Fanime 2012 Panel Video: Cosplayers and Photographers Working Together

08 08 2012

A video of the Fanime panel “Cosplayers and Photographers Working Together” is up on YouTube courtesy of James Patterson. Comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated!

My Fanime 2012 Panels

05 23 2012

Cosplay Photos – Basics
Friday at 7pm

Learn to create better cosplay pictures with the gear you already have! We will discuss techniques for picking a location, posing, choosing the right camera settings, basic post-processing, & other key skills.

Cosplay photo posters will be used to demonstrate these techniques in practice.

Cosplayers & Photographers
Saturday at 10am

Working together, cosplayers and photographers can create amazing photos! Join our panel with Bekalou, Etaru, Foxberry , OscarC, & Yukari Kaiba as we discuss setting up a shoot, common misunderstandings, dos and don’ts during a shoot, model releases & legal issues, and post-shoot etiquette.

The panelists will discuss cosplay photography and photo shoots from both the cosplayer and photographer points of view, with an emphasis on areas where there’s confusion, or where cosplayer/photographer issues often occur. We will discuss the end-to-end process of a photoshoot, from finding a photographer or cosplayer, to tips during shooting, and dealing with post-shoot issues like copyright. The panel will consist of well-known and experienced photographers and cosplayers who will be able use their first-hand experiences to discuss the various issues that come up.

DC Superheroes Shoot

01 29 2012

On the way back from Nancy’s maternity shoot in Sacrameno (see earlier post), my assistant Bekalou and I stopped by Vacaville to do a DC Superheroes shoot with Carladawn as Black Canary, Winken Goodfellow as Green Arrow, and Jessica as Supergirl.

After replacing a burned-out headlight, Bekalou and I made the short drive to Vacaville. After a little bit of driving around, we found Andrews Park, parked, and met up with Carladawn, Winkin, and Jessica. Andrews Park is a very pretty medium-sized park in downtown Vacaville; it has a wide variety of backgrounds, making it an excellent location for this superhero shoot.

Like with Nancy’s shoot, I used my Canon 5D Mark II camera body, Canon EF 135 f/2L lens, a Canon 580 EX II flash, and a reflector. Unlike Nancy’s shoot, though, I used a Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox (held by bekalou) for many of the flash-lit shots. Also, for the shots after dark, I switched to the Canon EF 24-105 f/4L lens, and used a second handheld Canon 580 EX II with a Lastolite Big Bounce diffuser to create multiple light sources.

Group shoots are always fun because characters are more interesting when they’re interacting. Also, cosplayers get breaks while someone else is posing, giving them time to come up with more ideas for poses and shots. In this case, not only were all thre cosplays from the same universe, two of the characters (Canary and Arrow) have a complex personal relationship. This provided lots of fodder when brainstorming poses. In addition, all three cosplayers patiently (even when freezing their butts off in skimpy costumes) worked with Bekalou and I to get each shot set up perfectly. (Incidentally, this type of careful set up is next to impossible at convention shoots, which is why I prefer non-convention shoots.)

The downside of having such an amazing group of cosplayers at such a pretty location, though, is that it makes for a very long shoot. We met up around 1:30pm, and were shooting by 1:45pm. We were starting to wrap up around 4:15pm when Jessica mentioned that she had ridden to the shoot with her boyfriend on a motorcycle. After a brief round of “Wow that would be great for photos! Why didn’t you mention this before?”, we shot Supergirl, then Canary, and then Supergirl again on the motorcycle. This took us all the way through sunset around 4:45pm.

At that point, Jessica and her boyfriend had to leave, but the rest of us moved to an alley in downtown Vacaville and took some more urban-looking shots, including a very amazing “Alley Fight” set. We finally wrapped around 5:30pm, having shot for almost 4 hours straight.

