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Otakon 2019 Client Spotlight

Otakon this year was the best one yet! From past clients to new, I had a blast capturing an array of talent in Washington D.C. Currently I’m booking for Dragoncon and Colossalcon East; shoots start at $150. You can send an inquiry directly to me here and we can set something up!

nihopalaoa

wigseverlasting

DriftingbyStars

Team.Deathmatch

cosmic_sea_turtle

elsewisecosplay

getsetpirouette

DisastertownCos & Appledress

Alana Owlet

heirapparentcosplay

DriftingbyStars

polyjuiced

wottermelons


Colossalcon 2019 Client Spotlight & Review

Colossalcon always felt like a wild cosphotography fantasy to me for years AND YEARS. Each time it would come and go, I’d stare in wonder and envy at these photographs taken in a dusky golden field with soft grasses and long unobtrusive horizons dotted with trees. It looked like everything I ever sought in my own location shoots, but wrapped up in a convention weekend with fun, waterparks, and lots of partying. Well, dang it, I was tired of pining!


It was finally time to make that happen for myself! So I hopped a plane to Ohio from Boston and ended up having the absolute time of my life. Oh, and I def used it as an excuse to party hard because my birthday was earlier that week. Treat yo self. (Spoiler: I did. It was worth it)


I went easy on bookings this time around (though anything feels easy compared to my 25 shoot weekend at Katsucon, oops) and went with the intention to place emphasis on FUN rather than WORK. When you’ve been going to cons as long as I have for JUST work (9 years…) it’s a hard thing to rewire my brain to do. I could have booked more but I told myself I wanted to give con life a try… and boy did it not disappoint.


The rooming situation was rad. I shared a suite with a group of wonderful, talented, supportive girls who mostly all Colossalcon veterans and showed me the ropes…plus they knew how to throw a rad room party to boot. Rooming with them was a dream! It’s always nice when your con rooming situations are secure and peaceful so you can focus on having fun.


I was the first to arrive on Wednesday night at the Kalahari in our giant suite, and the first thing I did after a gross flight was dunk myself in the jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. We’re off to a good start. I wish I had more to tell you but that was essentially it before I plotzed into bed. To be honest I was feeling pretty anxious about Colossalcon; it’s been four years since I’ve been to a new con and I’ve become so used to knowing the ropes that approaching a new landscape felt intimidating. Would I do it justice? What if it rains (spoiler: it really rained) or there arent a lot of spots to shoot? All I’ve seen in the past were the fields and the pool–but Thursday morning I woke up and scouted around to prep myself for the weekend, and the more I saw, the more jazzed I became. There were definitely a lot of fun, unique framing opportunities I could use to make the images my own. Don’t get me wrong. There are still plenty of Ye Olde Colossalcon Field photos, because I didn’t come all the way out here to not do that. But other than that, I’m quite happy with the weekend’s shots!!


ON TOP OF ALL THAT, I COSPLAYED MY BEST BOY WITH SOME RAD PEOPLE!! I am still GLOWING from this and it happened a WHOLE WEEK ago…I can’t believe I got to photograph Final Fantasy XII and cosplay at golden hour in the Colossalcon field. If you know me at all you know how much I love FFXII and this! was! a! dream! come! TRUE!!! My heart is so full!!!! It was such a magical time just chilling in this field surrounded by cosplayers and friends, shooting and posing and goofing off. It was so special to me! 


I roomed with new friends, I made some newer friends, I saw some old OLD friends from high school who I cherish so deeply. At night, I partied hard, laughed a lot, sang and danced, and did it all over again for three more days. I finally understand what a post-con depression is…I kind of wish I could just live at Colossalcon, and I know I share that sentiment with others. Y’all, I am definitely coming back. And you’ll see me at Colossal East too, with a Kalahari cup in one hand and a camera in the other.


For now, here are some of my personal favorite “photographer’s choice” images from the con which are just a handful out of my private bookings, plus one or two for-fun shots because I can’t resist photographing FFXII at sunset… Catch me next at Otakon, booking is now OPEN! ONTO THE PHOTOS!


