Katsucon booking opens December 15th. (Read up on these policies as I have been getting a lot of inquiries lately.)
…Oh man, am I late to this one! But here I am. Life has been quite busy lately. Senior portraits, engagements, weddings…let’s just say my shutter finger has been happily sore!
But last month, I did something I should have done a long time ago–I went to Dragoncon.
If you’re reading this and you’re unfamiliar with this side of my photography career, I travel the east side of the country doing cosplay photography for clients at popular conventions. Dragoncon happens to be one of the largest cons in the country–boasting roughly 75k people a year in downtown Atlanta. Yeah. Over SEVENTY THOUSAND enthusiastic nerds from all different facets of fandoms; sci-fi, television, movies, comics, anime, video games…you name it, it’s at Dragoncon.
And man. Was it nuts. I have never been to Atlanta before. But I have heard much about the sheer amount of people that completely take over the city for 4-5 full days, and that was so freaking cool to me. Usually I just go to mid-sized cons so this was quite an experience. So, I booked my Airbnb, hopped on a plane, and off I went!
…Only to find, after 15 minutes of dragging my suitcase down the blazing hot Atlanta sidewalks from MARTA, that my Airbnb - a popular Victorian home, rated highly on the site - was the sight of a drug bust (and the Guy apparently on the run), frothing sniffing german shepherds and all. Erm…no, thank you.
So, what does one do when their fully-booked weekend of photoshoots on Labor Day Weekend in a completely new city with a fixed room budget do in this situation? Well, you could just suck it up and stay there. Chances are it would be fine. But I wasn’t about to take my chances with thousands of dollars of equipment on hand with that as a first impression. So, if you were like me, you would:
2) Complain (kindly)
4) Wait more
5) Profit! …eventually…
Thank goodness I didn’t book any pre-con shoots! PHEW! This ordeal took hours.
Airbnb’s customer service was a lifesaver, although a tedious one. I am so grateful I had a kind group of friends staying at a con hotel, so that I could kill time somewhere air-conditioned and close by to the con. Eventually they hooked me up with a different airbnb room in a beautiful home, just 10 minutes from the con. No one else was there so it was like having a house all to myself! Although I mostly kept to myself and after long days of shooting, all I can do is limp to a bathtub and then to a bed.
But one thing is for sure - Dragoncon is the first con that I’ve been to where I said to myself, ‘Dang… the amount of fun I’d have here might outweigh the amount of money I’d make booking shoots…’
Which means, perhaps count on me wearing a badge for once next year? Who knows. Point is, y’all know how to party, and I want in next time.
As for my shooting recap: I was only shooting from midday Friday through midday Sunday. I had a true savior for my entire weekend in the form of a pool, surrounded with lush greenery and adorned with twisting, ornate wrought iron, teeming with spiral staircases and stone fountains…oh, and the giant skylight filtering through my darling natural light. Yeah, you can imagine how I fell to my knees in gratefulness, having never been to this con before and coming upon that location through a referral. SOOO… mostly I frolicked in there with my clients, snapping away. Sometimes I dared to visit the ever-popular Hardy Ivy Park…which isn’t a park so much as a gorgeous stone monument. It was kind of like the Gazebo of Katsucon–a very coveted spot for every kind of cosplayer and photographer. I visited it a few times, when the right cosplay fit. Otherwise, you could find me lounging at the pool or sniffing around for some other spot to frame. I really like some of the other locations I’ve seen from other ‘togs at Dragoncon… downtown Atlanta certainly has its gems.
Anyway, you’re not here for a ramble (though I do it anyway)–ON TO THE PHOTOS!
Three days, 20 photoshoots, 30 cosplayers. What a weekend.
Note: Not all clients have been featured in this post. Groups (Hannah Alexander & Sakizo) will have their own blog post following this one later this week. Follow me on instagram to see more photos from the these and other privately booked shoots as I update it @ chezphotocosplay
COSPLAYERS IN THE ORDER FEATURED
Tham as Camilla, Fire Emblem
Sketch Cosplay & Shiva Cosplay as Han and Leia, Star Wars
Sky Pirate Cosplay as Balthier, Final Fantasy XII
BearSatan (Tumblr) as Blackwall, Dragon Age
Guhzoontight as Swashbuckler Tigger (independent design)
Lady Lee Cosplay as Goddess Vaporeon Ginjika, Pokemon
Anime Layer Cosplay as Sakizo’s West Witch
LyddiDesign as Crystal Mercury, Sailor Moon
Tera_Misu (IG) as Princess Jasmine
Kitancosplay (IG) as Ivy Valentine, Soul Calibur
Dossalinithebarber (IG) as Japanese-inspired Boba Fett, Star Wars (independent design)
Leechangchow (IG) as Japanese-inspired Samurai Kylo Ren, Star Wars (independent design)
Megan (no cospage) as Anya, Anastasia
Amanda (no cospage) as Princess Hilda, The Legend of Zelda
As a conclusion:
Dragoncon, despite being a sold-out con for me in the blistering heat of Labor Day Weekend in ATL, was filled with costumes that were right up my alley. I love original designs, Disney cosplays, Sakizo, and video games – and my weekend was full of that. All of my clients were brimming with extreme talent and dedication, and it showed in every photo. I found the locations to be accommodating and versatile for many different types of cosplays. I will definitely be coming back, whether or not I have a camera in hand. I’d recommend this con to any con-goer !
See ya soon! Stay tuned next for a special Hannah Alexander group and a gorgeous Sakizo group!