The photos from this shoot are now posted on my site at Here are a few of my favorites:







































You can view more photos from this shoot on my site at

Best of 2011

01 13 2012

A few of my favorite photos posted in 2011 are below. You can view the rest at

























You can view the rest at

NorCal Spring 2011 Cosplay Gathering

05 18 2011

This year’s NorCal Spring Cosplay gathering, organized by Bekalou and me, was a lot of fun. We decided to hold this year’s gathering at Kelley Park in San Jose. Previous Spring gatherings were held at Hakone Gardens, but Hakone’s restrictions and fees were a concern. Even more importantly, Hakone was starting to feel cramped given the number of people who were attending. Also, the previous two Summer gatherings at Kelley Park convinced us that Kelley Park is better when it’s cooler, and that we should find a new, less hot location for this year’s Summer gathering.

My first photography decision for this gathering was to rent the Canon 200mm f/2 lens. This is one of Canon’s best lenses; it’s very sharp and has great bokeh. Its only downsides are its weight and its price. (It’s also conspicuous as heck, which doesn’t matter for gatherings.) For lighting, I brought along two AlienBee lights with softboxes.  To trigger & control them, I used my PocketWizards with the AC9 AlienBee adapter and the AC3 controller.

It was windy in the morning, so I shot with natural light for the first few hours. The 200/f2 lens was a dream, and let me get some really great shots:

After a while, the wind started to die down, and I found some volunteers to hold to light stands in case an unexpected wind gust came along. I set up my lights, and with my volunteers’ help, I started using the lights for my shots:

The PocketWizard AC3 controller made shooting with the AlienBees a breeze. It gave me three dedicated dials for controlling the power of my lights. No more digging into the menus or walking up to the lights to make adjustments! This was especially convenient with the 200/f2, which, because of its long focal length, required me to stand fairly far away to get full body shots. I can not imagine shooting the ABs without the AC3 any more.

Thank you to everyone who came and made this gathering a success, with a special thanks to everyone who posed for photos or helped me with my lighting gear! Also, an extra-giant thanks to Bekalou for organizing this with me! I look forward to seeing everyone at the NorCal Summer Gathering at our new location!

More of my photos from this gathering are on my photo site at

Other photos from the gathering:

ConDroyd, my new ALA 2011 schedule app for Android

01 03 2011

ConDroyd is a FREE Anime Los Angeles (ALA) 2011 schedule app for Android phones & tablets that I wrote. It includes the latest published schedule and all the cosplay gatherings posted on It lets you star your must-attend events, and then you can filter to display just those events. You can also enable reminders for your starred events so you don’t miss them.

For more info, please go to

If you’re coming to ALA and have an Android, please download my app, give it a try, and let me know what you think.

2011 Cosplay Photo Calendar

12 03 2010

My 2011 Cosplay Calendar is now available. It has 13 of my favorite cosplay photos that I’ve posted in the last year. The calendar itself is 11″ x 17″, press-printed on 110# semi-gloss paper, and spiral bound at the top.

I will be selling copies of this calendar for a limited time, for $24 each. Shipping is $3.50 a calendar. If you live in the San Jose area or are coming to Anime Los Angeles, you can save on shipping by requesting hand-delivery of the calendar. To purchase one, or if you have any questions, email me at

Below are a few sample pages from the calendar. You can preview all the pages in the calendar at

Calendar Cover

March Preview

October preview


See more at

Angel’s Camp Cosplay Trip

08 31 2010

Casual photographers take cosplay photos by stopping people in hallways; more serious photographers schedule shoots during conventions. But to be a really hard-core photographer, you need to set up private shoots at scenic locations far away from any convention center.  That’s what I did recently, by inviting eight cosplayers to join my wife, my daughter, and I for a long weekend at Angel’s Camp, CA.

Angel’s Camp is a beautiful small town about three hours east of San Jose, at the foot of the Sierra-Nevada mountains, and about one hour north of Yosemite. It has lots of open fields and small hills, and is near Calaveras Big Trees State Park, with its forest, river, and mountains. This combination of locales made it the perfect place for several cosplay photo shoots.

Day 0

Before the trip, there was much discussion about logistics and timing for the departure from San Jose, but in the end, things went fairly smoothly. We left from my house more or less on time in a rented minivan and my Camry. We hit some traffic on the way, but not as much as I had feared, and after a pit stop at A&W’s, we arrived at Angel’s Camp. After checking in and unloading the cars, a team was dispatched to the grocery store to get food for our stay. After that, we wanted to eat dinner. Because everything closes so early in small towns, we ended up getting fast food. A quick Avatar DVD marathon, and we went to sleep.

