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Animazement 2016 | Client Spotlight | NC Cosplay Photographer

(NEXT CON: Otakon. Booking opens June 10th at 5pm EST.
THEN: Dragoncon. Booking opens July 20th.) 

Animazement, Animazement, Animazement… my, you hold a dear place in my nerdy heart. Ten years ago–yes, an entire decade–I attended it as my first con back when it was in the Sheraton. AZ has always been on my birthday weekend, so in 2006 my mom made special plans and got us a nice room nearby, helped me make my first cosplay (Thief Rikku from Final Fantasy X-2, of course), and got me as many roast beef sandwiches that my heart desired that weekend. I can’t believe that was back in 2006… WOW. I had a blast, even though I unknowingly crashed an FF7 shoot in my excitement to be with other cosplayers. (No, like, I literally crashed the hell out of it because I didn’t understand how series shoots work for multiple games–I thought I had missed the FFX/X-2 roll call for the shoot and so I ran in and joined a bunch of Clouds and Tifas. They were merciful on my little teen self, bless.)

So, naturally, AZ has always held a dear place in my heart. Admittedly, being here always makes me miss cosplaying. One day I hope to get back into it. But, I digress! Below you will see a few teasers of my sold-out weekend shooting at Animazement in Raleigh, NC. Stay tuned for more, and follow me on instagram - chezphotocosplay - for frequent updates of my shots from booked cons.


Up first we have Youtuber/Gamer/Streamer Slothymama on Friday as Galadriel from LoTR! Honestly she had the role TOTALLY down, absolutely epitomizing the strong-willed grace of this character. Also, she was super rad to hang out with. And, to top it all off, she surprised me with a delicious little chocolate cake at the end of our shoot because she knew my birthday was Saturday! How freakin sweet was that?! It was delicious–a lucky guess with the dark chocolate. 

Next we have Patricia (patches_smile on IG) and her friend who booked together, splitting the shoot as a Sakizo design and an original illustration based off of a Demon king. They were fun and easy to work with; I always love working with people who split the shoots with friends, even if they aren’t cosplaying ‘together’ technically. The energy is always high. Also, y’all know how much I love me some Sakizo. Patricia told me that she hammered out that gorgeous, elegant costume in less than a month–she made it after she knew I could photograph it, which is super flattering. :’)


Following this we have Molly aka AoKoumori. She won my free giveaway! I worked with her last year and she’s always a BLAST to be around. Like, I live for her goofy facial expressions. Also she has the prettiest dang smile. She hand-dyed the fabric herself in this May cosplay from Guilty Gear, too. Molly is also getting married soon, and Animazement is her bachelorette party! What a fun idea for the newlywed nerd! Lol. Love you Molly. 

Here is pyrefly on Instagram as Genos from One Punch Man. He was such a darling to work with, and it was impossible to get a bad shot of him. He is just so good in front of the camera! And very patient, too, as we had a few run-ins with location issues. I really loved working with him and hope to again soon.


Now we have a client that was referred to me by the lovely amazing Josie aka Guhzoontight who I photographed at PAX East. Here’s Kristi, aka The Geeky Gamer Girl who, if you were also at PAX East, most definitely saw because her cosplay is rad as heck. I’m so glad Josie referred her to me because Kristi was a blast to work with. Also, I remember seeing her costume from PAX and wishing SO BAD that I could’ve photographed her. So, when she booked me for AZ, I was SO EXCITED! Honestly I freaking LOVE this cosplay design of Nova from Starcraft. The colors are my favorite, and those adorable roller derby wheels remind me of a tasty candy that I just can’t place. She was so easy to work with and I can’t wait to show you more from this shoot!


Here is the beautiful Jenna Lynn Cosplay wearing the Stygian Zinogre armor set from Monster Hunter. When I saw she decided to book her MH costume, I was really excited, because I had so much fun photographing Guhzoontight’s. This was a great cosplay, although I have to hand it to her for being a trooper in it due to the heat. Stay tuned for full-body images.


While leaving a photoshoot I ran into this My Fair Lady cosplayer, sharpestitches on Instagram. I usually don’t take hall shots/shots on the move in between bookings, but I saw this and couldn’t resist snapping a quick portrait. I love her big hat!



I loved this shoot of the absolutely stunning Katherine aka Katinka Cosplay as Luka from Vocaloid. She was great to meet and her costume was gorgeous. I’m so glad she booked it with me because this is right up my alley. She is so elegant! And she has some big cosplay plans coming up so you’ll definitely want to give her page a follow.


And here we have Regena of House of Mint & Mint to Be Makeup as Princess Serenity. I have known Regena since I was like, 16 or so–she cosplayed Fran from FFXII in 2009 with me when I crossplayed as  Vaan. Fond memories! Regena is a talented MUA as well as a veteran cosplayer. She’s definitely a go-to for con bookings if you need your makeup done by a true professional. Remember, makeup is part of cosplay too…don’t skimp on it! Look into booking her for your next con. 


Lastly, I ran into Smash Cosplay and Useless Materia Cosplay in their Disney princess costumes based off of Hannah Alexander’s artwork. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get ahold of their full group, but I had to snap a few photos of these ladies. 

As a conclusion:

Animazement, despite being a sold-out con for my shoot bookings in the blistering heat of Memorial Day Weekend in NC, was surprisingly enough my most relaxing con. Probably because it wasn’t in the bitter cold like Katsu and Anime Boston, or in the challenging locations of the seaport like PAX East. I couldn’t believe that I actually had the energy to party and go out Saturday night on my birthday, but I did. Boxcar Barcade in Raleigh was an awesome place to celebrate. 

