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KATSUCON 2016-Client Spotlight #1-East Coast Cosplay Photographer

(now booking: Anime Boston, Sunday only)

Man, how time flies. It’s been a super busy couple of weeks editing and shooting (exciting shoot posted yesterday of one of the Lion King broadway cast members!), and I’ve finally caught up with some client edits. I admire all the photogs who get their work out so quick. Props. 

I want to use this blog to talk about my experiences as a cosplay photographer, but also to highlight my clients and how fun it is to work with them. I had a really fun time and it was my busiest year yet, so I want to share my experiences in a way that is more than just pictures, if anyone cares to read .

Here are some of my favorite images from my shoot at Katsucon. This is spotlight #1… expect 2 or 3 more! 


Here is Anee, aka Khaleesi Cosplay as Aerith from FFVII. What a beauty! We shot at the magic hour on Thursday. She was SO BRAVE, it was so bitingly cold. I love when my clients are just determined as I am to get a good shot even if it means suffering a bit. I know all cosplayers who ventured outside were just as cold and badass. But Anee was smiling and enthusiastic the whole time. I brought I blanket for her and other clients for the chilling winds over the weekend, and was glad she could bundle up in it in between shots. I think she makes a stunning Aerith! My favorite thing about her are her eyes, they really stand out. 


Ok so. Ashley. Ashley/Seerofsarcasm Cosplay was a blast to work with. I am sad it only lasted a measly half hour. She was SO down for any kind of weird pose, as she wanted this character (Hex Maniac from Pokemon XY) to be REALLY creepy in this shoot. She was just awesome. I’d be like, “hey ashley, can you bend over backwards and crabwalk up these disgusting gross stairs like you’re in The Last Exorcism?” and she was like, “I thought you’d never ask”. I adore her. Also …can we just talk about how pretty her hands are? Look, might sound weird, but as a photog I spend a lot of time looking at people. Especially when editing. Those are some pretty hands. 


I am so glad Jess, aka Anime Layer Cosplay, chose to book with me. I saw she was doing a Lapras Cowslip and really wanted to work with her. In case y’all don’t know–elegant costumes like these are my jammmmm. I began photography through fashion work so I have a penchant for elegant, unique, intricate costumes. Ginjikas are the best (so, hint hint, if you’re looking for someone who is super down to shoot your Ginjika, I’m ya girl). Again, props for going out in the cold. She was so very kind and was a natural in front of the camera. I loved her serene expressions, and the blues of this costume were everything. 



Here is Fiona as Velour from Fire Emblem Fates. She was so cute! I loved this costume. Even at the high-chaos noontime on a Saturday, she didn’t let anything get to her as we clambered through crowds. I wish I could’ve spent more time with her, but I think we got some great stuff. I’ve been trying new editing techniques with her and rather like the results. Seeing her in this costume made me want to cosplay again (I mean, I always want to cosplay,) the costume design just looked so cute and fun!


Oh snap, it’s my girl Jobielee Cosplay as Tharja! What a babe. She loved these photos and that makes me super happy. All I want is for my clients to be happy so when I see someone just freak out over their shoot it’s the best feeling. Jobie and I used reference photos for poses and she was a total natural falling into it. She talked briefly on her instagram about how this cosplay helped her step out of her comfort zone and have a little more fun showing more skin. I think she was very confident and it exuded in how we worked together.

Here’s Jobie as babeporeon. I mean, Vaporeon. Another Cowslip design. Give me all the Cowslip ginjikas to shoot! Waaaaugh I loved this costume. Again, I was whining to her about how she was making me want to cosplay. I loved this design and she executed it beautifully. The tail, the armor, the scales, the WIG !!! Love it.

 Honestly Jobie is such a nut. Here’s a derp of her to embarrass her. No I kid. I know she loves it. 

she is beauty she is grace she is mrs. gazebo.



