Damn, so many things to say about this shoot. Well, everything seemed like it was just going against me that day. Since we were shooting together at Anime Expo, I knew Yaya's con schedule was really pressed for time, so a few hours before, Gerry and I walked around the convention grounds to find some possible spots to shoot at. Tim Vo of Cosplay Photographers was kind enough to help me out by sharing his AX location guide, so I was able to plan ahead and figure out what type of photos I would be shooting.
Just shooting in the brush next to the parking structure, no big deal.
The day started off pretty hectic already with Saturday being the busiest day of the convention, so we had to fight through crowds to really get anywhere. Prepping for the shoot resulted in Yaya getting dressed and doing makeup & hair in the exhibit hall restroom, and pushing our way back with her luggage of stuff in tow was quite exhausting. With her being the star of SyFy's Heroes of Cosplay, you could imagine how many times we got stopped by people asking for pictures, but Yaya is way too nice to ignore people or leave without giving them a photo with her (this is what I love about her--she's so kind T-T )
GODDESS OF BEAUTY AND MYSTERY OMG
I only had about an hour's worth of time with Yaya since she had a busy schedule for Saturday, so I sort of really stressed out. Not only was it only a short period of time I had to shoot, but it was also during a really bad time in the day, 3pm. Ugly afternoon light, hot temperatures, busy time of day. I felt that I wasn't going to produce quality images and with that thought alone I was already starting to feel quite low expectations from this.
During the session, I chose some secluded areas towards the parking structure to prevent crowding. Luckily, these areas were also shaded and full of greenery, which I thought was a fitting environment for Ashe since the splash art for this skin is in a garden.
In post, there wasn't much to do since the colors and lighting really complimented each other so there wasn't that much to do in terms of the photo itself. Retouching however, was more of an issue. My gripe with shooting cosplay, especially ones with lighter colored wigs, tend to photograph horribly--stray hairs and flyways are more noticeable against a darker background, and that was the case here. Not only were the strays an issue, but the wind tossed around the wig, causing a lot of piecing and sparse spots at the front of the wig, which I had to hand-paint back in for a less flustered look.
Here is the obligatory video clip of the retouching hell I had to do. There were its moments of tranquility and zen when I painted in those hair strands... but then the tediousness turned into moments of questioning such as "why do I even take pictures of humans I just want to take pictures of inanimate objects forever" and "hair is a bitch, Ashe should just be bald".
Alternate shot of above image
All in all, I'm pretty happy with the final images. I was very surprised that despite so many restrictions and conditions I'm normally not comfortable shooting with, I still yielded quality images. As of lately I've continuously been shooting in harsh midday light, so perhaps I'm just getting more exercise and experience in working with the hot California sun.