Once again it was my pleasure to collaborate with Dancing Imperial (IG, Facebook) on this shoot. It was a cooler summer day and local advisories about the rough wave conditions on the lake kept most people away. Fortunately for us, the wind whipped waves added to Lake Michigan's cosplay/transformation into the Pacific Ocean! A perfect backdrop to Moana.
The creativity in the cosplay community is inspiring. As I continue to expand my portfolio to include more cosplay, I look forward to seeing these creative influences appear in some of my other work!
Laura of Xanvai Cosplay, whom I photographed recently as Devil Mercy from Overwatch, was a pleasure to work with as usual. When I found out that Laura would be bringing her YoRHa 2B cosplay to ACEN (Anime Central) in Chicago, well I had to make some time for it! Generally, I have come to prefer, if possible, to do cosplay sessions outside of the overall hectic convention scene - even offsite during show weekend. While logistically easier to be at a convention, the hectic schedules can create issues. Laura was gracious enough to come downtown and make it happen!
As for the cosplay, this one is YoRHa No. 2 Type B, or 2B. She is the protagonist in the videogame NieR:Automata. An android created by surviving humans to battle machines that have invaded Earth, 2B has various weapons for battle, but her sword is the one with which most gamers and cosplayers are familiar.
The rest of the gallery can be found here.
Technical details. I wanted to try an infinity look because Laura's cosplay was monochromatic in color scheme. I felt the contrast would look nice in studio. Used one monolight in a 48" octabox as the key light on camera left, smaller reflector as fill, and two monolights on the backdrop. Most of the images were with my Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S around 100-110mm. I kept mainly to f/5.6 to f/7.1 for the session since I really wanted to keep her costume in focus.
For the outdoor session, we went to a more industrial area for the dystopian look (as in the game). The gravel and overgrown vegetation at the site was a perfect backdrop! Most of the outdoor shots were under natural light (cloudy day, nature's ultimate softobx) with some images relying on a speedlight in a smaller, portable softbox. The weather and wind took a turn for the worst, but we managed to grab a few images outdoors.
Not much snow in Chicago this past winter. I was fortunate enough to be available for a cosplay session to take advantage of a small snowstorm that came through the area in early March. From blowing snow to rays of light peeking through the clouds, we managed to put together a fantastic Snow White themed session. Thanks to Kitty for her quintessential Snow White (as well as for putting up with the cold and snow)!
Technical - For this session, I used my Nikon D750 with three lenses - Sigma ART 35mm 1.4, Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G, and Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 ED VR II. Although I brought portable lighting, the conditions weren't conducive to me trying to set up and get images of Kitty. Besides, as most photographers will say, a cloudy day won't ruin a session (unless you're aiming for blue skies) because it's a naturally large softbox! I kept the session from about f/1.4 through f/4.0 - I prefer shooting wide open and for the session it was perfect, as the woods became more fantasy-like with the snow and shallow depth of field. Looking forward to heading back out there sometime this spring or summer just to get a different vibe to a session!
Here are some images from various cosplay sessions during C2E2 2017. Convention hall sessions can be a challenge because of the crowds, varied lighting, and general "convention center" background. Luckily the McCormick Place Convention Center down by the Chicago lakefront has awesome large windows. I brought my portable softbox kit as the main light, a second barely diffused flash as a fill light, and the sun as the rim light (or the second flash instead) depending on the time of the session.
Really enjoyed these sessions and looking forward to more cosplay photography!
Technical details. For the images, I shot wide open to blow out the background to my liking - it was a convention center\hotel and partial city skyline that frankly did not look as appealing (nor did I want distinct details appearing in the background). Found a nice "quiet" area with less foot traffic to avoid the random passerby or photobombing the image. Primarily used the Sigma ART 35mm 1.4 and Nikkor 85mm 1.8G for these as they open up nicely.
May the 4th be with you!
Here are some images from a C2E2 2017 cosplay session recently. I know I haven't added to the blog in some time, hopefully that will change soon. I do find the cosplay sessions quite rewarding as a creative addition to my wedding, baby, and portrait work. Look for more cosplay sessions here, as I am working my way through getting the images ready for viewing.
As for this wonderful Disney Star Wars mashup group - from Snow White to Reyfiki to Darth Jafar - I had a blast! Looking forward to more creative outputs like this! The full collection of images can be viewed here.