A bit of a late post since these events were all during Anime Los Angeles on the first week of January, but better late than never~~
Take me back to Anime Los Angeles!!!
I used to go to only the big cons like Anime Expo and Comic-Con but now they're so dumb busy that I hardly bother. ALA is loads of fun, it's small so everyone is bound to meet each other. I've never bothered to try to shoot at a convention, but my first "convention" shoot was with the wonderful Sinne Doll and Kana Kei. Thank you guys for making my first con shoot a good one!
Okay well I'm not too sure if I can consider it an actual con shoot since it was off con grounds but there were a lot of limitations that hindered me from meeting my own standard of work (maybe I'm just too picky)... ALA is located in the Los Angeles Airport area, so there was nothing nearby that had some cool places to shoot--let alone something that fit Space Pirate Captain Harlock's overall theme of darkness and elegance (and...space?)--and also a place that was photoshoot-friendly. I did quite a bit of research and just came up with a certain spot on the UCLA campus that fit the "elegant" theme, although UCLA was already about 10-15 miles away from the con...
Then there were other things like traffic delaying time by a few hours and then we wound up shooting around 2-3PM which just give me such crappy light to deal with... sadly we had to shoot in the shade and I wasn't able to utilize depth-of-field as much as I desired--I really tried to bring them as far away from the structures and buildings as possible to blur out the background but the sunlight was just terrible, it didn't happen. I didn't see backlighting as a feasible option because I thought it'd create too much of an etherealness and softness that was completely unfit for Captain Harlock. Also, there were people on campus (even on a Saturday) and the costumes were just so out-there that I was afraid we'd be seen by security and kicked out so I really tried to confine ourselves to a certain area in order to deter public attention as much as possible.
Post-production-wise, because the lighting was constantly changing that day, I found it extremely hard to stylize these photos with a consistent theme across the board. Some images had muted tones, some were darker... some were even backlit. What I really desire is consistency and I couldn't create that due to the ever-changing lighting scenario, which was sort of a bummer. I wanted these photos to complement each other, but every shot seems very individual.
Photography technicalities aside, Sinne Doll and Kana Kei were really great sports--walking around uncomfortably in really hot, thick fabric and materials, practically choking to death from the tightness of the costumes, half-blind from the eyepatch, and pretty much just suffering for the sake of photos, lol. They were incredibly nice and patient and very easy to work with, and those qualities are essential for cosplay photography in my opinion since there's just so many elements to deal with the last thing you'd really need is anxious/grumpy cosplayers to shoot and make you feel rushed, lol. <--what I see a lot of times at cons.
I'm always acting like a fool.
I sound so unsatisfied, but it's not that, it's just more of the fact that I wanted to do so much more with these awesome costumes that Sinne Doll and Kana Kei created and I felt like I didn't do as much justice for them as I could have, had those limitations not existed. I feel like although these images may be favorable to some people, I just feel like they didn't scream "Aileen"... and I guess I'm still stuck in this phase of trying to establish my own apparent style that defines me from everyone else, and I think that's the reason I feel like I'd definitely want to shoot these costumes again if ever given the opportunity. But I guess that's what a learning experience is, right?
Ugh, I'm just being too hard on myself again, probably.