I’m probably repeating myself like some Sakizou-obsessed parrot… but um, have I mentioned how fulfilling it is to me as a photographer to work with these kinds of cosplayers?
Don’t answer that question, because I know I have. I’m at least a self-aware parrot.
I’m also certainly not unique for loving these designs to begin with. Why else would seamstresses slave away for endless nights, finishing the perfect seams, bedazzling the 1000th crystal, ruffling the perfect ruffles (clearly you can tell I sew by how I’m describing this, LOL) to achieve the level of ethereal elegance and fantasy that this illustrator imagines? There’s nothing like these illustrations come to life! Um. Then again, I’m biased.
There’s a certain chemistry I have as a photographer with these sorts of costumes; I tend to visually fall right into place with what I see in terms of these designs. And I find that the photos I take of these costumes are clearly my favorite–and in turn, become my best. I’ve become somewhat of a go-to photographer for Sakizou cosplayers to book with - and this is indeed the Literal Opposite of a Problem. (Honestly, I should probably set up a separate gallery page just for my Sakizou work! For now you can check out my Sakizou blog tag to view what I’ve done so far.)
However, I also find that photographing Sakizou costumes are the most challenging shoots I do. I found myself pondering this while editing this set, honing in on every detail–it almost became stressful, and when it comes to shooting/editing Sakizou shoots, this is usually the case. This is because these costumes are so, so overwhelming. The sheer amount of minute detail on these costumes calls for a lot of attention from a photographer - it demands them to give as much justice to the piece as the client deserves. I never want to deprive the viewer and the creator anything in my images–for Sakizou it is no exception.
I love when my work is challenging for me, and I love when it demands a lot from one image. For designs like these that have hundreds–literally, hundreds–of details strewn about that I know the cosplayer worked hours on perfecting, the challenge comes in how to capture all of that in one image.
Even then, with these photos that I ended up being really pleased with, I found that the costumes still weren’t shown enough justice… so I have decided to do a special publication of them on my instagram in nine-part photo-tile series for each costume, zooming in on every detail so that you can see just how much goes in to these. Check it out periodically this week on my insta: chezphotocosplay.
Sakizou cosplays are, as I said before, both a great challenge and an incredibly fulfilling experience for me! Katsucon is coming up and that’s when I book the most Sakizou of the year–and I am counting down the days. Hope to hear from you when booking opens December 15th!
Now, on to the photos!
In the order featured, find them on Facebook:
Coffee Cat Cosplay
Betsy Bon Bon
Hold the Mayo Cosplay
See ya soon!
Booking for AUSA.
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!
Now booking: Dragoncon. Three slots left per day.
See other con spotlights here!
Oh man oh man am I behind schedule! Usually I try to get my client spotlights out of the way within a day of the con ending. But life has kinda been kicking my butt since I got back on Sunday… I’m wiped.
Otakon, Otakon, Otakon. This was my first time in Baltimore ever. And man, were y’all not bluffing about the HEAT. I’ve spent my entire summer in NC and I didn’t think it would phase me. But man. It did.
In doing so, I locked up most of my shoots indoors. Yikes!, I thought to myself. I’m an outdoor shooter! What do I do?!
Treat this like Katsucon, is what I did–hotel shooting party! Yas natural light, come thru.
Thank you, Hyatt Regency, for not looking like garbage indoors. And also for having a Starbucks. (praying hands emoji) Looking forward to visiting DC next year for it, though!
So, I apologize, but I didn’t do as many edits for this spotlight as I could’ve. Usually I do more, but again…I hit the ground running after I got back on my train. Here ya go!
Featuring SorryContinue as Rinoa
Zhrelia Cosplay as Rengar
Rhoulette Cosplay as PROJECT: LE0NA
Milkb0x as Jolyene
Khaleesi Cosplay as Nicki Minaj x KH crossover
RedSonya Cosplay from League of Legends
MoChoiArt as Devil Homura
Let’s step out of our own world for a moment and into Vogue with this editorial-inspired, highly stylized engagement shoot of the most fashionable girl I know and her devilishly handsome, sharply-dressed husband-to-be. Yinuo and Jason met during grad school at NYU–and funnily enough, they are both from the same city in China: Wenzhou. And, to answer everyone’s questions - no, they aren’t working in NYC as models…they just happen to look picture-perfect all the time.
This engagement shoot is incredibly special to me, and let me tell you why:
Yinuo has been in front of my lens since I first picked up a camera in 2009. It was my senior year of high school, and I had just discovered my passion–photographing people, specifically portraits and fashion. She was one of my first muses, and I’ve only had a handful throughout my life so far. Yinuo and I would head out after school and wander into huge fields laden with the golden light of the setting sun, or weave through the trees in the forests of New Hampshire, to take portraits that I didn’t even know I could take–she was always up for any crazy photo adventure idea I had, and she helped me become used to photographing people and giving artistic direction. My photos of her have won local and national awards. Some of my favorite works are of her, and so when she asked me 7 years later to photograph her engagement with Jason, I couldn’t have been more thrilled at the thought. Conveniently enough I was already in Boston working with clients, so heading to NYC was just a ride away. I just love New York late April! It’s my favorite time of year to be there.
