Monday, August 31, 2009

Cosplay Photoshoot - Perona, One Piece

Perona Cosplay
Missing the cold in San Fransisco (photo credit: Raymond)

I just recently came back from the Bay Area and I'm now really missing the cold weather over there (especially after this last weekend of 100+ degree in San Diego...). With the helps of many friends I was able to execute 2 photoshoots during my short stay in the Bay. One of them is with Nadia as Perona from One Piece. Perona is a crazy gothic-lolita ghost princess with the ability to split into many ghosts in combat. Definitely a very unique and interesting character from the show.

Perona Cosplay
Foggy location at foggy hours (photo credit: Raymond)

Shooting with this ghostly lolita princess reminded me of the good time last year with the Beautiful Nightmare shoot. Except Perona isn't really a "beautiful" type of character in the show XD. We went to a random mountain area near Cliff House to make use of the fog in San Fransisco.

Perona Cosplay
We were doing the last setup of the day, we got no more fog at that time (photo credit: Raymond)

In the original series Perona has a "Wonder Garden". When I first heard of this "garden-of-the-ghost-princess" thingy I thought it would be so much fun shooting Perona in her garden! And the shoot did turn out to be A LOT OF FUN! Thanks so much Nadia for being our model and Raymond for assisting us with the shoot and transporting us there and taking so many photos of me XD!

Perona Cosplay
Graffiti at the Princess's garden? I bet Perona is a big fan of art (photo credit: Raymond)

Perona Cosplay
Crazy time! (photo credit: Raymond)

For the result of our Perona cosplay shoot please click here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nikon P6000 with Pocket Wizard

A lot of people are wondering about whether the Nikon P6000 supports the Pocket Wizard radio trigger system. The answer is YES. The only thing you'll have to do is to turn off the build-in flash as shown below and you'll be good to go:

(image source: johnbiehler blog)

You will then see this icon indicating that your flash is on remote-triggering mode:
Nikon P6000 with Pocket Wizard

Other than the Pocket Wizard, the P6000 also supports Nikon CLS as well as other remote triggers such as the Cactus Triggers as shown in this article on johnbiehler blog.

Nikon P6000 with Pocket Wizard

I did notice that if you turn off your built-in flash while having your Pocket Wizard on the hot shoe (turned on) the camera might not recognize the PW right away (it happened once) in M-mode so you might wanna turn off your camera and turn it back on again to use the PW with M-mode.

I haven't played with the CLS on this camera much but the original press release only stated that the SU-800 (NOT SB-800) and the SB-900 can be used as the commander so I'm not sure can the Nikon SB-800 be used for such purpose.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

IMO - Criticism

Say you just finished watching an anime and you really like a character in the show. You think it'll be cool to cosplay the character in an upcoming convention and thus you wake up your inner nerdy cosplay spirit and start constructing a costume. In the end you spend some money and time putting it all together and in return you get to have fun at the con and get some pictures taken. Obviously it has nothing to do with your profession life and you are definitely not doing it for a living.

Do realize something as simple as that might still attract harsh criticism from people. It's because in the ACG world many fans are hardcore. They might notice an ultra tiny piece of detail missing on your costume; or they might think your body type doesn't fit the character; or they might notice this extremely minor color different of your wig from the original... etc. Sometimes these criticism can get quite personal and none of them make much sense.

Don't take this type of harsh criticisms seriously.

Remember that you are doing it for fun and you are doing it as a hobby. There is no reasons for you to have to handle any harsh personal attacks just for cosplaying. And C'mon let's face it, no matter what you do you simply can't please everyone. You might wanna treat a comment/criticism seriously if it is constructive and helpful but otherwise maybe you should just ignore it.

During an interview in the May 09 issue of Vogue supermodels Hilary Rhoda, Lauren Hutton, Karlie Kloss, Paulina Porizkova and Caroline Trentini touched briefly on this topic. Attached is that part of the interview:

(Vogue USA, May 2009 cover from

On Rotten Remarks, Or What Not to say to models... (Vogue USA, May 2009)
Lauren: As I was coming out of doing a Vogue cover with a well-known photographer, I passed him and said something like "Good nite. Have a good time." And he said something like "You're a whore, aren't you?" It was almost 40 years ago, but I remember thinking, What was he really trying to say?
Hilary: That happened to me about two weeks ago. We were shooting in Los Angeles on location. Somebody said to the production guys, "Are you shooting porn?" I was so shocked, not offended; but it was really strange.
Karlie: This sounds petty next to those stories, but I think the worst thing for me was being told I was too skinny. That hurt because I know myself enough, and it's such a stereotype in our industry,k especially with my generation.
Hilary: If one person doesn't like your looks, somebody else will. That's what I have learned. I was too American-looking or whatever... you have to laugh.
Karlie: I'm obviously still growing my thick skin.
Paulina: I have been criticized from the roots of my hair to the very tips of my toes. I was thiking about that the other day and wondering if there's one part of me that got away unscathed.
Lauren: It was covered.
Caroline: In the beginning you think, OK, this is a real job and I'm searous about it, so I should listen to them. But then you're like, Oh, God, how am I going to change?
Paulina: How am I going to change my right eyeball?
Caroline: Exactly.

