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Katsucon 2019 Client Spotlight & Review


It’s overwhelming to sit down and write about the best shoot weekend of my photography career (9 years come Anime Boston). There’s honestly a lot to say. But I’m going to do my best, so strap in if you want to read, or scroll down if you want to see the pretty pictures of the rad people. 


25 shoots, three days, 40+ cosplayers, and one amazing convention. My heart and memory cards are full of the many talented creatives that graced my lens over these insane 72 hours. I’m still reeling from it! There is a massive sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that only comes with this type of work I do with cosplayers in specific. I shoot weddings full-time, and that is something I enjoy too, don’t get me wrong. But this is a whole different beast. 

Cosplay Photography is what I really love. Working with cosplayers is what I love. Making people happy with my images of their hard work and years of talent and months of crafting and sewing and pricking themselves with needles or accidentally burning themselves with a glue gun… when I can make them feel so great and make it all feel worth it, it fulfills me in a way nothing else does. I’ve found my niche and I’m endlessly, endlessly grateful to this community for allowing me to flourish and grow. I learn something every con. I’m endlessly fascinated by photography and the way my eye is always changing.


I cannot imagine my life without doing cosplay photography. I really, really can’t.


I think of the 14 year old girl I was at my first con, Animazement 2006, posing with my chocobo plushie and Kyle Herbert (DBZ’s narrator VA) and I think of the woman I am now, and I think 14 year old me would be stoked to know this is how she immersed herself into the con scene. Although, I think 14 year old me would have one criticism… “Cosplay more!”

So I did! And I’m going to. Watch out world. WATCH OUT. 


I was Prompto this weekend from Final Fantasy XV. Anyone who knows this massively popular game knows he’s a freckled ray of sunshine, the token comic relief of the group, and …the photographer of their beautiful and heartbreaking journey together. I love him so much, and some friends helped pool together their own Prompto cosplays so I could wear him. team.deathmatch on IG lent me her Prompto vest, and thesistersmischief lent me the accessories and t-shirt. And of course, the drop-dead flawless wig was made by retro.hime/Kait, who is competing in Iron Wig right now. I get by with a lil help from my friends :”“”) I made the pants, which I know doesn’t seem like much, but it involved  custom bleaching, dyeing, and many hours stenciling in some leopard print spots. I ended up feelin’ pretty proud of my work! LET ME HAVE THIS.


I had SOOOOOO much fun as Prompto (so. much. FUN.) . I didn’t shoot much in cosplay because I move and jump around a lot and mobility/comfort is key. But rest assured I’ll be cosplaying him a lot more, and thank you all who complimented me…it means a LOT, considering I never cosplay. When I looked in the mirror and loved what I saw, I felt like 14-year old me again, trying on Thief Rikku in the hotel room with my mom who took me to Animazement for my birthday weekend. :’) It was nice to feel that way again. Blonde FF characters are my brand…

Sam (sam_saturn) was the bEST and did a shoot with me of my Prompto which was SO SWEET and I really love them!! THANK YOU SO MUCH SAM!!! I FEEL VERY CUTE AS POMPO.



Onto the con!


Katsucon is a con I have a love-hate relationship with (lifts mic out to the audience of other photogs who yell in agreement). The ‘hate’ really just comes from the crowds, as I’m sure others can share the sentiment, but the Love outweighs it all tenfold. Especially this year. I had the time of my life here while still managing to shoot the most I’ve ever booked (and if I can curb myself, most I ever will book, cuz I dont wanna do that again LOL)!

 I decided for the first time ever to really, really make an effort to socialize - I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve spent the majority of these nine years not going to cons, but simply booking, shooting, and heading back to the airbnb/hotel. Cons have been strictly work for nearly a decade for me (LORD it’s scary to say that LOL what is time). Yet in this decade of work I’ve met the most amazing, compassionate people. People who make me laugh, people who support me, people who share my work with others and refer them to me. Nine years of culminated contacts and experience gave me a vast network of cosplayers to reach out to and make a connection beyond just twenty minutes in front of a camera. 