And last but not least, Rey Morado Cosplay as Pharaoh Atem! Y’all, I can’t tell you how integral YuGiOh was to my childhood…and teenhood…and adulthood. Nevermind, you get it. I loved her slight spins on this costume, such as the peacock feathers in the wig (which is boss, by the way, it’s hard to make this wig work but she did it, DANG). 9am Sunday Shoot while all of you were panicking about your bags and checkout = no crowds = yay. SHE LOOKS SO REGAL! BOW TO HER!!!!!

Ok folks, that’s all. I’m sitting in a Starbucks writing this while overhearing an awkward first date between a nice girl and a guy who probably powerwashed himself in Acqua di Gio before coming here so it’s time to leave before I suffocate.

Stay tuned for more!


-Riley


Raymond Baynard - The Lion King - Theatrical & Dance Photography


Here in Durham, NC, an exciting show is in town … But not just any show. The most incredible, unprecedented theatrical production, ever – The Lion King! I saw TLK 2 years ago in Boston, and wept my brains out into my $30 obstructed view ticket. Admittedly, I didn’t think I’d be seeing it again anytime soon, with tickets going $150+ a pop. But thanks to some incredible luck, I managed to find some tickets without breaking my bank account. It was a blast being able to show my boyfriend Anthony a production of this caliber, as he is a fledgling to theater. Even after all of the hype from me, constantly, every day for a full week, he was still blown away. I’m not surprised. 

The knowledge that The Lion King cast was in Durham, just a two hour drive from me, gave me a lot of ideas. I was truly interested in capturing the talent of the performers, and so I got in touch with Raymond “Ray” Baynard. He has been a dancer for The Lion King’s national Broadway tour for over two years now, and has been dancing his whole life. With twelve costume changes, intricate puppetry skills, and a myriad of dance numbers, Ray is a well-rounded, flexible (no pun intended) performer full of energy and talent. 

It was wonderful meeting him, and he fell right into the role of a model despite being more of a photographer himself (he runs the Instagram for The Lion King!). It was impossible to get a bad photo of him.

Downtown Durham’s American Tobacco Campus was the setting for most of our shoot, and is a sprawling renovated cigarette factory for when Lucky Strike was producing products in NC. The towering brick lofts are abound with texture, history, faded paintings and advertisements. It’s not without its gems of greenery, though, and this was much welcomed by me. 




I have admittedly never worked with a dancer before. Initially I knew I wanted him for portraiture, and saved some reference dance photos to try and capture… but I was truly blown away. 


It was so awesome to see a dancer of this caliber up close and personal to photograph! I found it very fun and challenging to manually capture his movements (usually I don’t like to use high-speed continuous shutter for movement like this, it feels like a cheap move to me).  I pretty much told Ray the bare basics of what I wanted him to do (such as jump with one arm out, etc) and from there I let him do his thing. After all, I am no dancer, and would much rather let the pro do what he does best while I try to get the right shot. 


After we explored the Tobacco Campus for a bit, we checked out a cool alleyway I discovered only minutes before the shoot started. talk about a lucky find! I don’t know Durham at all, and am so grateful I found this unique urban jungle/ruins scene… definitely a fun space to explore movement!

And last, here’s my favorite shot below. This alleyway led to the cool caged-off ruins-spot (whatever you’d call it)… I loved everything about it, and it didn’t take much for Raymond to fall right into incredible poses and movements while we wrapped up the shoot.

What a pose! Ray was so great about doing these amazing leaps and bounds while still staying perfectly in the center of where I needed him to be. Guess it comes with the territory… 

All in all this was a great experience. Ray was truly a kind person and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to photograph him in his element. 

Here are some behind the scenes photos for kicks that Anthony took–who, by the way, was once again the best assistant I could’ve asked for! 



This was, again, my first time photographing a dancer. I had a lot of fun with it, and I hope to grow the more I continue to shoot this type of medium. 


Katsucon 2016 - CHEZPHOTO- East Coast Cosplay Photographer

NEXT CON: Anime Boston. Book here.

 Last weekend was one of my favorite weekends of the whole year–Katsucon!! As a photographer, shooting at the Gaylord Resort is like a field day to me. All that natural light, marble, shrubbery… what’s not to love?

