Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cosplay Photoshoot - Rogue One Chirrut Îmwe Photoshoot (plus Finn!) 12.14.16

Author: Luke Cheng


The new Star Wars Rogue One movie came out this week on Thursday and I had went to the opening night showing in Natomas. It was awesome, and I enjoyed every minute of the film. The day before that, however, I was in Discovery Park doing a photoshoot with Padawantail (Facebook/Instagram) cosplaying as one of the main characters in the movie - Chirrut Îmwe. He had already seen the movie (lucky!), so he knew what the character was all about. I was going in a little blind (blind... get it?!?!) for this shoot, but we would make it happen!


Joining in with Padawantail were Cassierolee (IG) and Stormoolio (IG) cosplaying as Stormtroopers. Both had to take some time to gear up before the shoot as Stormtrooper armor is no joke to put on! I love the way Stormtrooper cosplayers look, but I'm pretty sure I'd never give it a try as it would be too restricting for me. Props to everyone who suits up like this! They definitely have to have a passion in order to go through that ordeal.


Padawantail wanted to shoot at a beach location, but sadly Sacramento isn't ideal for that. We decided to give Discovery Park a try, but when we got there the beach area had mostly flooded over. There was just a very tiny piece of land left before the river and it did not have any sand on it - which is what we were going for. It was too late to try and change locations so we just got to shooting. Sometimes you just have to take what mother nature gives you.


The shot we were trying to get was a specific fight between Chirrut Îmwe and the Stormtroopers. If you've seen the movie (or even the trailers), you'll know that he and the troopers tussle quite a bit. These action sequences are a great part of the movie. Padawantail wanted to recreate the look of those fights. Since I wasn't sure of how it should look, my favorite shots of the fight photos were the ones that I ended up taking with a tighter angle (like the shot above).


After the fight photos I had the chance to take some photos that just showcased all the cosplayers doing their thing. I set up a single light to the left of some rocks and shot away. These shots were some of my favorite that came out of the photoshoot that day. The lighting creates a very dramatic look! Using off-camera flash is so much fun. 


Shooting Padawantail as Chirrut Îmwe made me really wonder what the character would be like in the movie. After seeing the movie the next day, I was able to see why Padawantail would want to cosplay as him. Chirrut Îmwe is a really cool character that does a lot of bad ass stuff. He also has a very eclectic personality that is a bit strange, but likable. I think there will be a lot more Chirrut Îmwe cosplays in the future.


Along for the ride in this photoshoot was Bigtrent07 (IG). He came to hang out and help with the shoot, but since he had his Finn cosplay on there was no reason not to get some shots of him too. We mashed up the timeline a bit with the Finn photos, but I still think they turned out very well. We'll just say that Finn got hold of a time machine and went back to the events of Rogue One.


This was a pretty short shoot as begin late in the afternoon, but I was very glad to spend time with this Star Wars loving crew. CLICK HERE to see the photos from this shoot. And if you haven't seen Rogue One yet... I highly recommend checking it out. There is so much good stuff in that movie!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cosplay Photoshoot - League of Legends Christmas Cosplay 12.10.16

Author: Luke Cheng


This past weekend I had the fun opportunity to do a Christmas themed photoshoot with cosplayers Pachanket, Ashton.Taylor.Cosplay, Feisty_vee, and Camislyce42 (all on Instagram). They love  and play League of Legends, so they put together this special themed shoot centered around characters of that game. I added some lighting to their beautifully decorated room and we got shooting!


One thing I wanted to try during this shoot was to put a light in behind the cosplayers to see what an effect it would have. I liked the effect that it had on many of the photos, so I'll probably utilize this technique more in future shoots. I think the back light adds some interest to the photos in this case. 


Here the light in the back is more subtle as it adds a glow to Ash's hair. This particular shot is one of my favorites from the shoot as it captures the entire scene Christmas scene with Ashton posing perfectly in front. Though I love this photo, there were so many from this shoot that I love just as much as this one too. The girls did such an awesome job in front of the camera that day!


As with all photoshoots, there is a ton of fun that goes on as we took photos. I really like when we have fun ideas and poses to shoot like this one above. It's really great when light hearted photos like these  are sprinkled within a large set of photos - it really mixes things up and adds a lot to the overall set.


Towards the end of the shoot we decided to finish off with a few pics of the girls decorating the tree. There was a really nice warmness about the entire scene that felt great. There's just something about coming together like this that gives you those happy holiday feelings. 