Thursday night I was 1920’s Prompto with team.deathmatch and heirapparentcosplay as 1920’s Cindy and Luna and it was a dapper time. Friday I didn’t cosplay, and also didn’t eat until 6pm, so like, that was fun (read: dumb). However I DID get to hang with Liz (comiclz) who I met for the first time and it was AWESOME I love her. Then I died because I had nine shoots that day.

 Saturday I rose from the dead for another day of nine shoots. I can’t remember what day Security told me to get off the bar for the laying-down-on-the-floor shots but they gave up after the first time and I was spotted by several people doin’ the Thing LOL. Listen, I have a brand, I gotta keep on brand, okay? I’m a simple woman. I see a subject, I put them on the goddamn floor.

 I was saved TWICE this weekend by an actual angel who brought me food and water and made sure I was taken care of - ruffledquillpen, thank you SO much. BIG SHOUTOUT TO HER!!!! I AM ALIVE BC OF THIS HUMAN BEAN. I am also stupid and need to Chill with my scheduling and limit my shoots next year. My soul is in the gaylord fountain, resting with Danny Devito cardboard cutout. 

And this year I didn’t just hang with cosplayers. I hung with photogs too! With some recent happenings in the cosplay community with photographers abusing their position, I wanted to pool together a little outing with female photographers in the cosplay community. Cosplay is so female-centric, fandom is so female-centric, and photography is perceived as something very male-centric, which is a stereotype I’m always trying to change. It was a spontaneous decision on Wednesday before the con to try and get together with other female togs, which I know is hard when we all have shoots and 874535 other things to be doing with 358397539857 other people. But it ended up being such a serendipitous and wonderful last-minute get together. 

On Saturday at 5, I met up with Sam (sam_saturn), Solita (solitadelacruzphotography), and Ayden (solaris.studios) at Starbucks and we geeked out over our clients and shoots and cosplayers and it was WHOLESOME. Next time I’d really like to set aside a real block of time and do a dinner or coffee date with more of the female togs!! I had such a great time talking afterwards with Sam as well, and look forward to stuff we have planned together for the near future. We went to Grace’s Mandarin for their amazing happy hour and had hot sake and sushi…honestly one of the highlights of my con! Good talks, good food, good sake…GOOD TIMES. I’d love to make it a mini thing at other cons too. Ladies, where you at!

Since last year I’ve started connecting with other female togs in the wedding industry and so transitioning that into cosplay, which has been such an intrinsic part of my life for so long, would be so cool. I hope to keep doing stuff like this in the future!!?!?!  It was great also to see Sarah (sorairo_days), Amie (amiephotos), Lisamarie (ethereous), Alex (Alexandra Lee Studios) and meet Emily (yoemilyrey)! LADIES, YOURE AWESOME, KEEP KILLIN IT!!! I’d love to interact more with female cosplay photographers (gender is a social construct so whatever, take that as you will). 


I had so much fun connecting with other ladytogs, that I’ve made a small FB group for professionals and hobbyists to join so we can organize get-togethers at cons, shoot days, and discuss technique/ask for help/anything under the sun. Please feel free to join. I hope to see more folks and interact soon! I know cons are so busy…but we always have time for coffee. And if you don’t, you need to make some, because you gotta breathe. 


I’m still reeling from a weekend of 25 booked shoots (including the two giveaway winners). This was the most packed weekend I’ve ever booked (why do I say that after every Katsu), which was great but also I’m planning on toning it down big time next year. I like to limit myself to 15-18 at most, but it’s so hard to turn away some applications I get in and past clients I adore working with. Plus, Katsu is so beautiful! It’s too seductive to say no to shooting! AHHH


Onto the client spotlight! This is a fraction of my bookings over the weekend of some of my personal “photographer’s choice” photos that I love. I know that’s what you’re here for so let’s GOOOO


I will be booking for ANIME BOSTON next. Booking opens on MARCH 1ST. Shoots will start at $125. Follow me on IG, chezphotocosplay, for updates. 


That’s a wrap, my friends. Katsucon 2019 was seriously a milestone in my career. And no, I’m not exaggerating when I say career. If it weren’t for cosplay, I wouldn’t be a full time photographer. I owe every ounce of my love to all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. THANK YOU!!! I cannot wait to cosplay more this year and attend many more conventions!! This is the start of something really great.


For now though, I really need to clean my room…


XOXOXOXOXO

RILEY


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