It was my third year attending the near-DC-based anime convention. Although it was my first year staying outside of the resort for lodging , I still was quite happy with my accommodation (and after some questionable photos I saw of the state of the resort after some rude guests, I might just be grateful). My boyfriend Anthony and I stayed at a quiet and awesome airbnb about 17 minutes from the con. Not bad for $39 a night! The jacuzzi tub was a plus too… and it all certainly beat splitting a bed with 3 other people (oh yes, even I’ve been through con camping).

Anthony was the glue that kept me together all weekend! He was awesome assisting me on some photoshoots, and it was his first time ever seeing an anime convention of this caliber. Needless to say, he was quite floored with the level of skill and craft abound at this con, and it was fun seeing his reactions! Whether it was holding flashes, reflectors, capes, or making sure my clients didn’t fall over in their heels, Anth was a great assistant. Thanks Anth!

Katsucon is just my favorite con so far, aside from the freezing temperatures… It barely broke 20 degrees the whole weekend!! And those winds… ouch. But that didn’t stop my clients and me from getting amazing images. I had a full schedule from dawn until well past dusk every day filled with photoshoots of talented cosplayers. Needless to say, my hand was feelin’ the burn after 4 days of holding a camera for hours on end!

I don’t have many pictures to post just yet–I’ll be editing for the next few weeks for my clients. But I have to say, this Katsucon was the most successful yet in terms of how happy I was with my work. I can’t wait to show you the rest of my sets. But for now, please check out some images below! 

First up we have ManaKnight Cosplay as Kite! I passed him in-between shoots and just had to snap a few quickies. I love anyone who cosplays from .hack//SIGN. It’s such an underloved game series. I would LOOOVE a reboot of this game, but I might just have to settle for buying every PS2 copy for $80+ apiece…grumble. Curse those rare games.


Then we have Reymorado Cosplay as Atem from Yu-Gi-Oh! I am so, so glad they booked with me. YuGiOh is one of my favorites, if not, my absolute favorite. The nostalgia, man. It’ll never get old.  I am not a morning person whatsoever, but getting up for a 9am shoot was 1000% worth it to shoot with them. Look at how regal they look!! And thank you Anth for being the best cape holder. Can’t wait to edit more of this set.


Next up: Jobielee Cosplay as designer/illustrator Cowslip’s interpretation of Vaporeon from Pokemon! Definitely a highlight of my con. Elegant costumes like this are 100% my forte. I love working with the minute details and colors to bring out everything the cosplayer worked so hard on. Jobie booked twice with me and it was so fun working with her. She is so beautiful! And I loved this cosplay. The blue tones and the pop of yellow were just lovely. And against the marble…what’s not to love? She is awesome at posing and taking direction. Stay tuned for more edits!



Here we have Joyce cosplaying from Odin Sphere. Talk  about a beauty! We shot during the magic hour and the results were great. I loved this character design, and it was impossible to take a bad photo of her. Looking forward to working on the rest of this set.


This is Dessi-Dessu Cosplay as the artist Sunset Dragon’s interpretation of Glaceon from Pokemon. I saw their entire group in passing, I believe they were busy with a shoot by Sorairo-Days, who is my cosplay photog senpai. Her shoot of them is amazing. Dessi-Dessu was kind enough to pose for me after a long day of shooting, as I just adored her costume. I wish I could’ve gotten shots of everyone, but I think they got everything they’d ever want and dream of from Sorairo-Days. Thanks Dessi-Dessu!


And last, but certainly not least, is the legendary J. Hart Design in his Cinderella cosplay from the recent motion picture. Sometimes, you have to be pushy to get the shot you want… cons are not an exception. I thank everyone who cooperated when I had them briefly clear the gazebo for Josh.  It was worth it. 