First up is  _sammills on IG as Bakugou! She had such a striking profile and embodied him so well. She loves him a LOT and it showed. Shoot, she even made me a Bakugou stan by the end of it…

I absolutely adore this expression itsladylillie (IG) was serving me in this dramatic, rainy lighting. This shoot was during the thunderstorm, but we made it work with a trusty umbrella and this spot right next to the lobby awning!

Say hello to Colossalcon’s 1st place Journeyman winner, Balthier! Audrey/Ligerscout (IG) slaved over this beautiful cosplay and I’m so STOKED I got to photograph them in it and hang out with them all weekend doing FFXII shenanigans. SO HANDSOME. We snapped these in-between my private shoots because I couldn’t resist shoving them in those shadows!

I was a bit starstruck when Mica Burton booked with me! She wanted magic hour field photos on Sunday, and I was Big Anxious because beforehand a GIANT angry cloud loomed over us. But it cleared and we got this gorgeous lighting fit for her FFXIV cosplay! She was a dream to work with! Mica hmu when y’all do that sexie Wizard of Oz worbla group LOL #theresnoplacelikecolossalcon

I. am. so. glad. I got to WORK WITH THIS ANGEL!  Mimikobaker and I have been twitter mutuals for ages and getting to photograph her at Colossal was such a highlight. She looks so beautiful in the honeysuckle!

Remember that fiery Bakugou from earlier? Here’s sammills again in another BNHA cosplay! She has this amazing ability to transform.

Bethany of bep.cosplays (IG) serving real sultriness for the camera in her Shuten Douji cosplay! I was super stoked to finally work with her and would love to again! We had fun exploring new ways to frame the poolside perimeter.

How gorgeous radiant lovely beautiful is wannabedeli as her girl Aera?! She is such an angel!!! I guess also literally because Aera dies!! WHY!!! Now I’m sad. But I loved this spot to have a nice formal fullbody of her looking regal and lovely.

When jjpyropi chose me to photograph her legendary never-done-before full Akatsuki group, I was so down. When a lightning storm happened during it, I was…still, somehow, so down. We made it work! Look at them! They’re epic!!!

Meltingmirror serving me sexy demon boy looks *fans self* HELLO??? she was rad to finally work with. I’d seen her work over the years and when she hit me up I was stoked!!!

Commiaownist in his huge Monster Hunter build was a serious treat to photograph during golden hour on Friday. The lighting was so good to us and I had a blast capturing all these incredible details he poured his skill and time into. Just look at that armor weathering and the textures!! AHHHH!

Jackerufu (IG) is so ethereal in his Jaeha cosplay from Yona Valley of the Dawn. I was so happy to finally meet him and hang out - his full group was a labor of love and I was honored to be one of the few to capture it!

How. fricken. cute. is. CHRYSA. AS. PENELO!!!! Im dying. Chrysa (CautiousAmber) is a talented cosplayer and artist - she often is cranking out rad enamel pin ideas for all sorts of fandoms so check her out! We shot this spontaneously for fun while goofing off in FFXII and I’m glad I got to snap a little leisure shot in between bookings. She embodies her so well!

Ravracos split her shoot time with Mimikobaker - even though they weren’t cosplaying from the same series, I don’t mind if two friends split the shoot cost together to still get some rad photos for a fraction of the cost. Her armor and prop work were gorgeous.

Damn, what a weekend! Thanks for stopping by and go give these folks a follow. Again, I’m booking for Otakon now! Grab me while you can!


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


Hello HANDSOME.First up is suchamantis on twitter/IG! MK is cosplaying  Percival De Rolo from Critical Role. I don’t CR, but I’ve shot a couple of these cosplays and I have to say, these cosers are some of my faves. Their energy is just so infectious and the cosplays are always gorgeous. This is honestly and truly one of my most favorite cosplay portraits to date.

Sakizou! Sakizou! Gimme all the Sakizou! Giraffe_cos on IG booked her Sakizou Sleeping Beauty with me. I saw these shadows on the Gaylord entrance sign, and decided to play. I love the result!

Tanya…where do I start with this BABE?  Tanya (minacoleta) had never had a photoshoot before this. They expressed how anxious they were beforehand…but I took ONE shot of them and showed them the back of camera and they were like “oh”. Yeah, you’re killin it. THAT MAKEUP….GOD….

