Chicago

Michelle + Kevin | Wedding by Anthony Nguyen

Two hearts in love need no words.
— Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Congratulations to Michelle + Kevin on their beautiful wedding! An absolutely gorgeous, wonderful couple, I was honored to be invited by Michelle + Kevin to tell the story of their wedding day. I knew it would be fantastic, as I had so much fun capturing both Kevin's surprise proposal at the Chicago Botanic Gardens and their Olive Park engagement session. From the party bus shenanigans to the traditional Korean pae baek to a sparkler send-off, Michelle + Kevin's wedding was full of love and passion.

Thank you Michelle + Kevin for allowing me to capture your wedding day. All the best in the next chapter of your wonderful love story!

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Details
Venue: First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights (Ceremony)
            Metropolis Ballroom (reception)
Stylist & MUA: Diem Angie Co.
Florals:
Ceremony Musician: Heavenly Harmony
DJ & Reception Music: Admit One DJ

Moana | Cosplay by Anthony Nguyen

I am Moana of Motusi. You will board my boat and restore the heart to Tafiti.
— Moana

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.

YoRHa No. 2 Type B | Cosplay by Anthony Nguyen

Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped...in a never-ending spiral of life and death
— 2B from NieR: Automata

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.

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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.

Snow White in the Enchanted Forest by Anthony Nguyen

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!


Model: Kitty Wolf (of Princesscapades Princess Parties)
Location: Caldwell Woods
 

Astronaut or Virtuoso or Writer? | Newborn Session (Preview) by Anthony Nguyen

Adorable baby boy - 14 days old and quite the set of lungs! Although you wouldn't be able to tell from these sneak peek images! I can't wait to share more images, which will tell the story behind the title. Such a fun and easy-going family. The parents chose my Year in the Life collection so I'll be seeing this little guy for a few more sessions over the next year. More adventures to come!

Suzanne + Pedro | Engagement Session at Olive Park by Anthony Nguyen

Such a gorgeous and fun-loving couple! Suzanne + Pedro wanted an engagement session here in Chicago to reflect what she described as "Latin Romanticism." The weather had been a little touch-and-go during the week leading up to the session, but fortunately the rain predicted for the day didn't happen.

Even though Suzanne + Pedro had a previous engagement session with another photographer down in Miami, they wanted a session here in Chicago to commemorate the significance of the City in their lives. I believe all couples should consider an engagement or couples session with their wedding photographer before the wedding. It's a less stressful photographic experience for all involved. Plus they get to experience any of my quirks!

Both graduates of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Suzanne + Pedro met at a Latino Law Students Association (LLSA) dance. Keeping this in mind, we discussed telling their love story in three parts with images reflecting three different moments in their romance. The story would unfold at Olive Park by the Lake, Northwestern University School of Law, Union Station, and Buckingham Fountain.


The Meeting

Suzanne mentioned first meeting Pedro at a LLSA event/dance - so I was not surprised that when I asked them to embrace they naturally began to dance!

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After graduation, Pedro moved back to Florida for a year, which set up the next chapter in their love story.


The Departure

I love Union Station - it offers such a dramatic setting for engagement or wedding photography.

Outside you have the symmetry of the columns...

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...and inside you have a large open space and the wooden benches that give off that classic transportation hub vibe!

Suzanne + Pedro were so enthusiastic about acting out the moments of their love story - they naturally fell into what Suzanne referred to as the "telenovela" personas.

While the adage is absence makes the heart grow fonder, nothing fans the flames of passion more than anticipation of a lover's return.


The Passion

Olive Park has such great views of the Chicago skyline! Plenty of open spaces and benches to lounge. The park was pretty quiet and we were basically the only ones in the observation area.

We wrapped up the session at Buckingham Fountain. I love the Fountain at night because the Fountain's lights and the lit up city make for a stunning backdrop to any image. A gorgeous end to a fun filled day!

Thank you Suzanne + Pedro for allowing me to tell your love story! I'm looking forward to your wedding day!