To be honest, I was really nervous about shooting these two at 30 Rock. It was a gorgeous, warm day in Manhattan after a week of rain. Spring was in the air. Not a cloud was in the sky. What was there to worry about? Well–the top of Rockefeller Center on a perfect Saturday afternoon was what to worry about. I had no idea what to expect with the crowds…it took me ages just to get in line and meet Y&J at the top. But I kept my cool; after all, I photograph artists and their costumes at conventions that harbor anywhere from 15,000-60,000 people nearly every other month…I’m used to crowds. But still, New York is a different ballpark in many regards. So, I held my breath on the long elevator ride up 850 feet, and knew that I had to be straightforward and patient with asking sightseeing folks to step aside while I shot.
To say my worries were for nothing would be an understatement–this shoot was a breeze (and not just because I was up 70 stories in the air). Sightseers were more than cooperative with moving out of the way, stepping aside and giving room for me to shoot, and even shouting congratulations and cheering for Yinuo and Jason! It was so cute, and very unexpected. To think I was ready to clamber over incessant crowds to get a shot that would still be littered with people–such was not the case! It’s funny how my years of experience shooting conventions translated so well into this shoot; I didn’t feel nervous or awkward at all letting people know that we were shooting an engagement. It was such a weight lifted off my shoulders so quickly, that it made the rest of the shoot at Top of the Rock go very smoothly. I was simply ecstatic at the images I was getting. Yinuo and Jason were SO incredibly beautiful together, too–but you don’t need me to tell you that. See for yourself.
After our adventures at Top of the Rock, we took a quick intermission before heading over to Central Park at the entrance to Strawberry Fields. Despite the massive array of beautiful sites Central Park has to offer, the areas around W 72nd offered the best of the best. I knew this part of the shoot would be my favorite, as my specialty is emotive portraiture intertwined with elements of nature. That’s been my niche since seemingly day 1 of picking up a camera and it’s stuck with me ever since. Yinuo, having been a resident of my lens before, knew this about me and was equally excited.
With the pond, the iconic Bow Bridge and proximity to Bethesda Fountain, this area had everything any couple could want in their ideal Central Park engagement session.
Or should I say every couple? Tons of photographers were out with their clients on this beautiful day! I loved seeing all the happy couples – especially some of the dresses the girls were wearing. But I gotta say, I think I had the prettiest clients. Haha. Just look at these two!
I’m obsessed with the light against Yinuo’s hair in that last photo! She’s like a beautiful doll. And Jason’s hair isn’t to be ignored, either–sharp and stylized! Neither of them spared a detail in their immaculate presentation. I knew they wouldn’t disappoint.
As the shoot wrapped up, we happened upon this beautiful horse-drawn carriage that Yinuo fell in love with. It was the perfect backdrop to tie together this fairy-tale engagement session.
It was pretty surreal to be the photographer for Yinuo and Jason’s engagement before they fly off to China to get married. I’m so thrilled with the results we got and I can’t wait to do more photoshoots like this in the future.
I am now booking for Fall engagements in NYC and Boston. Please contact me if interested.
Happy Mother’s Day! Mamas all around the world get to have their spotlight day to shine–but really, how can one day highlight all that mothers do?
My own mother means the world to me. She raised me all on her own (and did a pretty good job of it–I’ve been told I have nice manners) and has encouraged me my whole life to embrace who I am. Weird hair? No problem. Shaved hair? You look adorable! You like to dress up like video game characters and go to conventions? Let me make your costume and bring you lunch! You want to change your name? I love it!
I’m so grateful for my mom and all the creativity she has given me and helped me cultivate throughout my life. If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have pursued photography as passionately as I have. My headstrong desire to create is fueled by her feverish encouragement. My mom ignited the flame in me to pursue a life of art and self-fulfillment. I can’t express enough how integral she has been to my growth as a person and artist.
I wanted to celebrate Mothers Day by spotlighting a special mother-daughter relationship in town–Sam and Ella! Ella just turned 4 a little over a month ago, and is seriously such a cutie!!! She fell right into the role of a model in front of my camera! Our shoot was on a VERY windy day–but we made it work! The windswept look works for the pool and beach. ;)
The first bit of our shoot took place at the pool–I absolutely LOVE the matching black and white patterned swimsuits and bandanas! Sam’s red lipstick is just a perfect touch too. These lil’ watermelon slices had a blast in the pool even with the wind!
After our few shots in the pool, we dried off and headed out to Fort Macon with a vintage bike in the bed of the truck. Fort Macon, as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, is one of my favorite locations to shoot. The landscape is just gorgeous, I love the expanse of rolling dunes and vegetation surrounding the beach. It’s so open and perfect for photoshoots. I especially love this little path right off the parking lot!
These two are so stylish! Talk about an adorable pair.
Ella for president 2016!! Free DQ ice cream for everyone all the time. She’s got my vote.
We headed out to the beach to brave the winds. And oh, did we brave it! We almost blew away. But if it weren’t for the wind I wouldn’t have gotten this magical shot:
Ella looks like a painting, doesn’t she?!
We found shelter from the wind behind a dune and settled down on a blanket to play show-and-tell with Ella’s seashells she found along the way.
These two are just so gorgeous! Sam is such a beautiful mom. And Ella, just look at that hair!! Watch out Sam, looks like you might have a diva on your hands…
We said farewell to the relentlessly windy beach as the sun began to set, and enjoyed some ice cream on the drive home. Until next time, when the weather is warmer and the wind is kinder! Happy mother’s day to you and yours!