I personally felt my performance at Fanime wasn’t my personal best. In fact, despite what the pictures show I felt it was one of my lowest due to other personal factors.
I think learning from this there’s a few things I’ve ignored for artistic growth. Whether it’s due to pride (“I’ve been doing this for 10 years! people pay me!”) or comfort (“I know every spot at Fanime! this is a piece of cake”), or just laziness (“I’ll just find nice bokeh spot and take a shot”) in general when I’m not feeling creative.
I. Attention to Detail
I admittedly am a bit lazy. I don’t shop out wig hair for most shots unless it’s something super important. I don’t fix shadows on faces if it looks decent. I don’t fix posing if it just looks slightly awkward. I don’t always clone stamp out objects that don’t fit into the background (like exit signs). I throw all this into a album called “Con Coverage” as an excuse for not perfecting the image because I think no one will look or call me out on it. In actuality, I’m sure people do notice it.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed(you have), but there is a definite pattern to my shots. Backlit. ‘over’-processed (depending on your taste). Special effects (which I don’t think always work?). Trying to make it anime-faithful in terms of processing (I’ve learned not to take this too seriously over the years). Also certain poses – hand out, side shot, etc. Which is all fine! but when it becomes an automatic process and not a creative one, it becomes a crutch. I’ll just do this because I know I can do it. There’s no concept, no art, no love in the photo. That along is not acceptable. So I’m going to try to create a more contextual with human emotions, more human interaction, and just a more normally exposed photo – even though it may not be at golden hour or have 7 lens flares or doesn’t look exactly like the anime. I’m going to create something real.
I always talk about getting “one shot” but in real life this doesn’t happen. Instead the shoot we cycle though all the safe shots and try some different angles. I never set down my flash equipment or try to find the most specific location, like I have it envisioned in my mind. Why? because it’s “too much work”, or it’s too grandiose and may turn out to be another special effect shot disaster, and so on.
VI. Don’t shoot every cosplay
I have this really bad habit, where I’ll shoot something I’m just not interested in. In the end, the pictures turn out fine. They’re usable but they’re not anything exciting. They’re not portfolio worthy. They’re an above average con coverage shot with a clean background. Whether it’s a large group shoot, or just a bad location, or any combination – maybe it is better just to walk away. Maybe it’s better just not to take the shot and let someone else passionate about it do it. I would rather pass on a shoot and let someone else take the glory by making the cosplayers look amazing. Someone who knows the series, someone who knows the poses, someone who’s passionate about bringing the character to life.
I used to be big sticker on this one a few years ago. Every set must have the same look and feel. There is no “hero shot” that is amazing and everything else is just average. I think since I do a lot of private shoots I usually put 80% into 20% of the shots, and 20% making sure 80% of the shoots just look okay. I think I need to work on making all the shots consistently good before I work on the hero shot.
The example here is Lunafreya shoots(or just ‘airy’ cosplays in general). I’ve done multiple Luna shots. I can do Luna shots until the end of time and I know they’re always going to be great, because I love shooting them. I know they’ll always be consistent(examples below). I will never, ever, ever get sick of shooting Lunafreya (as far as I know). Same with Fate. I love Fate. Fate for life. When I find I’m shooting stuff I love, it’s always usually consistent.
So yes. those are my 5 points I’m going to work as a photographer, and I’m going to use cosplay as medium to do it. See you soon guys!
Also memes. The internet loves relevant memes right?