And here are the girls post shoot, happy to be out of their cosplays and into something a lot more comfy. I have to give a huge thanks to Marissa for contacting me and inviting me to come out for this shoot. It was so much fun for me! I'm sure we'll be working together again real soon. If you would like to see an entire gallery of photos from this League of Legends Christmas photoshoot, CLICK HERE!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 Sac Gamers Expo 12.11.16

Author: Luke Cheng


The yearly Sac Gamers Expo took place today at the Scottish Rites Center. I had a blast last year at this event and expected the same this year. As the name states, this expo/con is all about games - specifically video games. Rather than focusing on the latest games out on the PC, Playstation 4, and the Xbox One, most of the attention here was on retro and vintage gaming. Yes, the old school stuff! You can see the new games any day you like at your local Gamestop. This event is really about celebrating video game history.


The expo featured an entire room filled with older consoles. Everyone who came in had the opportunity to get their hands on and play with older game machines. One of the most interesting pieces of hardware was Nintendo's Virtual Boy. The Virtual Boy didn't last long as it was a pretty poorly conceived system, but it was on display and ready to try out at the Sac Gamers Expo. From obscure systems like this to older popular systems like the Atari and Playstation consoles, this room had a wealth of gaming to sit down and enjoy.


Out in the main dealer hall there was plenty to see and buy. Tons of video game related memorabilia and trinkets were available for sale. From keychains to candy to toys, the dealers had them all. I definitely took the time checking out all the booths today. My favorite thing to look at is all the original art on display. I was able to pick out something to take home today for a very good price. There was no shortage of cool things to see here amongst the many tables. It was definitely a challenge to keep the money in the wallet!


Besides video game related stuff, there was, of course, actual video games being sold! And like I mentioned before, the main focus of the games was in older hardware and software. Looking for Atari, Super Nintendo, or Genesis stuff? It was there! Playstion 1 and 2? Yep! And there was no shortage of old consoles and peripherals either. Sure, one of the most popular things this holiday season is the Classic Mini NES Console... but here you could find the real deal! Oh, but the Classic Mini was here as well... I saw one!


To keep the gamers filled up and energized, Drewski's food truck was onsite. I love Drewski's! They are a Sacramento original that serves up delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and more. Today they had tot'chos. If you couldn't guss by the name, the dish is a fushion of tater tots and nachos. Sound good? It certainly looked amazing. Big thanks to the guys over at Drewski's for coming out and parking next to the expo. Everyone appreciated the delicious and convenient food!


What gaming expo would be complete without game tournaments? The Sac Gaming Expo's main stage was filled with people watching or participating in video game tournaments all throughout the day. Gamers took to the screens and battled each other for top place. It was a ton of fun to watch the gamers go at it and see the crowd watching them as they played.


The cosplay game at Sac Gamers Expo was a bit lighter than the year before. Not as many came out in their costumes, but those that did came strong. Here's a shot of Noctis from the brand new Final Fantasy XV game. I've been playing FFXV since it came out last week so I had to get a photo of this cosplay the second I saw it. 


Here's a pic of me and Sean Long. Sean's a great friend to me and many of the cosplayers in Sacramento. You won't find a nicer guy! Sean has a hit Youtube channel and was on a panel here at the Sac Gaming Expo this afternoon. I love seeing Sean and was glad to catch up with him today. All-in-all I had a blast at the expo. I hope I see you at another Sacramento area event soon!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cosplay Photoshoot - Bayleaf as Maki Nishikino 11.17.16

Author: Luke Cheng


Bayleaf Cosplay and I met up a while back to discuss a cosplay shoot, and last week we got together at the Cosplay of Sacramento studios to take some photos of her Maki Nishikino cosplay. We started by taking some shots on the gray backdrop. Bayleaf came ready with a variety of poses that she wanted to photograph - which was great! I love it when cosplayers have the poses in mind before the shoot. It just makes everything go so much quicker and more smoothly.


Initially we were going to just shoot with the background, but I suggested that we go outside to grab some photos. It was the late afternoon during the golden hour - the time of day that has the absolute best light for photographs. Very close to the studio is Davis' green belt, a bike path that weaves its way around the entire city. The path is well kept with scenic backgrounds perfect for taking photographs outside. We picked a nice little area and took a bunch of photos!


