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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.

First up is Surya (AtelierLicorice on IG)! Surya is wearing her Sakizou Amethyst. Oh my goodness, can I just say how much I adore this sweet girl?! I love keeping in touch with her work through IG. She came all the way from across the country to Katsucon, and I was watching her IG story on Thursday to find that she and her friend got delayed and stranded for like, 7+ hours in different airports due to bad fog in Chicago. Her luggage got lost! I was so terrified, but she still showed up to her Friday morning shoot with her group, stunning and ready to slay.

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.

Molly, aka MissKoumori, and I go way back. Sometimes I think about it and I’m like. Woah. Wtf. Molly and I met in 2008 at North Carolina School of the Arts summer program. She was a Visual Arts study and I was a theatre kid, but we were in the same dorm and bonded immediately over our shared garbage weebdom and love for FFXII. Ten years later she’s making my Ashe armor. WTF is time. That’s so trippy to me. Anyway. Molly is a beast at makeup and served some sultry realness to me in this sexy succubus cosplay from Darkstalkers! Yas babe.

Kaimitsucos / Taylor is a past client who booked another Sakizou with me because she knows that’s my JAM and if you cosplay Sakizou you betta hit me up! I loved seeing her again, and she always looks SOOO stunning in these tones. I absolutely adored this ice cream ensemble she made. Doesn’t she look incredible? These yellow panels at Katsu are a total shameless fave photo spot, so sorry not sorry, nearly everyone that I could envision there got a shot there.

Oh hey, what’s up Katsucon 2018 Best Novice Winner? Disastertowncosplay caught my eye on tumblr when they started posting their Balthier progress and it immediately stood out as one of the most intricate labors of love I’ve witnessed. Their attention to detail and craftsmanship just–yall. Look at that lace. Look at that collar. Look at that symmetry and embroidery. I am …so stoked that they entered and won. And even more stoked they booked with me! This was their first professional, formal shoot and they were such a dashing sky pirate. *_* Follow them on IG, disastertowcosplay!

Lauren/ xaretsayax on IG came all the way from the UK to Katsucon, and I am so glad she booked her beautiful Mercy cosplay with me! I’m also so relieved all her pieces arrived in one piece. I’d be so nervous traveling like that with such an intricate cosplay! She was simply ethereal in front of the camera, and though it was overcast mostly, the sun did break out in intervals to cast some golden warm light on her. She was so graceful and a perfect embodiment of Mercy. Thank you for booking with me, dear!

Um…Okay, Nikitachitaka_cosplay, please wife me right now. Dang.  I was cracking her up the entire shoot because I kept having to stop the shoot to fan myself. DAYUM. She’s serving this hunky realness as Trevor Belmont from Castlevania and I want her to carry me off into the sunset like, yesterday.

lacee_girl is also wearing a 2B design by kairih_ on IG, from Nier Automata. Man, I gotta play this game. It’s such a fan favorite right now. I loved these two designs! Thank you for gracing my lens!

Jen/ somaruyoh on IG booked her Drakengard cosplay with me alongside her friend lacee_girl, pictured below. Splitting a shoot cost with a friend is a great way to save some extra money and you don’t even have to be cosplaying from the same series, as exemplified here! Jen was great to finally meet in person after following her progress for a while on IG.  She is wearing a design by kairih_ on IG.

Maya, myratheon cosplay on IG, had been working on custom-dyeing this Padme lake gown when she contacted me to book. I love the ombre and the sunset tones here - this late afternoon Sunday shoot ended up being a dream come true with these tones and lack of crowds.

Here’s Coffee Cat Cosplay and Sarah Shortcake Cosplay in DriftingByStar’s Hilda and Zelda designs ! This was part of a larger group which I’m excited to edit more of. I met Cat and Sarah at Katsucon 2016 in their full Love Live chocolate hats group and from then on we’ve been in touch and become good friends. I really wish I lived closer to them; Cat, Sarah and their squad are all lovely people who are both funny and extremely helpful in the cosplay community. They also worked together to make my Ashe blouse which turned out just perfect.

Sara, @RinceGoBragh  on IG, was gorgeous and regal as Rowena Ravenclaw and we had SO much fun in the topiary outside. It’s always tough with the crowds but with some creative framing and right timing anything is possible. She told me she has a few Elsa cosplays and so we hope to do something fun next year at the Ice Castles in New Hampshire because (bangs fist on table) i’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO SHOOT AN ELSA COSPLAY AT THE ICE CASTLES!!! I love this blue on her, she is sooo regal!

I met MK last year at Katsu when they booked their Victor with me.  They were so lovely and graceful, and I found out they’re local to Boston, so we got to meet up for coffee while the weather was still warm! Here they are as Dia this year! I loved their interpretation of the wig. MK has a tumblr where they post their amazing fanart and original art, and I’ve commissioned them since to draw my OTP–and oh my lord, they killed it. It might be my phone background. Thank you MK for my life.

Aria as Fran and their sibling, Mica, as Vaan were a huge highlight this weekend. These two know how much of a dork I am for FFXII so they booked their group with me which was such a treat. I really don’t know that much about current con culture nowadays because I’m kind of an old-school hermit that replays the games I did when I was like 12-14 years old, so… being able to shoot something I actually KNOW about is fun LOL. Fran is purpledemoncosplay on IG and Vaan is chibidudecosplay on IG. Go give them some love! Thank you for gracing my lens with your sky piratey goodness.

Hugely unpopular opinion but, Vaan is my favorite character. Like no, not in FFXII, not in video games , just like, overall–in general, Vaan is my favorite character. I’d go on, but I won’t. Mica is such a cute postgame skypirate Vaan and I was thrilled to shoot with them again formally.

OMG…Lydia. Not gonna lie, but Sunday I was a hollow shell of a human being. My feet hurt and boy was I tired. But I turned around to see her for our shoot and immediately just like, lightened up. This relaxed and cute Sunday cosplay made my DAY. GUYS IM SORRY I CANNOT ACTUALLY GET OVER HOW CUTE SHE LOOKS AS PRINCESS PEACH I had to keep telling her that. It just. It just made me smile. Please look at how cute she is!!! Lyddidesign on IG.

Here is heirapparentcosplay, aka Day. I love her so much even though she GETS ME UP SUPER EARLY to shoot her cosplays every year. No I’m jk. Thank you for giving me a reason to wake up you beautiful PRINCESS. Here she is as Lunafreya in her wedding gown. I loved that her friends joined the shoot with her early that morning to throw flowers for her dream shot. ;_; One of my favorite things about cosplay is seeing how it brings friends together like that. I think it’s so cute.

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!



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