I don't consider myself a cosplay photographer. I don't discount it as a photographic genre, but in general, it isn't for me. It's someone in costume, it draws attention, it's a kind of role playing thing, and it goes against my introverted nature to do anything to shines the spotlight on myself. It's safe to say you'll never see me dressed up like that. But this blog isn't about me in costume, it's about the photography aspect of it. A costume, for the sake of wearing a costume, just seems a bit out of place to me. But a costume, when done right, is the beginning of creating a complete character. Coupled with professional hair and makeup, great lighting and a background that acts as the connective tissue between the character and the environment, well, that's when it gets interesting for me.
The session in question was only about 20 minutes long, and was intended as a way to preserve the memory of all the work that went into creating this character. The setting was Ann Morrison Park in July, and let's face it, it was hot. We had to work fast to keep the makeup looking good, and the fan that was used as a prop was especially helpful to create a bit of breeze.
As soon as I saw it, I thought of it as a fashion-inspired look, with a beautiful elegance to it. The makeup was inspired by the Star Wars sith characters and would generally have a darker more sinister feeling, but I decided to lighten it up but keep it mysterious at the same time. I made sure to position the trees far enough away and kept a shallow depth of field on the lens so that everything in the background would just go soft.
For this horizontal series, I focused on the colors and framing the face. I adjusted the tones so that the greens were not as bright and did not distract from my subject in the foreground. The soft background helped that even more.
For the vertical series, I kept everything a bit more natural. A lot of work went into creating this look and I wanted to photograph it more completely.
For the short time we spent together, this was a really successful shoot. The closer portrait style images are just gorgeous and truly capture the beauty of the character, while the wider images focus more heavily on the overall costume. Neither one is wrong, but I do tend to favor the more personal, up close portraits, so my preference is for the first series.
In the end, there was a balance struck between the two to create some variety while taking what would have been a smartphone picture and creating a memorable series of portraits and keepsakes.