Bayleaf was awesome to work with. She came ready with poses and had an amazing cosplay that matched Maki Nishikino perfectly. I was really impressed with the detail and quality of her cosplay. It made me very happy to be able to photograph it, and I was very glad to have met and worked with Bayleaf. One of the best parts of being a cosplay photographer is meeting all the awesome cosplayers out there. Bayleaf is definitely one of great people out there! If you'd like to see my full gallery of our pics, CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cosplay Photoshoot - Mistercomb and Starrymagics as Panty and Stocking 11.12.16

Author: Luke Cheng


Davis, Davis, Davis! I had another cosplay photoshoot in Davis, and again at the Social Science building on the campus of UCD. This time I was taking photos of Mistercomb and Starrymagics in their Panty and Stocking cosplay. As it has been recently, the weather was absolutely perfect. We met up in the late afternoon to get the best lighting possible and got to shooting!


Panty and Stocking cosplay is really fun to shoot because the characters are so much fun. Their outfit and look really lends itself to exciting cosplays. Mistercomb was Panty and looked gorgeous. Her cosplay was on point. I particularly liked her pink nails so I had her really show them off in this picture I got of her lying down on a bench. 


Starrymagics was Stocking and did a marvelous job pulling off the character. She had some absolutely fabulous poses and looks as we shot. It was really hard for me to choose favorite photos from this shoot because so many of the images turned out so well. 


Mistercomb and Starrymagics were fantastic to work with and we had a lot of fun during this shoot. It's always surprising to me how many different looking locations we can get from such a small area of the UC Davis campus. Now that I shot here more, I'm excited to continue finding the best and most unique locations for photographs.


As with many of the cosplayers I've worked with, Mistercomb and Starrymagics both constructed their cosplays themselves. Not only did they make their costumes, but their weapons as well. Both the gun and the sword they had could light up. Pretty awesome, eh? If you want to see more from this shoot CLICK HERE for my full gallery!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cosplay Photoshoot - Novermber Cosplay as D.Va 11.11.16

Author: Luke Cheng


Overwatch had been a very popular game and many cosplayers have chosen to cosplay as D.Va. She's a very cool character with an awesome look. November Cosplay came over to my studio to take some shots of her D.Va cosplay on Friday morning. I pulled out my blue backdrop as I thought it would make a nice background for the colors of this cosplay.


Besides just trying to get some really nice shots of November as D.Va, another goal of this shoot was to focus some shots on the leggings she was wearing. November was wearing leggings made by her friend little.chook on Instagram. She is trying to get some promotional material so we thought this shoot could be helpful. I'm actually planning to do another shoot with products from little.chook so be on the look out for that soon!


Check out November's awesome nails with this shot. They are so intricate with a sweet design on them. So often cosplayers have details like these that really bring their cosplay to another level. It's important to me to make sure they are highlighted.


Thanks to November Cosplay for yet another fun and amazing shoot. We shoot quite often so I'm sure we'll be working together again very soon. If you're interested in seeing all the shots I took from this photoshoot, CLICK HERE. Thanks for reading, I'll be posting again very soon!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Cosplay Photoshoot - Necikait as Rei Ayanami 11.9.16

Author: Luke Cheng


This past week I got the chance to shoot with one of my favorite all time cosplayers - Necikait! We've known and have worked with each other for a while now, so getting together is always smooth and fun. Necikait is an amazing cosplayer. She is awesome at applying make-up and creating cosplays all on her own. In fact, she does tutorials on Youtube. If you're interested in that kind of stuff, give her a follow!


We had a pretty simple shoot today. All the photos were done on my gray background with one light. Necikait and I primarily have gone outdoors to different locations for photoshoots, but as it has been getting darker earlier, going with the indoor backdrop was the right call. I'll probably be using my backdrops more and more as the weather gets colder and more wet.


Necikait was cosplaying Rei Ayanami from Evangelion. She looked great in the suit so I wanted to get as many different angles of her as I could. The shots that I went low to the ground are some of my favorites of the entire shoot. I was literally lying on my back to get this shot, but I think it was worth it. 


This is a behind the scenes photo of the backdrop I used and the light I set up. As you can see, the backdrop is pretty narrow so we didn't have much wiggle room. All my shots had to be in a bit tighter. I think we were able to make this little set-up work well and I'm happy with the results we produced that night.


