Friday, September 16, 2016

Cosplay Photoshoot - PerfectionxQueenie as Kitana 9.11.16

Author: Luke Cheng

I absolutely love doing photoshoots outside of cons and events. When I do shoots at cons, I always feel like I'm in a rush - and the places in which to shoot can be limited or taken up by other photographers. One-on-one shoots outside of cosplay events are definitely my preference, and if anyone ever requests a shoot like this from me, I'm usually game! Alison (aka PerfectionxQueenie on Instagram) contacted me via direct message and set up this shoot in Natomas. It was a beautiful early evening when we met up.

Alison debuted her Kitana cosplay from Mortal Kombat. She looked really stunning in it and definitely turned some heads when we shot. Our first location was right outside of a Chili's restaurant. We wanted to primarily shoot at the fountain, but it was very difficult to not get Chili's in the shot. As you can see from the photo above, the fountain is nice, but having the bright colors of the restaurant in the background is not ideal. This is a photo that I may play with in Photoshop where I could remove the background and replace it with something that isn't a gaudy American chain restaurant.

After taking just a few shots at the fountain I decided to move to a different location. There wasn't much around where we were at, but did find a desolate looking field with a nice rock that we could possibly pose around. I thought the field had a sort of Outworld feel to it. I could definitely see Kitana in a place like this rather than going to Chili's for a two for twenty meal deal.

Alison is a model so she had an arsenal of poses ready to go. I loved how she went from pose to pose at each press of the shutter on my camera. She was a true pro and I loved working with her. Even though our location wasn't the best, and we actually were battling some pretty harsh sunlight, we were able to capture some shots I was happy with.

All-in-all I was able to come away from this shoot with a 15 photo gallery of Alison's Kitana cosplay. If you'd like to check them out, CLICK HERE! We are actually planning to meet up again to shoot this cosplay in another area as well. When we do I'll update the gallery with those shots. Big thanks goes out to Alison for coming out and doing this shoot. I was short but a lot of fun. As I said before, I'm always looking to do these one-on-one types of shoots! Let's get together!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016 G33k-HQ Cosplay Gathering 9.10.16

Author: Luke Cheng

This week has certainly been a busy one for cosplay events here in the Sacramento region. Last weekend was Summer SacAnime, Thursday was CrockerCon, and today was the first ever G33k-HQ cosplay gathering. The boys over at G33k-HQ took the time and effort to provide a new gathering for cosplayers. The location was at the De Luna Ranch located in Brentwood, Ca, which is about an hour and a half from Sacramento. It was a beautiful and large location that was ideal for a get-together of epic proportions. When I arrived at around noon, people were already there enjoying themselves with the activities set-up by G33k-HQ.

Being a photographer, I'm always looking for interesting places to do photoshoots. Well, the De Luna Ranch is a great place for interesting photography! There are beautiful trees and vegetation all around, but scattered throughout are also old cars, farm machines, and other relics that really you can't find anywhere else. I definitely took advantage of some of the things scattered about to take photos on or around. Our hosts at the ranch were also gracious enough to make sure we knew that just about everything was open fun us to shoot - it made for a very comfortable shooting experience.

Often times gatherings are just huge hangouts with the occasional activities that people scrounge up to do... not so with the G33K-HQ gathering. There were a lot of things that were available for those who came out. First off, lunch. For a suggested $5 donation, attendees got both a hot dog AND a hamburger along with a bag of chips and a soda. What a deal! And if people needed more there were very affordable snacks at a snack shack as well. With the energy provided by the food, people could try their hand at archery or in using different weapons on-site including whips, swords, and firearms. As you can see, there was no lack of things to do here at the gathering. 

As with all gatherings, it's always great to see people you know or meet new people. The Sacramento cosplay community is filled with great folks to get to know and make friends with. The gatherings that happen are perfect in bringing everyone back together. I really loved shooting today with cosplayers that I had fun shooting with before, and I equally loved shooting with a few new cosplayers that I just met today. If you haven't been out to a gathering before, I suggest coming out and experiencing something that is well worth your time!

Towards the latter part of the day, G33k-HQ held a raffle and gave away a bunch of prizes with the best being passes to some upcoming Sacramento area cons. Congrats to the following winners for getting an awesome prize!

Winner of SacCon tickets!

Winner of SacCon ticket and t-shirt!

Winner of Winter SacAnime passes!

Huge thanks to G33k-HQ for hosting such an amazing gathering. They provided food, fun, and prizes - it was definitely above and beyond what they had to do, but they put in the work and effort to make this gathering a phenomenal experience for everyone who came out. I hope that this gathering happens again next year. I suspect even more people will want to go! Wanna see my full gallery of 100 photos? CLICK HERE.

Friday, September 9, 2016

2016 Crocker Art Museum ArtMix CrockerCon 9.8.16

Author: Luke Cheng

Tonight the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento held their own version of a comic convention entitled CrockerCon. This 'con' is actually part of a series of events called the ArtMix held every month at the museum. ArtMixes combine art with food, music, dance, and fun! All of the ArtMix events are different and unique... but of course I had to blog about this particular one because it featured cosplay! Some cosplayers actually participated as 'live models' for attendees to sketch pictures of - as shown in the above photo. There were lots of unique activities like this one going on all throughout the evening. CrockerCon is an experience very different than what you usually expect to see and do during a convention. Great job to the folks who set this up as a fresh and new experience!

