Shooting Wonderland with Angel Andringa
I had been emailing Angel back and forth for a while with inspiration ideas, shooting locations, scheduling dates etc. We met her for the shoot before the Edmonton Expo just so that we wouldn't have to get dressed up more than once, especially with a baby + glitter! Our Wonderland group consisted of Cheshire Cat, Baby Alice, and the Mad Rabbit. We met at Emily Murphy park in Edmonton and we walked around to only a couple spots and took a few photos. Everything felt too posed. The whole shoot felt a bit awkward, but we spent about 20 - 30 minutes with her before we departed.
What I learned on this photo shoot: Having a friend with you who knows the costume is very helpful and can remind you to pull down your wig, or lift your chin when the photographer doesn't. It is also a good idea to come prepared with a shot list and ideas of your own, just so you can get the most out of your character photo shoot.
What I would recommend to the photographer: After the shoot while we were waiting for her edits, she was very quick, but she only sent us a few shots and the pictures she sent us were unflattering. I asked if she had any better shots and she sent a short reply saying she didn't know any photographers who would do that, that it was unprofessional, and so on. I thought there might have been a miscommunication, so I replied with a more clear email, to which she ignored.
What the photographer recommends to me: No comment.
Shooting Ninetales with Capertured Photography
I met Rick for coffee before we had our shoot planned. He showed me his portfolio, and we talked about ideas we had for each cosplay. I was really excited to work with him. He has an urban edge to his work and I knew I was going to love working with him. He's easy to talk to and be comfortable around. We decided to do an outdoor shoot with my Ninetales cosplay; the first cosplay I made. He made me fall in love with the costume again, and I felt so awesome in the costume and in the photos. We did some shooting on an abandoned road of sorts, and then in a park filled with trees. My tails picked up burrs and leaves like no tomorrow. Totally worth it for some of the shots we got!
What I learned on this photo shoot: I cannot make serious faces. I cannot growl. I cannot look intimidating. This is important to remember for future cosplays - aim for cute characters, not fierce.
What I would recommend to the photographer: Yeah, I got nothing. Rick was very thorough in his art, and any complaint I had post-shoot was my own fault. He captured the character, not the model and he took different poses and risked some bones for the shots he wanted. He also gave me a wide variety of shots from the shoot. More than your average handful selected by the photographer, and he let me choose my favorites that he would edit for me.
What the photographer recommends to me: "I met Bree back in October of 2015, after answering her ad looking for a TFP shoot for her cosplay. I had offered to do a shoot of her Ninetales costume as I was in the beginning stages of rebuilding my portfolio. Bree was a lot of fun to shoot. Willing to do pretty much anything asked of her as far as goofy or serious poses. She rolled around on grass, climbed trees and even perched on a branch like a squirrel, all no questions asked. Bree's very positive and goofy attitude made the shoot extremely easy for me and I feel that will give her an advantage in the future. Any photographer who gets the opportunity to work with her will be more than pleased." - Rick
Shooting Mad Rabbit with Sagoo Design
Working with Rupinder was a different kind of experience for me. His portfolio consisted of Western Canada Fashion Week, including shots of the cosplay group organized by Vicky Lau. I decided to shoot Mad Rabbit with him. The first shoot I had scheduled with Rupinder had to be postponed because I was sick the first week. He was understanding and pretty chill about it. So we scheduled it for the following week. He has a studio in his basement with a white screen, tons of lights and equipment, and a cool logo graphic on the back wall. We did mostly glamour shots, which was fitting for my cosplay of choice. He was good with lighting, always adjusting for every shot. We did a handful of different poses, whatever could be allowed in the studio space we were in, with the style he was creating.
What I learned on this photo shoot: I am a model. JK I'm not, but I sure act like it. I need to practice facial expressions better.
What I would recommend to the photographer: I would love a preview of all the shots taken so I could choose the one's I like best, because quite a few of the pictures made me look strange. That's the difference between a photographer's "best" and what the client knows they like best.
What the photographer recommends to me: "You are very creative with your costume designs. I would recommend to you just to keep having fun with it and work more with creative posing. I wish I could have more time and a bigger space for a shoot like we did, but perhaps an outdoor shoot next time. Keep up the great work Bree, and I look forward to more great shots of you and your cosplays!" - Rupinder
Shooting Harley Quinn and Joker with #arkCAMphotography
Working with Don was a new experience for me. We had been emailing quite a bit back and forth before the shoot. We decided on a sexy Harley, boudoir style shoot with Danyella as my Joker. I have mixed feelings about this photo shoot. Danyella and I went into it with different expectations, so I think the shoot was a little more than what she wanted. That left me feeling awkward trying to achieve what I wanted. On the other hand, we were there for about three hours shooting, and he gave us every single photo from the shoot, plus edited a few.
What I learned on this photo shoot: If I do a sexy or boudoir style photoshoot again, I will have to shoot solo, or at least have a very clear understanding with my co-model. I need to do more character research for multiple poses. It's not fair to expect the photographer to pose you!
What I would recommend to the photographer: Not too much to be honest. He was comfortable to work with and very professional on set. He had asked extensive questions about the characters over email. But when we showed up and started posing, he didn't have many ideas for the shoot. We spent quite a bit of time referencing photos on google. Then again, more my fault that anything. The other thing was his timing with getting edits back. It took him quite a while to come back with seven edited photos.
What the photographer recommends to me: "You are super original and very organized in the characters you portray. Shooting with two people is a bit tough when both people didn't have the same idea for the shoot. One of you wanted to be more conservative and the other more open. Part of this is due to looks and comfortability and can't always be controlled. If you ever want to explore the sexy side of your characters again, you may need to start with the artistic nude shots and work into the costume. I noticed strong bra strap lines, and if you had gone bra-less prior to the shoot, we could have gotten better results. Over all, it was a lot of fun and I would certainly do it again." - Don
Shooting Nidalee with Bofoto Studio
Sabrina and I had been emailing a bit but no concrete plans had been made. She emailed me on November 11, a stat holiday, and asked if I was free. She had a cancelation and it was a nice day for a shoot. I checked the time and figured I had enough time to do my Nidalee makeup and get to the shoot. We met at a treed walking area by a ravine and bridge. In the fall weather it seemed a great spot to shoot Nidalee. I asked Danyella to come with me again as support. She proved very helpful, and I am so grateful, suggesting shooting spots and poses for me. Sabrina was really fun to work with, very chatty and curious about cosplay. She shot some cool photos that I was happy with!
What I learned on this photo shoot: Gloves are more important than a jacket. My fingers were freezing in the cold weather! Having a friend as support and jacket/spear holder is so helpful. They also act as a buffer to keep the whole shoot fun, while bringing new ideas to the project. Thanks Danyella!
What I would recommend to the photographer: Not much! Shooting with her was really fun, and having a friend along made the whole shoot a little bit easier for both of us. It was really spur of the moment, yet she was still professional and easy going about the whole thing!
What the photographer recommends to me: "I had fun shooting Nidalee on that brisk November day. The forest, paths and rustic surroundings made for the perfect backdrop. It was my first cosplay shoot, so I was happy just to have the opportunity!" - Sabrina
The photo shoots of 2015 were all wonderful experiences which taught me so many new things. I feel more experienced as a model in front of the camera and I feel that every photo shoot from here on out will be even more amazing! I look forward to working with new and old photographers alike.
If you have any tips or comments on how to pull off the best cosplay photoshoot, please comment below!