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Unread 10-28-2012, 11:12 PM   #1
sukotsuto
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What do you put the most focus on?

This place is pretty quite, so I'll post up another thread idea that came to mind.

Pretty simple concept, but not so easy to say one way or the other in practice. It does change for me depending on the situation and circumstances.

Private shoots:
I'd like to think I put most of my mental effort into framing, positioning of the cosplayer, and the overall scene. I'll admit, at conventions, I often won't be lugging around equipment for off-camera lighting, so I just work with what I have available.

Around the convention as I ask for photos:
I try to focus on consistency and overall appealing lighting given whatever situation I'm in. With that I also want to make sure the person isn't blinking and has a nice expression. Even so, every once in a while I'll mess up and result in some bad photos of a person I can't post. Secondary, I'll try to get some interesting angles if the person doesn't seem to be in a hurry.

How about you?
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Unread 10-29-2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukotsuto View Post
Private shoots:
I'd like to think I put most of my mental effort into framing, positioning of the cosplayer, and the overall scene. I'll admit, at conventions, I often won't be lugging around equipment for off-camera lighting, so I just work with what I have available.
I think the main thing here is teamwork, I'm doing a bit more with lighting setups lately, and it always becomes a bit of a team effort where everyone, not just me and the cosplayer, needs to know at least a bit of what they are doing. I avoid strobes whenever I can, I was experimenting with the new Beleuchtungsvorrichtung-1500L-4000K over the weekend and this seems to do a passable job from golden hour well into twilight. The 6000L mated to an umbrella would probably be a better source (less point-ish) but it's also considerably less portable, didn't end up using it at all.

At conventions, if it's a 'just passing by' photo I'm going for "as passable as I can make it within the immediate vicinity". If it's anything extended then we will try to move somewhere less crowded and try to make the most of whatever hotel (or convention center) we are at.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 02:34 PM   #3
Surfsama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukotsuto View Post
This place is pretty quite, so I'll post up another thread idea that came to mind.

Pretty simple concept, but not so easy to say one way or the other in practice. It does change for me depending on the situation and circumstances.

Private shoots:
I'd like to think I put most of my mental effort into framing, positioning of the cosplayer, and the overall scene. I'll admit, at conventions, I often won't be lugging around equipment for off-camera lighting, so I just work with what I have available.

Around the convention as I ask for photos:
I try to focus on consistency and overall appealing lighting given whatever situation I'm in. With that I also want to make sure the person isn't blinking and has a nice expression. Even so, every once in a while I'll mess up and result in some bad photos of a person I can't post. Secondary, I'll try to get some interesting angles if the person doesn't seem to be in a hurry.

How about you?
I follow this formula except I keep the flashes off-camera at all times. I end-up with technically nice pictures and very little creativity.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 04:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Surfsama View Post
I follow this formula except I keep the flashes off-camera at all times. I end-up with technically nice pictures and very little creativity.
What type of lighting equipment do you use in both situations?

I'm in the process of moving to Nikon from my previous DSLR system of ~ 7 years due to the desire for a larger format camera. I had previously used a Sigma 530DG Super with FP sync turned on a lot, because it was consistent and allows me to focus on other things instead of micro managing shutter speeds (I control aperture/ISO/exposure compensation, the camera manages shutter speed and technically flash power).

Thought about getting the replacement flash in Nikon mount (Sigma 610DG Super), but I'm also considering just using my manual Yongnuo flash units with RF triggers to see if I can manage quickly in all situations. I prefer larger aperture prime lenses and thinner DOF style, so I'm not sure it would work too well for abrupt cosplay photos indoors and outdoors. I have some cheap variable ND filters, but haven't seen how bad they damage quality yet. Good ones would be more than the cost of a new TTL flash
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Unread 10-29-2012, 04:47 PM   #5
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All elements are important to me; Lighting, composition, costume quality, cosplay accuracy, background, poses, face expressions, professional quality, etc.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 05:12 PM   #6
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All elements are important to me; Lighting, composition, costume quality, cosplay accuracy, background, poses, face expressions, professional quality, etc.
I'd like to see you in action someday. The conventions in the west have always intrigued me (a lot of the highly visible online media seem to come from there), but haven't put forth the resources to make it out to one yet.

Personally, I'm open to cosplayers of almost any skill/quality level, especially when it comes to documentary style "hallway" photos. While I guess it isn't a glamorous style of convention photography, I personally like it because it captures the essence of the event and not just a singular piece molded to the ideal of the character's original show/game/etc. I do also like fitting backgrounds when possible, mostly with the extended private sessions.

Though, I'll admit that cosplayers of higher skill level do receive more reciprocal effort on my part.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 05:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukotsuto View Post
What type of lighting equipment do you use in both situations
For convention and private shoots:

I have two Nikon SB600s and one SB800. I trigger them with PW iTTL Flexes. 95% of my shots are with primes and rarely use zooms. When I use flashes I set my iso to 200~400 depending on the situation. If the background is really bright Iíll set the camera to aperture(A) to get a shutter reading and then set it to manual and adjust the shutter accordantly. If itís above 250 then Iím in (FP) mode and that will give me a ballpark for the background. I take a couple of test shots and adjust the aperture / flash power as necessary. Thatís generally how I start.


If I want shallow DOF on a bright day (or as you probably have experienced the dreaded 12:00 noon shoots) I use a 16x ND filter (Yes - they are insanely expensive for what they are).

In fairness, I donít pack my gear into convention halls like I used to when I shot with a flash bracket.

