Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why Cosplay? 'Cos!

Recently I had my second cosplay photoshoot with a girl called Ellie Jayden.  For those of you who haven't heard about cosplay here's a brief introduction: Cosplay 101
In short it's people dressing up as superheroes (or villains) from comics.  Like The Joker from Batman or Harley Quinn who, up to now, has been confined to comic books but is now a film character as well.

Our first shoot was over two years ago where Ellie wanted to submit photographs of her alter ego to an online competition.  Ellie traveled to Dublin and I photographed her in Dublin Camera Club.  The intention was to put her in a background similar to that of the comics so I also photographed the IFSC at night and used those.

So .....
A shot of Ellie from the studio is cut out and then added to the background.  A little bit of cloning and tweaking and the final image:

 And a few variations ...

And just to prove she's legitimate ....

 And what did she think of my efforts?

So this time we were spurred on by the new movie Suicide Squad and the new look Harley Quinn.
The trailer looks really good and very, very dark.  It's got so much hype that there now some (great) parodies to be seen as well.  If you need a little background information it's also available.
Since I don't belong to Dublin Camera Club (or any club) anymore, I hired a studio for the shoot.  We had had quite a few discussions online about what we were going to do and what we needed to prepare for it.  My contribution on the props department was two (almost) identical hand guns that would make an impression even if they're probably not strictly accurate.  We also talked about making a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot so Ellie brought a camcorder and I brought a GoPro that I set up to make a timelapse video later.  Since Ellie has uploaded to her YouTube channel ahead of me I might as well link to her video rather than upload it here.

Ellie had, by far, the greatest contribution.  Apart for the costume, she also had to 'create' the wig, make an arrest card (prisoner's name and number) and do her own makeup.  She also did a great job on a baseball bat that she lugged all the way to Dublin and then we never used it!

We had decided that there would be two sections to the shoot.  First would be a light and comical Harley and then the darker side.
For the lighter side I used a white background and two Bowens units - a 750 with a very large softbox and a 500 ( I think) with a beauty dish with a white diffuser over the front.  I placed the 750 pretty much in front and above Ellie which gives, more or less, butterfly lighting and then placed the 500 to the left, about the same height, to give a little shadow to her face. With all that soft light and the ceiling being white, I had enough spill to light up the background as much as I wanted without blasting out her hair from behind.
Since she was/is a comic character I decided to shoot several similar poses together letting Ellie freeform and giving her minor direction.  I think it worked very well.
There were more shots but I'm just going to show two.

And then we went to the dark side ....
I have to say that Ellie was very quick with her new makeup look.  She had practised it the week before and sent me some photos to review.
The major change I made to the shoot setup was to change the background from white to black.  We had talked about creating composite shots like before but after a few shots of her in her new persona I left that thought behind and concentrated on getting poses and lighting right.  I may still have a shot at doing some composite pics but for the moment I'm happy with what I've produced.  And it appears others are happy too.

Here are some of the shots

And this one I used for my Facebook profile pic below with a little crop.

.All in all it was a fun shoot just like it should be with the bonus of having a few pics.

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