Day 1

After a delicious breakfast, we headed out for the Avatar: The Last Airbender shoot at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. This shoot had Azula (bekalou), Toph (blueskadoo), Katara (athena), Sokka (Keikishei), and Pien Dao (Michael).  We started out shooting by a river:




After shooting there for a while, we moved to a forest location, where I finally got a chance to try out my new AlienBees lighting equipment:

Avatar group photo


After that, we moved to another river location:


One quick stop at a scenic overlook:

and we headed back to Angel’s Camp, exhausted.

You can see the rest of my photos from this very fun shoot at–The-Last-Airbender/13437821_YmKKp. You can also see Kazuha’s photos from this shoot at

After a very filling dinner and a relaxing soak in the hot tub, it was back to photography.

First, I did a shoot of Keikishei as Son Goku:

Son Goku

You can see the rest of the photos from this shoot at

After that, I did a shoot of Bekalou as Syaoran in the Dragon Illustration costume:



You can see the rest of the photos from this shoot at

One quick Avatar DVD marathon, and we all went to bed for the night.

To Be Continued in part 2…

WonderCon 2010

05 16 2010


This was my first year at WonderCon — I’d never been able to make it to WonderCon before. I’m glad I came! There were many great costumes, and I took a lot of photos.

I only had a few photoshoots set up ahead of time, so I tried something new for my hallway photography. I did a little of my usual hallway photography, wandering around and taking photos, but that didn’t work very well because of the crowds and because the venue is not conducive to mobile photography. Instead, for most of the convention I set up a mini-studio in an out-of-the-way (but not too out-of-the-way) location, and did minishoots with cosplayers who walked by. Several other photographers, including Mike from ConPix, set up shop nearby, and together we had an informal photography area going.  This ended up working out pretty well. The only disadvantage is that a lot of the shoots look similar, since they were shot in the same location with similar lighting.

The convention itself was very different from other conventions I’ve attended. Unlike most anime conventions, congoers for the most part seemed passive; they were here to be entertained and to shop. Unlike Dragon*Con and other fan-oriented SF/F conventions, WonderCon felt very industry oriented. The weirdest thing for me was that the hallways started getting quiet around 5pm. That’s not to say it wasn’t fun; just that if you attend expecting Dragon*Con West or Anime Expo North, you’re going to be disappointed.

I considered staying at a hotel, but ended up driving up from San Jose all three days. Parking was expensive, but not that hard to find, so it wasn’t too bad.

I’m really happy I attended this year. I spent time with many old friends and made several new ones, and I got a chance to shoot costumes very different from what I typically see at the other conventions I attend. I look forward to coming back next year!


I’m still working on processing the photos from WonderCon, but some of the shoots are finished and have been posted. Here are some of my favorite shots: (click on a photo for a larger view and for more photos from that shoot.)

More of my photos from WonderCon 2010 are at


High points:

  • Lots of great costumes
  • Very friendly attendees and staff
  • Ability to set up a “mini-studio” for hallway photos instead of fighting crowds

Low points:

  • Weather (it was raining one of the days)
  • Backstage masquerade photo area
  • Dealer room crowds

WonderCon, Fanime, and other updates

02 28 2010

WonderCon & Fanime Photoshoot Scheduling

  • I will be at WonderCon Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This will be my first year attending WonderCon, and I’m really looking forward to it.
  • I will be at at Fanime Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and possibly Monday.

If you are interested in a free private photoshoot at WonderCon or Fanime, please email me (  After your shoot, you will be able to download free web-sized, watermarked photos from my web site. Full-sized, unwatermarked photo downloads and prints are also available from my site.

You can see photos from shoots at previous conventions at

Future Conventions

For various reasons, I will not be attending Anime Expo this year.  I am considering attending Pacific Media Expo, and will almost certainly be at ALA 2011, so I will be able to do shoots of SoCal cosplayers at those conventions.  My next convention after Fanime will be DragonCon in Atlanta,.GA.

Photo Processing Update

There are five more ALA photoshoots and one AOD photoshoot that have not yet been posted. I’m processing them as fast as possible and hope to have them up very soon. Thank you for your patience.