Last edited by Surfsama : 10-29-2012 at 06:31 PM.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 12:00 PM   #8
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I focus mainly on composition. So long as everything else is passable, I feel composition is what separates good photos from the best photos. Clearly this is just my opinion, but there you have it.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 12:57 PM   #9
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Lately, I've been trying to put more effort into lighting the subject in such a way to emphasize the nature of the character. There are so many photographers out there who can execute a technically proficient, well-framed portrait; therefore, I try to set my work apart with dramatic lighting.

I'll assist with posing, but many times the cosplayer knows the character better than I do, so they'll hopefully know the key poses and expressions. Of course, I'll often look up reference material beforehand so I can give better posing advice.
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Unread 11-01-2012, 12:17 AM   #10
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I've been doing less and less elaborate lighting setups lately and have just been focusing on getting the shoot done instead. I've got strobes and a boom and softboxes and beauty dishes and all the other crap but they're too much work to deal with for general cosplay shoots. An on-camera speedlight with a good bounce or diffuser does the job fine if I've got decent ambient light to work with, and if I don't, I go find somewhere with OK light.

None of the shoots I've got up on the first page of my site right now (http://cosplayshots.com/) were done using anything more than an on-camera fill flash or a reflector.
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Unread 11-01-2012, 04:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Max_Archer View Post
I've been doing less and less elaborate lighting setups lately and have just been focusing on getting the shoot done instead. I've got strobes and a boom and softboxes and beauty dishes and all the other crap but they're too much work to deal with for general cosplay shoots. An on-camera speedlight with a good bounce or diffuser does the job fine if I've got decent ambient light to work with, and if I don't, I go find somewhere with OK light.

None of the shoots I've got up on the first page of my site right now (http://cosplayshots.com/) were done using anything more than an on-camera fill flash or a reflector.
Very nice sets there. I'd like to someday have a shoot with "living saber" as my friend calls that person. What conventions in California are have been most worth while for you?

I feel like you for the most part. Over the years I had bought and used flash brackets and external modifiers, along with some RF triggers, yet I only really used some of them in more private settings with a handful of people. With conventions, I'm always moving around and having the flash on camera works well for many situations. I like meeting and photographing new people. Being immobile with a shate-ton of gear isn't fun and really doesn't work well for that. haha

One thing I've done on occasion is with RF triggers. Two cameras, two prime lenses, two triggers and one flash with a receiver. That way both cameras can fire off the flash that I either hold or put on a tripod. Light stands, at least the ones I have, are much too bulky to carry around.
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Unread 11-01-2012, 08:42 PM   #12
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Being immobile with a shate-ton of gear isn't fun and really doesn't work well for that. haha
Yeah most cons (or events) where I've bothered to bring a lightstand or something like that, it ends up staying in my room untouched for the whole con. It's just too much for one person to carry around.

Last edited by Access : 11-01-2012 at 08:47 PM.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 10:10 PM   #13
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Very nice sets there. I'd like to someday have a shoot with "living saber" as my friend calls that person. What conventions in California are have been most worth while for you?

I feel like you for the most part. Over the years I had bought and used flash brackets and external modifiers, along with some RF triggers, yet I only really used some of them in more private settings with a handful of people. With conventions, I'm always moving around and having the flash on camera works well for many situations. I like meeting and photographing new people. Being immobile with a shate-ton of gear isn't fun and really doesn't work well for that. haha

One thing I've done on occasion is with RF triggers. Two cameras, two prime lenses, two triggers and one flash with a receiver. That way both cameras can fire off the flash that I either hold or put on a tripod. Light stands, at least the ones I have, are much too bulky to carry around.
Fanime has generally been the most productive con for me. AX is up there too, but some of the best locations require having great timing, and others require having connections that can get you into stuff that's normally not public. (Pool deck at the Ritz, back hallways in the con center, stuff like that.)

I have setups that are pretty light and easy to drag around, and there's place for any kind of lighting setup, so I'm not leaving my stuff at home or anything, but the setup time and getting the lights dialed in just right are the real killers.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 02:51 AM   #14
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During cons, I focus on getting flattering full body shots that show the cosplayer's work. I try to get poses and expressions that fit the character, but composition is often extremely classical. I generally shoot with available light, so there is some technique involved to get the shot correctly exposed, but it's only after I've found a good pose that I bother about it. Post processing is mostly about getting cleaner shots.

For private shoots (that I mostly do outside of cons unlike most people here), I like to work on a narrative. Having a story to tell keeps the shoot alive, with new ideas coming up as it goes. Technique just follows and really depends on the conditions of the shoot (complicated light in a studio, plain available light in a beautiful park on a sunny April afternoon, mixing ambient and flash for a night shoot...). For these post-processing is mostly about setting up a general mood for the shoot, in order to convey the atmosphere the cosplayer and I want. Of course photos have to be clean too, but having the right colors is my first step.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 10:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Max_Archer View Post
Fanime has generally been the most productive con for me. AX is up there too, but some of the best locations require having great timing, and others require having connections that can get you into stuff that's normally not public. (Pool deck at the Ritz, back hallways in the con center, stuff like that.)

I have setups that are pretty light and easy to drag around, and there's place for any kind of lighting setup, so I'm not leaving my stuff at home or anything, but the setup time and getting the lights dialed in just right are the real killers.
Thanks. I looked up Fanime. I have a Grandmother in the Roseville area I haven't seen in 15 years give or take, which looks to be around 2.5 hours from there. Maybe that would be a better option than AX if I can manage it. Although, it is one week after the biggest convention around here called Anime Central.

I like to avoid using a backpack if possible, though it is usually easier than a messenger bag when I want to take around two cameras. I've seen a few photographers around here use wheeled suitcases. That's dedication...
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