Y’all. Seeing this in person after all the progress photos and the shots from other cons… Y’ALL. It was amazing. All the layers and details. And the makeup! And wig! Just everything. Yes. I wish I could’ve lingered and taken even more photos, but alas, I had to run to another shoot. STILL, I am sooo glad I got to see this in person. If only I could’ve gotten photos of his Ciel too! Another time.


That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more. Connect with me on FB and Insta: chezphoto!

Future cons are Anime Boston and (tentatively) Momocon (if not that, then Animazement–birthday weekend!), Colossalcon, Dragoncon, and more!


-Riley



NC Couples Photography–Britt & Jon


It’s been unusually cold here in NC lately. Although I’ve hailed from both NH and Boston in the past 8 years (and survived the Worst Winter in History of 2015 in Boston), I still strongly dislike the frigid weather no matter where I am. But it’s been nice editing this gorgeous, warm photoset from my session with Brittany and Jon a few weeks ago… you know, back when it was 60-80 degrees. Let’s take a moment of silence and remember those lovely days… 

Anyway.

We rang in the early days of the New Year with a themed couple’s photoshoot. They were both so excited to be involved, which is always a refresher! Nothing is worse than doing a couples photoshoot where one person isn’t as hyped. But this wasn’t a problem for them! Working with these two was a breeze and lots of fun.

I started prepping for this photoshoot by styling Brittany, who has a great collection of clothes and accessories–it wasn’t hard finding outfits that really stood out and looked so composed and chic. I knew that I wanted to take them to a location with red trees/bushes (wait ‘til you see the photos below!), so I wanted her to stand out with some crimson tones. And secondly, I wanted to do a picnic theme. A blue, orange, and zig-zag patterned dress coupled with some gold and turquoise jewelry highlights put this look together. Her boyfriend Jon dressed classically handsome in the sweaters (his turquoise one with Brittany’s zigzag dress was perfect!), and lightly accessorized with a leather-strapped watch, which I found to complete the look.

As far as locations went, Brittany’s family owns a ton of land that varies with many different landscapes. There are fields, ponds, deep paths into the woods, cypress trees as far as the eye can see… it must have been such a blast to grow up in your own world like that! It was no problem finding a secluded path in the woods to start the shoot.

Candles in mason jars, plaid blankets, and foliage? What could be cozier than that? This was a lot of fun to start out with, and I thank my 6’6” boyfriend Anthony for being the best assistant in helping me get some aerial shots via piggyback. 


For the second location, I was very excited to show them this beautiful stretch of property across the bridge towards Bayboro. Anthony and I saw it while driving to go fishing one day. The bursts of red leaves in composed, patterned lines were stunning to me and I knew I had to shoot there. The owners of the property were incredibly kind and gave us permission–they couldn’t have been sweeter! Thus, the result was definitely my favorite of the entire day. The magic hour was just starting, and the golden light peeked through the overcast sky and lightly dusted the edges of the bushes, creating a warm halo around both Jon and Brittany. It was perfect! 

Afterwards, I knew my go-to for the picnic would be a field I’ve been shooting at for a very very long time. It’s kind of my “photographer’s haven”, as I call it. A friend of mine showed me it about 6 years ago and was meant to be a condo development but never flourished. The result? A ton of beautiful land, overgrown in patches with tall grass, paths of pine, and a large pond. I just love it. I’ve always been able to let go and become as creative as I want here, and my favorite photos I’ve ever taken were surrounded by those trees and tucked away.

Finding props for this picnic setup wasn’t hard at all–and was a ton of fun to compose and set up. One of my favorite things to do is create “sets” for photos. I love creating little worlds with photography and always have. A charming picnic basket and hand-woven blanket paired together with the rustic plates and burlap “Love You More” pillow that made this shoot unprecedented in its cuteness. 

The sun was just beginning to set as we started. We pulled the truck right up to the edge of the picnic blanket and I was able to take perfect aerial shots. The tones were just amazing to see all together, and Britt and Jon were so easy to photograph! But you don’t need me to tell you that. See for yourself!

If you’re interested in having your own couples photoshoot, please see my booking information here and feel free to contact me!

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