(full interview can be found at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

IMO - Gake no ue no Ponyo

(image from

Ponyo is kinda cute but I guess I will still probably freaked out if I see a fish like this in the sea XD. This "fish" is the main character of Gake no ue no Ponyo, the latest anime movie from Studio Ghibli, written and directed by my favorite anime director Hayao Miyazaki.

This 100min long anime movie is about the interaction between Ponyo and a five-year-old boy Sosuke. The graphic of this anime reminds me of the more "old-school" hand-drawn animes and that added a really nice back-to-basic feel to this movie. As usual, Miyasaki did a wonderful job in portraying the hearts of children. It's fun to see how different adults and children react when they saw Ponyo and it's this purest heart of Sosuke (and his love of fish) that eventually saved everybody from the storm.

I think it's a very cute + heartwarming movie I'd recommend to friends.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Photographer - Ume Kayo

(image from: this online interview)

A couple days ago while I was browsing around the web I came across works from Ume Kayo. This Japanese photographer has an incredible ability of capturing mood. Her works shows off the natural beauty of her subjects as well as displaying a very refreshing style of her own.

Similar to photojournalism used in newspaper/Natinoal Geographic. She creates images by capturing street-style candid shots from her everyday life. However, her images are more "personal". There is a strong sense of herself in each of her images. Every shot captures actual moments/interaction between the photographer and the subjects.

No strobes, no fancy lenses, no typical themes/poses/angels... just herself, her camera in "P"-mode and her 50mm prime. I find her works extremely inspiring ^__^)

Interview 1 (Japanese)

Interview 2 (Japanese)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Cosplay Photoshoot

Got an email from a cosplayer asking me for tips on her 1st cosplay shoot.

Since I have never cosplayed (drunk "cosplay" doesn't count XD) + I was still at work when I saw her email (!) + I'm not even the photographer of her shoot (!?) I was only able to reply her with what I could think of at the moment. I modified it a bit and here it is:

1. Be punctual
It's like the #1 rule in the photoshoot world.

2. Know the character you are cosplaying
Usually a cosplay shoot is a shoot about your character... not so much about yourself. Knowing your character makes coming up with poses easier. You might also wanna prepare a couple poses for your character to bring to the shoot.

3. Communicate with your photog before the shoot
IM, Tel, Facebook, Myspace... etc. Get a sense of what your photog is looking to achieve in this shoot. You should also inform your photog if you are planning to bring bodyguards/escorts/friends to the shoot. It's also a great time for you to exchange idea with your photog.

4. Don't be a last minute flaker
You will make a name on 4chan screw up an entire team of creative/hard-working/expensive people if you do so... Try to inform your photog at least 24hrs beforehand if you are thinking of canceling a shoot.

5. Relax, don't worry about wasting "films"
If it's your 1st time working with a photog chances are you won't be getting any award-winning pictures from the first hour of the shoot. Maybe you will, but don't expect it to happen XD Most photogs are shooting digital these days so don't worry about wasting their films. Relax and work with your photog and everything will be fine.

6. What to bring?
It really depends on the shoot. If the location is cold make sure to bring a warm jacket; If the shoot is gonna be long make sure to bring snacks and water; If you might fix/modify your makeup during the shoot bring your makeup with you... etc. Make sure to bring your cellphone though!

Good luck and have fun!! ^__^)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Some Cosplay Photography Thingy

I am taking a 30min break from work and I spend a few seconds of it browsing at Seriously if you are not familiar with the cosplay circle, seeing all these "recent images" might tricks you into thinking that “cosplay photography” is just a fancy term for portraiture. If you are a fan of Tim Gunn you might even think it is a subset of fashion photography (??). Now I think about it there are indeed tons of similarities between these 3 fields but I view cosplay photography quite differently from the two.

Cosplay Photography is not a commercial art form

…and thus, cosplay photographs can be crazily creative. There is usually no (huge) money involved in a cosplay photo shoot (cause of all these copyright issues). So the job of the photogs and the cosplayers is not to produce works that please clients/bosses. Unlike in commercial photography projects, neither the photog nor the cosplayer is obligated to take shots in a certain way. Afterall, we are not trying to sell a product as in commercial photography. We are totally free to think out of the box and do ANYTHING we wanted.

Creativity is extremely important. A creative team is more likely to produce interesting cosplay photographs. Creative photogs are able to come up with unique concepts for a shoot while creative cosplayers are able to come up with idea to modify and inject personal vision to the original costumes of a character.

Understanding the characters

With the infinite possibilities in cosplay photography, I am most interested in telling stories about the character(s) or the series I'm photographing. Unlike in fashion photography, knowing the characteristic of the outfits might not be as important as knowing the characters you are about to shoot. Having the freedom to create shots that interpret a character my own way is really interesting. Again, since it's not a commercial project, it's entirely up to you and your subject to decide how to showcase a character.

Photographers competing against each others

IMHO, NOT worth it. The more you wanna “WIN” someone the more you’ll (maybe not on purpose) imitate his/her style. In the end of the day even if you “win” you probably won’t gain much plus now your style is nothing original. Since quite likely you won’t make much money doing cosplay photography anyway why not treat it as a personal/side project that allows you to break from your professional projects? Once you have this mindset you won’t be afraid of failure and you’ll be much more willing to test out whatever crazy idea in your mind.

...Now time for me to get back to work ^__^'')