I loved tobirion(twitter)’s Cloud! I had fun with this background. Katsucon’s locations are soooo versatile for all sorts of cosplays, and this was like, the one variety shot I feel like I got amidst a con of marble and trees LOL.

Alana! Alana!! I love Alana. We’ve worked together for YEARS now. She forgot how much I LOVE Final Fantasy (idk how) and almost didn’t book this with me because she knows my brand is flowy stuff but I’m SO GLAD she did because UHHHLOOK AT THIS. Topaz Carbuncle from FFXIV.

More FF? More FF. When Day/heirapparentcosplay told me she wanted to do a Luna and Gentiana shoot from FFXV, I couldn’t wait. I just finished this game a month ago and SO MANY TEARS. She and her Gentiana (starlithearts on twitter) were just STUNNING together. I wanted to capture their tragic and beautiful bond in this composition.

OTP shoots? OTP shoots. Appledress and Disastertowncosplay as Robin and Chrom from Fire Emblem. Tori (appledress) loves this ship more than life and I was SO happy to do this for them. They’re soooo cute!

It isn’t a good con without Alexis on my schedule tbh. And getting to shoot her twice? Thank GOD. Alexis is one of my favorite humans. I met her last year when I shot her Kida at Katsu and she made my entire con with her radiance. Here she is as Princess Yue from Avatar. IG: sakythia

When JediManda sent me a shoot application I nearly fainted. I’ve followed her work for years. She’s an icon to me, and I adore watching what she and Alex (alexandra lee studios) create together. Getting to meet her was SO rad. Here she is in her iconic Anastasia ballgown. I loved loved loved working with her…it was her first Katsu!!

Lindseycreeps as Poison Ivy killin’ it in front of my lens! I always love working with her. She’s such a babe and always bringing something rad to the table in the cosplay realm.

Mel (riotswimbananas on IG) booked her Rift Herald cosplay with me and BOY OH BOY, WAS THE LIGHT GOOD TO US HERE OR WHAT? I was geeeeeking out over these shots. She looks SO EPIC!!! Big thanks to Maya for assisting, couldn’t have done it without you!

RaeScales and her group of nine girls as Sunset Dragon’s mermaid Eeveelutions was a wild ride filled with a killer combo of gorgeous babes + creative powerhouses. I haven’t had a group this big at Katsu in years but we killed it! THANK YOU LADIES! I loved the energy and teamwork you brought to my shoot!!!

thegeekyseamstress was the loveliest Sailor Moon! I love shooting Sailor Moon cosplayers because their makeup is always flawless and they’re an encyclopedia of poses. She was a joy to meet and work with. I love this spot for photos, if you can’t tell.

O hello again Alexis. She got that good-kush magic hour light which can be both VERY FINICKY and also INCREDIBLE. We shifted around this one shrub like 6 times til we found that perfect spot. Look at her! SHE’S RADIANT as Nadia from Arcana.

Cee (team.deathmatch) in her Blue Mage FFXIV cosplay. Yes. Give me all the FF’s. Wow, I shot a lot of FF this con. I am NOT mad about it. I def wanted to showcase Cee’s beautiful cape in this shot. I love the lining.

knit_freak_cosplay (IG) in her Sakizou Snow White! Isn’t her profile just gorgeous?! I love the sleeves on this cosplay too. The light was sooo good to us here. It was my first time working with her and I hope to again!

Sakizou Marathon WADDUP. I can always count on Jess  (animelayer.cosplay on IG) to bring something fabulous to me and she never disappoints. This is Sakizou’s Muscat Queen which we have deemed GRAPE LORD. Mood. Now I want some wine. Riesling plz.

MK again because I love this shot - another OTP photo! It made MK so giddy to have shots of this Critical Role ship of Percival and Vexhalia .

Here is disastertowncosplay in his Chrom from Fire Emblem doing an obligatory cape toss. Okay but look at that lining tho. I love this spot for photos because it’s unconventional but still poses a nice composition.

I am so sad I didn’t get a photo of Tabby (sailortabbycat) stepping on me as Aquanort… isn’t she a babe? She braved the cold cold cold Saturday weather for these but I think it was worth it. I LOVED her Aquanort, the silhouette she did for it is just perfection.

