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Katsucon 2018 - Cosplay Photography Client Spotlight


(Now Booking: Anime Boston, click here to apply
Up next: PAX East, limited availability; booking opens 3/5)

I’m sure I speak for many when I say that Katsucon is, personally, one of the best events of the year to travel to. Every December, I open up booking for cosplayers to apply to work with me as their personal photographer for 20 or 40-minute intervals, and every year I get about 80+ inquiries of super talented folks. When choosing a client, I pay more attention to their costume, the quality of it/their past work, and the relevance of that costume to my personal style - rather than their Instagram or Twitter followers/their general online presence. In fact, some of my clients don’t have an FB or IG at all! All I seek in a client is someone with talent and excitement to collaborate and make some magic. From there I accept about 15 clients total (I try to limit myself to 5 shoots a day but this year it was more like 6-7), ranging from solos to groups. Below is a showcase of some of the shoots from my beloved clients, both repeat and new. 

Listen, I know you’re here to look at pictures, but I do want to talk a bit about Katsucon, because it’s a special convention for me. Though it gets more and more crowded every year, and admittedly quite overwhelming with the sheer number of people, I always feel this great sense of accomplishment after this convention. Katsucon, I think, puts a lot of pressure on cosplayers - I’m seeing this now, as I read feedback from the community this past week since the con wrapped up. A lot of people pour themselves into their work to showcase at this convention, and that can come with two things: Excitement, or Stress. I’m used to seeing a mix of both with people who come to me on the day of their shoot - of course, if you’re excited and satisfied with your work, then it’ll show and you’ll be exuberant and stoked - just as much as it will show in your face if you’re stressed, or maybe not as thrilled with how things look, or how your day is going. I know cons can be a coinflip for many and I’m so sorry if you didn’t have a great time…please try to remember you’re in this to have fun! In the end, I’m here to do one thing for you as a client: make you happy after all the  blood, sweat, and tears you put into your work (and trust me, with how sharp those needles are and how scalding those heat guns are, I know there’s definitely blood involved). 

After many years of traveling to do this, I understand conventions can be stressful. With all the people and the insulated community, there’s a lot of needless competition and inevitable “drama” that can really throw off your day. I get it; as a photographer and less of a cosplayer I’m certainly more of an observer and I see how the three days at a con can either be really freaking amazing, or really awful. But if you can put on that costume and I can get you some bomb photos for just twenty or forty minutes of your time, then I feel like–at least there’s that, you know?

I feel like I say this every year but this was my busiest year of bookings yet! Or maybe it felt moreso than usual, because for the first time in many years, I actually cosplayed for once! It was only on Thursday, but I was Princess Ashe from Final Fantasy XII (aka the best one sorry, go by The Zodiac Age already, what are you waiting for). The costume was made by several very talented women in the cosplay community I’ve met over the years: Coffee Cat Cosplay, Sarah Shortcake Cosplay, Gingerybiscuit, and MissKoumori. The quality of their work is outstanding and I was so pleased with the final result - I hope to have a formal non-convention shoot with her after I get a new wig because, well, I may not have taken the best care of mine and it wasn’t in the best shape. Oops. But wow–I didn’t even make this costume save for like, two tiny things, and even then it gave me such a window of insight to what all of you go through. And even aside from the costume itself being made–timing it right to put it on in a timely manner, and doing makeup, and making sure everything is in place… y’all work so hard! It was great to step into your shoes for a little bit and be reminded of all the stuff you put yourselves through to wear your work, or even someone else’s, to embody a character. I had a lot of fun, and I look forward to sprucing up Ashe’s wig and wearing her again when it’s warmer. 

While wearing Ashe on Thursday I got to hang out with some fellow togs which I rarely do (I’m definitely shy and often don’t meet fellow creatives at cons). Sorairo-Days/Sarah has been a long-time fave tog of mine. Her work is just so stunning! I also met Neil from Maison_Hikari/House of Light, and he was super funny, we had a great time and I was honored to be in front of their lenses even though honestly, I am a terrible subject and am extreeeeeeeemely uncomfortable in front of the camera…I’m sure I was not their ideal model but thankfully Thursday was quiet enough that we all just kinda played around. (I’m mad jelly of Sarah’s double skillz of being a good model and good tog…and you too Neil). 

Anyway. Less talking more pictures-and-still-talking-because-I-love-to-talk-and-gush-about-my-clients. Below are “Dealer’s Choice” images that I picked that I liked, before the clients get to choose their own favorites in their proof galleries.  Thank you all, as usual, so much for choosing me as your photographer. Katsucon is saturated with them and I’m thrilled to be behind the lens that captures your work.

I have something really special to say about Alexis, @sakythia on IG: she booked her Kida cosplay with me on Friday, and I was working on…like, maybe two hours of sleep. I was really not on top of my game appearances-wise and felt like a horrid zombie. It was bad, y’all. But when I showed Alexis her back of camera previews during the shoot - she literally had to take a minute because she was about to cry. She was so, so happy with them, and like–I dunno man, that heavyness in my dead no-sleep soul just totally lifted at her reaction. It completely turned my day around. It made me smile afterwards for so long that I like, wanted to just hug my camera close because …being able to make people feel that way about their work through my work is just very surreal to me. To collaborate with a fellow creative and make something that garners such a positive reaction from them it just really reinforces why I travel along the east coast to work with new people. Alexis, you are beautiful and thank you so much for choosing me. Your kind words during the shoot really turned a sour day around.

I often don’t have time for “for fun” shoots at Katsucon, but I did have time as usual to snag some shots of J Hart + Garnet Runestar in their Sakizous, Cowbutt Crunchies in her Seraphim, and a few of Sorairo-Days. Those will be published in the coming days.

Also, wearing Ashe got me thinking that I’d really like to get back into cosplaying this year. I’d love to join a group or pair up with someone, so if you’re organizing anything for future cons and have an open spot, let me know and I’d love to see if it can work out! 

Thank you for reading. Please go give these cosplayers a follow on IG or Twitter. Happy cosplaying!


Riley

CHEZPHOTO

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