I really really liked shooting AZ this year. My clients were kind and easy to work with and I’m very happy with the locations around Animazement and the food options in the area too. Overall I give Animazement a 5/5 this year for shooting. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it next year, but who knows where I’ll be! For now, though, I am based in eastern NC and do on-location photoshoots for cosplay in the area. Feel free to contact me.


Sam & Ella | Mother’s Day | East NC & Atlantic Beach Family Photographer


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!


Springtime Florals - Portrait Session | Maxime - Boston Portrait Photographer

Hard to believe that just a little over two weeks ago, I was shooting in a flurrystorm in this exact spot–the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, shivering my bones off! Boston, I just don’t know what to do with you. Soon I’ll be back in NC where the weather is consistent! (Consistently hot, sticky and humid…)

Nevertheless, this weather was welcomed with open arms by everyone! All around us, Boston was in bloom. The sun was out, it was actually above 60 degrees, so what better day to pick to have a portrait session than this one?

Maxime graduated in 2014 as a fashion major at MassArt - her aesthetic and final collection was an homage to whimsical, wispy, almost fairy-like drapes and colors with a strong earthy undertone. Her collection definitely belongs in a chic indie boutique.  Her personal style, in turn, is much like her collection. Free People and Anthropolgie are two of her favorite brands, and she had this beautiful dress from FP to match the lovely spring day. 

Enjoy this clean and springy photoshoot! 

Maxime actually made the delicate flower crown she’s wearing in this shoot! Keep an eye out soon for her etsy store where she will be making them and taking custom orders. 



Wisteria and Sunsets - Blackwell & Jami - NC Couples Photographer

Everything here in eastern NC is blooming so quickly that I can’t seem to press the shutter fast enough! Springtime has inspired me beyond belief.  Upon my arrival back home from my two weeks in Boston, I was taken aback by the volume of wisteria that greeted me. I was determined instantly to take advantage of its short lifespan before heading back up north again next week.

The problem was, finding the right place in New Bern to do it. There was only so much driving around we could do… Wisteria blooms in such sporadic places. And it’s usually up so high! Sometimes we found it in sparse collections on the side of the road, and mostly found it clumped together about 20 feet up on a tree. But in a last-ditch effort to find some, we did! Resting on the side of the road between Lowe’s and WalMart, we found our perfect venue for a springtime couple’s shoot bursting with color. 

Blackwell and Jamie were perfect for my vision! They were naturals in front of the camera and I enjoyed every moment. Blackwell recently closed in on a new house, and they’re both very excited for the transition, as I’m sure their puppy dogs are too! 


One of my favorite things about photography is how well a world can be created simply by how you frame it. Would you guess that those images were taken off the side of the road on the way to a Walmart, with cars constantly passing by? Nope! The thing about photography is you have to think big by thinking small first. Condensing an environment to four corners can help expand it into something so much more than what initially meets the eye. 

As the lighting tilted further towards the horizon, we took the second half of the session to the farm at Anth’s house. His parents just installed two awesome new swings on a huge tree, and I knew it would be perfect right as the sun began to set!


I live for that dreamy, soft light! It was a fun afternoon well-spent with these two. Book me for a session, as May is getting filled up with shoots left and right. 

Til next time,

Riley


Anime Boston 2016 - Doll from Black Butler - East Coast Cosplay Photographer

(now booking: MOMOCON)

Anime Boston! My first love. Where it all began, six years ago (I…FEELOLD!!!!).

I know this lil’ town like the back of my hand. Or I did, until I left for a year and came back, and everything changed. Construction here, construction there, WHERE DID THE FOOD COURT GO? I hope you all survived. I heard a lot of bad reviews from AB this year, and I can’t really blame them. It sounded pretty awful. The weather certainly didn’t help… I hope you all stayed warm and dry, and somehow found food that wasn’t at L’Espalier (what was up with that food guide map, AB…? L’Espalier, really?)

Anime Boston, as far as shooting goes, is tough love. Security at all my favorite locations was hell-bent on keeping me away. I’m sure many of us, cosers and photogs alike, can relate to dodging security at the Christian Science Center (who was completely fine with normal people/tourists taking photos there, but as soon as cosplayers got there, SCRAM). Cute, real cute. 

THANKFULLY, I found solace in one location that was my true love for the weekend: The church at Copley Square. 

Here is where I shot the beautiful, wondrous, talented Angela of FaeDustDesigns on Instagram. She cosplayed Doll from Black Butler. For those of you who know me, or actually read the ramblings I post on this blog, you know I adore designs like these. Elegant, unique, and intricate. Yes x1000, this stuff is my jam. We even managed to get a shot in the coveted library! Just one though. They shooed us away real quick…

Angela brought her adorable parents along, who were super helpful and encouraging. I loved the energy they brought! 

Doll is a circus performer in the anime Black Butler. She specializes in aerial ballet–and it just so happens Angela herself is a professionally-trained, classic ballet dancer and gymnast! This was a match made in cosplay heaven. 

But enough of my ramblings–CHECK OUT THE SHOOT BELOW!


What a beauty! I loved everything about this shoot! I’m headed back up to Boston before I know it for PAX East and Sakura Matsuri in NYC. Message me to set up a shoot there, or book me in NC for an on-location shoot, and for Momocon at the end of May!

-Riley

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