The Time Element - "What happens after my photo shoot?"

As a photographer who works with cosplayers regularly, there is a good reason I can’t guarantee your turn around time on photos. Don’t get me wrong- I work long and hard every day to get images back to cosplayers as quickly as possible! But sometime shoots take longer to edit than others, and I’ll never give back a product that I’m not satisfied with. So this blog post comes from a place of understanding. I want you all to see what types of obstacles I face that make it hard to give you a hard date to get your photos back.

For anyone who has booked me before, you already know my sessions. A solo shoot, a duo shoot, or a group shoot, each getting progressively more edited images. A solo shoot takes me on average one day to edit, duo shoots two, and group shoots are wild cards depending on the number of cosplayers. Things get tricky when heavy editing needs done, though.

Let’s take a look at one example. This shoot is a Ruler Kenma Au cosplay by Makkiichan Cos. When she arrived at the shoot I was giddy. Her outfit was a twist of cosplay and fashion- tassels on shoulder pads, flowy skirt, and legs for days with a beautifully colored and styled wig. I knew right away that one piece of the cosplay was going to take me some time: her tights. As you can see below, the seam is in the front of the leg with layers of a thicker fabric around the waist and top of her legs.

Facebook: MakkiiChan コスプレ
Instagram: @makkiichan.cos

Rule #1 folks: If you can get it right in camera, do it. Take the hairband off your wrist, remove the phone from the boob pocket, and tuck that piece of fabric where you can see the safety pin from a last minute repair. Unfortunately, the tights couldn’t be smoothed in person. We carried on with the shoot, got amazing photos, and when I brought them into Photoshop the real work began. This solo shoot took me an entire week to edit, averaging one photo per day (that’s right, about 4-5 hours per image).

There were three major steps to getting rid of these leggings. First, use frequency separation to separate the texture layer from the color layer. This way I could clone stamp the texture from the rest of her leg over the bunched up areas. Now the texture from bunched fabric is gone and skin texture is in its place. Next, I focused on the color layer. There were still dark and light streaks from the shadows and highlights of bunched fabric, so I had to carefully smooth the inconsistencies out. My second big step was correcting color temperature. The problem area is a warmer, greener, and darker color than the rest of her legs. The third step was adding appropriate shading and highlights to contour the area and make it look more like a leg with shape and less like a blob of color.

Four to five hours, per image, taking me a week. This shoot has taken me the longest to date to edit, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the results! Word to the wise, guys- please be aware of how your wardrobe affects your photographs.  Not all photographers will make edits like these, and depending on the cosplay and posing I might not be able to make these changes every time either!

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The next one I want to talk about is a cosplay of Art Nouveau Squirtle, designed by Hannah Alexander and cosplayed by Ginger Liz Cosplay. I have a weakness for the fashion glory of the art nouveau style and Ginger Liz and I had photographed a Hannah Alexander design once before (which you should also go check out here!) This photo took me 3 hours to edit- not because of tights, but because I’m a picky person. I liked her arm better in a different photograph, so I merged two poses into one. Due to the detail in the cosplay, there was a lot of clone stamping, blending, and fabricating of beadwork involved. Making sure all of the lighting and color temperatures matched and the combination was seamless took quite a while! In addition, the composition needed more balance, so I adjusted the background and framing to draw the eye straight to the cosplayer instead of the blank wall to the left.

The next step was to balance my color temperature to really enhance the cool blue effect, remove remaining distractions, and do some minor dodging and burning to enhance the detail of the cosplay.

Facebook: Ginger Liz
Instagram: @gingeriiz

And there we have it! Three hours later I finished one image. One thing you can know working with me is I will do everything I can to make sure your photos look awesome.

So if you ever find yourself wondering, “When will my photos be done?” there are two things you can know for sure:

1. I’m working as quickly as I can every day to ensure everyone I work with receives my personal best.
2. That includes you!