Kaimitsu in her Sakizou Knight cosplay was lucky enough to get that good kush magic hour light and I definitely am in love with this shot with the golden light, the gold on her cosplay, and the gold/black lines on the marble. This is one of my favorite shots of the entire con.

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



Otakon 2018 - Client Cosplay Photography Spotlight


Woah, it’s been a hot second since a blog post.

Otakon just happened this past weekend in downtown DC for its second year there, after being a longtime runner in Baltimore. But whether here or there, Otakon stands true to one thing: IT’S HOT.

But despite the trepidation about the temps, I was still looking forward to it. This is my third Otakon and last year I really enjoyed the versatility offered in downtown DC for locations immediate to the con. Even though the heat was a bit of a limitation for both myself and my clients, we still got some amazing images which you can see and read about below.

I’m from Boston so my trip to DC was yet another 9 hour bus ride, but actually it barely felt like 9 hours at all. We pulled into DC around 6pm on Thursday and I stumbled blearily into the Embassy Suites to be greeted by–wait what–free happy hour?! 

Yeah, this hotel ruled. I had a tequila sunrise that definitely lifted my spirits. 

This year I was also #blessed with a solid rooming situation. I found these two girls through the Otakon 2018 FB group and they ended up being super chill, friendly, and respectful. 10/10 would room with again.  After a much needed shower I met up with Cee of Ruinous Cosplay for a chat and before I knew it, it was dark out and I still hadn’t gone to scope out for any new locations! So off I went. To get all sweaty again.

Whatever.

I noticed on my taxi ride to the hotel that the library across the street from the con was under construction. That wasn’t a huge deal for me, but it did make me wonder about the  cos/tog crowds being denser in more desirable shoots areas. I was right. It definitely was cramped. But y’know what? If I can do Katsucon every year and get the images I do, I could do this. 

Here’s the thing about shooting cons with me: It takes me about half a day to figure out a formula of sorts. When I figure out that formula, I stick to it. Often that means clients are taken to the same places and there is some similarity among finished images. But that really doesn’t bother me; people aren’t paying me for my photos to be different from everyone else’s who also book with me. They’re paying for strong images, and if a spot works, I’m gonna plant my butt there and shoot.

Cons do not give time for me to casually experiment. My shoots are short and I need to know what works and what doesn’t and every year it’s a grab bag with weather, crowds, etc. Even Katsucon, I con I could walk through with my eyes closed, makes me anxious because you never know what the new year is going to bring in terms of crowds and weather that can completely thwart an entire weekend of packed shoots. So once I feel out a con vibe, I discover some new shots and angles for trustworthy locations (could be as generic as I Like This Building or as specific as I Like This Shadow in This Corner at 2pm Let’s Go There). Then, it’s smooth sailing for the most part! 

 Usually I try to limit myself to no more than 15 shoots a con, but I overbooked and Saturday I had nine shoots instead of my planned five (oops). Thankfully, I paced myself with one shoot every hour on the hour for the first half of the day, followed by a few back-to-backs to tie it up. In the middle of it all, Cee brought me some food, which really really made my day, lol. The last time I had a helper at a con to make sure I didn’t plotz was Katsu 2016. I forgot how nice it is to just have someone bring you a sandwich lmao. Cee is the real MVP (and now I have discovered Potbelly’s delicious shakes?!). 

Oh, and I even cosplayed myself too! I was Princess Garnet from Final Fantasy IX with Disastertowncosplay’s Zidane (he won Best Journeyman for it!), and on Sunday I did a quick chill shoot with my darling Heir Apparent Cosplay as Draco with her Hermione. We both shot with Marie Newby Photography and I’m looking forward to seeing what she captured, even though I’m reeeeeeeally not easy to photograph, lol. Honestly? I don’t know how you cosplayers do it. Sure, I have someone who is new to shoots from time to time but even then, it’s hard to find someone in this community who is Bad in front of the camera. 

I briefly ran into Adoyible Photography/Molly while we were both shooting in the (lovely) Henley Park Hotel. I had never met her before and we ended up chatting for a bit after some shoots and she said something really interesting that struck with me: When doing regular portraiture, people are so much more reserved. It’s hard to bring them out. But in cosplay, people are so open. So receptive and eager to portray. It’s as though being in costume allows people to bloom in front of a camera. And I thought that was a really beautiful thing Molly brought up. I do really love that about what I do. 

