximately 57-percent of my photos. My most used shutter speed was 1/250s with approximately 36-percent of my being shot at this shutter speed. This makes sense since it is the max sync speed for my strobes and flashes. Finally, my most used focal length was 18mm with approximately 29-percent of my photos being shot at this focal length. This is a reduction from last year, which hopefully means I’m getting better at using different focal lengths. I also started doing more work with gels and tiny smoke machine to add variety and ambiance to my photos. Finally, I was published 17 times of which I made the one back cover and two front covers. Thought my major accomplishment for the year was being on the front cover of the May Issue of Photoshop User Magazine with a full one-page interview about my work.
Cosplay and Conventions
This year I only attended one convention, Katsucon, and it was rough. I felt the convention was trying to recapture its glory from being on hiatus during the main portion of the pandemic plus it was extremely windy, making it near impossible to shoot outside. (You can read more about my 2022 Katsucon experience here: Katsucon 2022 Wrap Up) I was still able to pull off some nice sessions during Katsucon, even factoring in the wind.
This year I did eight one-on-one cosplay sessions, outside of the normal convention circuit. I enjoy doing the one-on-one sessions outside of conventions so much more then convention sessions, I feel they are more relax and it is easier to find the right setting, venue, background to align with the cosplay. Also, the one-on-one sessions allow me a bit more creative freedom when it comes to equipment, allowing me to use more interesting lighting. Plus, I don’t have to worry about other people being in the shot, or being crowded out by convention crowds.
However, most of my cosplay photos this year came from attending the D.C. Cosplay Photoshoot meet ups. I attended nine out of twelve events this year. These events are great to meet new cosplayers, shoot at interesting locations, and try out a few new techniques.
Creative Portrait Work
This year I did 17 creative sessions (one is not shown) this year, of which 15 were time-for-print (TFP) sessions and published. I love doing creative sessions, it allows me to exercise the creative part of my brain, and take a break from the analytic thinking I do at my day job. All the sessions, but one, were done in my small in-home studio. I love doing work in my in-home studio because I enjoy designing sets. Plus, I don’t have to pack a ton of things up and worry about forgetting something. The only downside is I don’t have a wide array of furniture to use for sessions. I did do one on-location session at the Big Barn and you can read about that session here: Pumpkin Princess.
This year’s annual vacation was a traditional road trip out to the Grand Canyon. We followed I-40 all the way out. The nice thing is that I-40 parallels old Route 66, so we got to stop at some historic tourist locations. You can read about the trip in the starting with this May 27 Blog Post: The Great American Road Trip Begins – Day 0.
Overall, this year was a good year. I had several sessions booked at Katsucon, I had several paid one-on-one cosplay sessions outside of conventions and two paid creative sessions, which isn’t too bad considering I only do photography part-time. I would like to start getting more paid creative portrait work beyond cosplay. I did raise my rates in November, which doesn’t seem to have affected my Katsucon bookings, but it remains to be seen if it will affect any other bookings. I’m going to try to do more themed sessions. I would like to get to the point were the money going out for sets, props, headpieces, equipment, etc. is balanced by the money coming in to at least have a zero-sum game, though I wouldn’t complain if I managed to make a small profit. Eventually, photography will become a full-time career but not right now, that is a retirement goal.
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