It was a blast taking photos of Necikait this week. She's super nice and a very talented person. Check out my full gallery of her Rei cosplay HERE. Also, check out my short video of our photoshoot below. Keep an eye on Necikait's channel too as she has more content from this shoot coming soon. Thanks!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 Fall Central Valley Cosplay Gathering 11.5.16

Author: Luke Cheng


The Fall Central Valley Cosplay Gathering took place at William Land Park in Sacramento this past weekend. It had originally been set for the weekend prior, but bad weather and rain postponed it a week. It was good decision to move it one week forward as the weather was nice and the ground was dry. I arrived to this gathering as it was already in full swing and tried to capture as many photos as I could.


As with all the gatherings I go to, I try to get in as many photoshoots as possible. Today I got to shoot with a good number of cosplayers. One of my favorite cosplayers is Lexi (lexibeecosplay on Instagram). She has an impressive Wonder Woman cosplay that I always enjoy taking photos of. Today she added a cape and red hood which I thought gave the cosplay a different look. Lexi has some of the greatest poses whenever we shoot together. She's definitely a natural in front of the camera.


Photoshoot are always great fun, and there are lots of laughs that can happen in-between serious shots. Even though I'm always trying to get shots that look epic and cool, I won't hesitate to capture those moments that come prior to or after the main pose. These behind the scenes photos really show the joy of taking photos together, so I take then whenever I can.


Getting the right shot takes a really good collaboration between me and the cosplayer. We have to get a really good combination of pose, lighting, and background in order to make a photograph we can be proud of. I really like this shot from the photo above because all the elements I mentioned came through in a way that I thought worked well. 


Besides photoshoots, there are a ton of fun things that happen at cosplay gatherings. Dancing has to be at the top of many peoples' lists as something they like to do when going to gatherings or cons. Operation_mj on Instagram is always ready with the tunes to get cosplayers moving their feet. No matter where he's at, he brings that sweet music. You'll often see people like myself trying to take photographs or video of the cosplayers as they dance.


The raffle is another really fun way to get engaged at the gathering. The raffle prizes at the Central Valley Cosplay Gatherings have been really good. Top prizes include either day or weekend passes to SacAnime - something that could save someone a pretty nice chunk of change! It's really awesome that the organizers have this raffle and give out prizes. It's always fun to have a chance at winning cool stuff!


These gatherings are a great way for anyone who enjoys cosplay to come out and be together. It's a fun community to be a part of and a great way to meet people who have the same interest as you do. I've found that many new friendships have been formed from coming out to these gatherings. I'm so glad that Sacramento has a gathering that happens during every season. It's so awesome having everyone together!


Group pic? Yep! Of course that has to be a photo that includes everyone at the gathering. There is always a time where everything stops. All the cosplayers gather together for one huge photograph that includes all the attendees. Wanna see the group pic that I got? You'll have to check out my full gallery of pics.


I'm really glad to have gone to the Fall Central Valley Cosplay Gathering. I've had a great time at each of the gatherings that have taken place prior to this one and am really looking forward to when the next one will be. While we wait, CLICK HERE to look at all my photos from this past weekends event. Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cosplay Photoshoot - Neurotoxicity as Dia de los Muertos Asuka 11.4.16

Author: Luke Cheng


On Friday I had my first shoot with Neurotoxicity (on Facebook). She contacted me about getting photos of her Dia de los Muertos Asuka cosplay, and of course I was happy to do so. I love meeting new cosplayers so I jumped at the chance to work with her. I've been shooting around the Davis area for the past few photoshoots, and this one was the same. For a small town, there are a lot of great places to take photos!


Neurotoxicity's cosplay, especially the face make-up, was very intricate and complicated. I could tell this was not an easy cosplay to just jump into and get snapping. She looked great in her cosplay, and the time she put in really elevated her look for our photoshoot. It's awesome when so much care goes into a cosplay - these are the ones I love capturing! So far I've been really lucky to be able to shoot a lot of cosplayers who are dedicated to the craft.


Our shoot took place just as the sun was setting - the golden hour. The sky had some dazzling colors. I used an off camera flash to get her lit up and away we went. Though our shoot was only about half an hour, I feel we were able to come away with some sweet photos. 


I really enjoyed my shoot with Neurotoxicity. If you liked the photos we took, check out her page on Facebook. You can also CLICK HERE to see 30 photos from our photoshoot. I'm so glad Neurotoxicity contacted me to do a shoot. If you're interested in shooting with me, contact me at luke@lukeistheblacksheep.com or through my Cosplay of Sacrament facebook page or Instagram. Hope to hear from you soon so we can get shooting!