A quick ending note: With my wedding photography business picking up, I see cons being on the backburner for me, but I truly owe so much - if not, everything - to credit to cosplay for how I’ve grown as a photographer and a professional. No, really. I owe everything to this community from the bottom of my heart. And although I desperately want to go to more cons for fun now, and less for work, I’m not sure where to start. It’s ironic; I’ve spent 8 years shooting cosplay but when I want to dip my toe in the community myself, I feel a little intimidated and lost and timid. So, to counter that and hopefully connect with people in a way that I can have some fun at cons too and make new friends, I’ve finally made an FB for cosplay folks to add me! Please do, I would love to connect!! 

Now, onto the photos! These are a select showcase of a fraction of my bookings. Please give these cosplayers a follow. And connect with me too, on IG at chezphotocosplay!

-Riley

Up first is Appledress in her Mae cosplay from Fire Emblem! She was the perfect mix of sweet n sassy all wrapped in (a lot of) pink. Also, she won third place in Journeyman division for this! Congrats!

Sorry if there are typos I’m trying to type through my tears streaming down my face at how beautiful Heir Apparent Cosplay/Day is. She booked her Wedding Lunafreya at Katsucon with me but I would never say no to shooting this again. Her radiance emanates whenever she puts on a cosplay. Day always cosplays characters she LOVES with all her heart and it shows.

Okay I love this gal. I’ve worked with Alana Owlett for years now, and even though we don’t get to hang out outside of shoots, she just GETS me. Working with her is like butter. She is so seamless to pose. Also her mom is sweet and I’m sad I didnt get to say hi. Here’s a shot of her as Katara (Hannah Alexander vers).

Cee! I love Cee. I met her last year at Otakon when she cosplayed Prompto and since then she’s become my FAVE Promptie. This year she and her sister brought Alphinaud and Alisae from FFXIV and I will never say no to photographing beautiful elf people in the dappled sunlight. Check her out at ruinous cosplay on FB and team.deathmatch on IG!

Hello um Alexis is my queen. Here she is as Nadia from The Arcana. I met Alexis (Sakythia on IG) at Katsucon this year when we shot her Kida cosplay and when she reached out again there was no way I was gonna miss the opportunity. Her grace and regal aura showing through when she wears Nadia translates beautifully to the camera. Follow her!

Aw! Here is DisasterTownCosplay as Zidane from FFIX. He won first place Journeyman for this! Check out his twitter and IG for in-depth photos and explanations on his processes. I met him this year at Katsu when we shot his (also first place winner) Balthier.

Here is Day as Luna once again, this time a more conceptual version. Luna means a lot to Day and she wanted a shoot that encompassed Luna’s death scene in FFXV. So with some helpers tossing the sides of her nightgown and this glowing wall, we had some fun with fabric movement.

How cutie patootie is AnxiousArtemis/Sarah in her Critical Role cosplay? And how crazy is it that her gloves match her face paint color? I loved this cute character and just in the ten minutes we worked together we got some great shots.

Look at this tired royal good son. I saw Zeikani on the Otakon FB page looking for a ‘tog, and when I saw how excited and thrilled she was with her finished Noctis cosplay, I knew I wanted that enthusiasm in front of my lens. She did not disappoint! I love her Noctis and it meant a lot to me that she loved this cosplay so much.

Thank you CosmonautCosplay for being my only Sakizou light in this tunnel of Sakizouless darkness at Otakon (but really, where are all my Sakizous at?!). Her makeup was amazing and she was such a sweetheart. I’m so glad we finally got to work together!!!

Blue.IrisCosplay as Bee from the Bee and Puppycat finale in this rad spinny shot. Would you believe we got this on the first try? Hell yeah. Also those eyeballs are real apparently. no contacts here. Dang.

Remember that cute blue Critical Role coser a few shots up? Here is AnxiousArtemis again slaying my life as Black Cat. I loved how fun she was to pose and the hints of black marble throughout made this a fun shot to do.

Aw! How cute and poofy is allhailtheanimator as Sakura? I am so glad she booked this with me! She is always making something grand. I love the colors and volume here, and her makeup.


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!


Riley

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