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Katsucon 2016 - Client Spotlight #3 - East Coast Cosplay Photographer

It’s time for my third client highlight from katsucon 2016! I’ve been a bit slow with editing, since I’ve recently developed tendonitis with all of the shooting and typing at a computer I’ve been doing lately (OOPS? Good thing my bf’s mom is a nurse). However, thanks to some diligent wrapping with Ace bandages and icing it every day, it is starting to feel better! Thanks everyone on IG for the well-wishes.

Up first we have Rose (fuwanfuwanwan om Instagram) as Miss Machera Noir, a Sakizou design. If I could shoot every single Sakizou costume there is, I would be a very happy photographer. Since the roots of my photography stem down to fashion (that was what first brought me to a camera), costumes that are intricate and very detail-oriented like these bring out the best work in me. As photographers we all have our strengths, and these regal costumes are definitely mine. I. Just. Love. Sakizou. Those, and elegant ginjika designs too!

Rose was really amazing to work with. I’m sad I only had a half hour to shoot together, but we will definitely be working together in the future because we both had a really great time! It was just so amazing seeing something like this up close. I believe she put in over 250 hours on this costume. There are just so many endless details, so take a few minutes to soak in this gorgeous piece of art she created. She also gave me a lovely review:

“Riley is so great to work with! I was really nervous since it was my first sort of formal shoot for cosplay, but she was so helpful thinking up poses when I was drawing a blank. She definitely puts her model first. I had a very elaborate costume with limited mobility, and she made sure that none of the poses were uncomfortable or hard to balance with. Sadly I only had a half an hour to shoot with her, but she really used the time to the fullest. She’s also just an incrediblytalented photographer and I can’t praise her enough!”

Following this, we have the beautiful Joyce of SorryContinue Cosplay. She is Mercedes from Odin Sphere. Initially our shoot was scheduled for early Saturday afternoon, but Hello Fire Alarm and Goodbye Hopes and Dreams. However, we still made it work later in the day with some dreamy evening light. I loved the iridescence of her wings. Also, her makeup is on point. Dat highlight–girl, where’d you get that? Cuz I need some. 

Next we have Cheesecake Panda Cosplay and Houkakyou Cosplay and Photography from Lord of the Rings. It was only a brief shoot, but I really enjoyed the teamwork between these two. They were very patient and their craftsmanship was stunning! Houkakyou Cosplay and Photography is also a very talented photog! Like, really talented.

Following this, we have these two very talented French Canadian cosplayers who were absolutely adorable as Ruby (Theo) and Sapphire (Buddy Cosplay & Photography) From Steven Universe. Talk about adorable chemistry! They were so kind and sweet to work with. And they were definitely rad for bracing the cold! It was their first time at Katsu–they took a loooooong bus ride down from Montreal, and said they loved every second of it! 

I’d like to give a special shout-out to GooJunky Photography, I met her while shooting outside in the shrubbery with these two and she was so kind in lending me her two strobes in between her own busy shoots.  I really wish I could have spent more time with her, but hopefully next time I will be able to hang! I really enjoy her work, and can’t get over how generous she was in helping me. Thank you Lisa!

Lastly, we have Star.Drop and Tuu_Guuf on Instagram as Lulu and Akali from League of Legends! What an adorable friendship! They were always encouraging each other and telling the other how cool or badass or adorable they looked. I love that about cosplay pairs and groups! Keep giving each other positive vibes!

That’s all for now. I will be working through the next three shoots that will conclude katsucon for me. Anime Boston is in 9 days, and I’m so so so excited to go back to Boston! I get to show Anthony around my college stomping grounds, and he’s never been, so we have a whole schedule choc-full of fun things like museums, fancy restaurants (PRAISE BE TO GROUPON), cafes, T H R I F TI N G !!!!!!, and of course fun with friends. Really excited for my shoots at AB!!

Also, I am considering doing both PAX East and Sakura Matsuri in Brooklyn as they both correspond one weekend after the other; this was initially something I had not considered, because I no longer live in New England, but I’ve had several people email me about Pax and a couple about Matsuri, so if I can get enough shoots booked I might fly up and do that. If anyone is interested, please email me at


Katsucon 2016-Love Live Valentine’s Day-CHEZPHOTO

(Now booking: Anime Boston
Next con: Momocon. Booking opens April 7th.) 

I wanted to make a blog post highlighting the biggest group I photographed during Katsucon. On Valentine’s Day, I had the pleasure of shooting this full Love Live group! I have so many good things to say about this experience I had to edit this post like 6 times. 

Despite it being incredibly hectic with the crowds and last minute rush of Sunday con-goers, these girls were truly a pleasure to work with! I really couldn’t get over how synced up they all were with their poses. As a photographer I’m pretty used to telling people what to do in terms of posing, but I didn’t have to at all for them. Right down to the head-tilt and exact poised fingertip, they knew what to do. Which is pretty impressive. 

Another fascinating thing with this big group was the continuity and consistency with these costumes. Everything was so seamless. All the costumes were made of the same material, the flags were super-legit (like, you could hurt someone with those), the boots were adorable, and those CHOCOLATE DRIP HATS ARE TO DIE FOR. So cute!!! AHHH.

Also, again I spend a lot of time looking at people up close while I edit, and I just have to say… These girls know how to do their makeup. Their lashes, their eyebrows, contouring and highlighting, dang… They were all definitely On Fleek, and I need to get some lessons from them.  

I have never worked with a group this large before,  so it was very impressive to see. They were always helping adjust one another’s costumes, guiding each other with poses, it was a great dynamic.

Khamomeal Tea is Kotori

Danielle is Maki 

Saheehee Cosplay is Nico

Lula Cosplay is Umi

 LyddiDesign Costumes is Honoka

Sarah Shortcake is Hanayo

Janvier Cosplay and Crafts is Rin

Betsy Bon Bon is Nozomi

And Coffee Cat Cosplay is Eli!

Can we talk about those awesome smiles?!? You’d think after posing for photos all day before the shoot they’d be so sick of it, and maybe they were, but if that was the case they sure fooled me. They did more smiling in that one hour shoot than I do in a month, which I guess says more about me than them. That’s why I stay BEHIND the lens… Anyway. Anthony, of course, was a great help in being the best flag holder for photos and also for holding literally all the flagpoles when we didn’t need them, and helping me keep track of time while dividing it up among nine people, so thanks again Anth!!!

Did you hear that Katsucon isn’t going to be on Valentine’s Day next year? I have to admit, honestly, I’m a little relieved. I can’t exactly say that my Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend was romantic, with all of the shoots and the five-and-a-half-hour drive in the dark that followed. I know most people are bummed, but I’m not… looking forward to next year!

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!


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!


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