My good friend (and model and cosplayer) Claudia was nice enough to join me tonight for the ArtMix. It was her first time at an ArtMix... scratch that... it was her first time at the Crocker Art Museum! It was really fun to see her reaction to the ArtMix event and to the museum itself. She had a very positive experience tonight and is now inspired to come check out future ArtMixes. One of her favorite things that she did this evening was visit the exhibits at the museum. Yes! The exhibits are open during the ArtMix events! It was great fun to just walk around the beautiful interior of both the new/modern sections of the museum and the classic/original museum. There was a lot to experience along with all that was going on with CrockerCon.

You know what? Sacramento always brings its A-game when it comes to cosplay. There were so many awesome cosplays on display tonight from all sorts of different genres. I saw cosplayers dressed as music icons, comic book characters, anime, and a very large contingent of Star Wars cosplayers in extremely detailed costumes. It was awesome to see all the different cosplays together at the ArtMix. 

Back again was the DeLorean and the fellas cosplaying as Doc and Marty. The DeLorean is always a hit when it goes anywhere and made for a great photo op once again this evening. The DeLorean was featured in the main courtyard of the museum where there were many artist and vendor booths. It was a ton of fun checking out all the things that were on display. The artwork was especially awesome this year. I got a chance to talk with some of the artists there and hear about the passion that they have for their craft. We have some tremendous talent here in the Sacramento region and I'm glad they had the opportunity to put their work on display during CrockerCon!

Inside the museums main area the music was booming. DJs were spinning records and there were even dancers that took to the stage. The energy inside was extremely high with the museum abuzz with excitement. Attendees in this area could watch the events on stage, go to a photobooth to get their picture taken, or grab some food and drink to enjoy. For those who made it to the first hour of the ArtMix, they got to enjoy happy hour prices! How sweet is that? I took the opportunity to grab a burger at a nice little discount! Overall, CrockerCon was a great experience to have during a regular work week. It definitely spiced things up for me as work was feeling a bit dry. I hope we get to do this again next year! If you'd like to see some more photos from CrockerCon, CLICK HERE for a mini photo gallery of the night.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

2016 Summer SacAnime Day Three 9.4.16

Author: Luke Cheng

It's the third day of SacAnime and I was expecting things to really wind down. Often times people like to relax and do more shopping in the vendor halls on the last day of a con. Well, that may be the case for some, but the people that I hung out with were going strong with their cosplay and wanted to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more! So rather than being a day with the least amount of photo content, it actually turned out to be the day with the most photos taken. I was able to do photoshoot after photoshoot today and ended up getting some great pics. This blog posting will mostly be about the people who I got a chance to shoot with today. If you'd like to see hall photos, they'll be in the link to my main gallery at the end of this blog post.

Ahhhhhhh! It's Cheyenne (aka on Instagram)!!! I met Cheyenne last year when she and some other cosplayers were doing promos for Wizard World Sacramento. She did a killer Psylocke cosplay for that event. After that, we made arrangements for a private cosplay shoot in downtown Sacramento. We got some great shots from that session - if you'd like to check them out you can find the galleries on my main site. Not too long after, Cheyenne moved out of the Sacramento area. I was sad about that, but recently I've seen her back at some local cons, and also as a model for the Geek Fashion Show. It was great being able to shoot with Cheyenne once again, check out her Instagram if you get the chance!

It's this a crime scene? Nope! It's actually @miss_artist_rhi cosplaying as Kirigiri from Danganronnpa. She had a great cosplay and brought along props to enhance the mini shoot that we did. I find that cosplayers who bring props are able to produce photos that embody their character much better than those who don't. Props just add that extra something that brings it all together. The photo featured about has her as Kirigiri dusting for fingerprints on the wall. Will she find any clues? I hope so!

My next shoot was with the fruit maid Sailor Moon girls! I had actually done a mini shoot with them back about a month or so ago at a gathering in the bay area, but this time they had Sailor Moon with them for a more complete squad. We had a great time shooting and ended up with some great results. Our collective favorite shots from this set had to be the ones with them laying down and being photographed from above. Just an FYI, the aprons they have on were each custom hand sewn with hours and hours put in to get them just right. NOW YOU KNOW!

Sklyr (@skynerd_cosplay) and Jess ( @supakawaiineko) were up to their cosplay hijinks with their rendition of He-Man and Skeletor. I actually totally did not recognize Sklyr at all with that mask on. It was only after she said hello that I found out it was her. I always enjoy shooting with these girls because they are always so much fun and their cosplays have that same spirit of fun in them. @kazamacosplay also cosplayed as He-Man along with Sklyr and Jess during this shoot. Check out the photos in the main gallery to see all the He-action!

How about some Kim Possible cosplay? Here we have @gh0stgirl.adventures and @joe.cosplay as Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable. I have to admit I haven't seen much of the Kim Possible television shows, but that hair color is instantly recognizable! For this shoot I was definitely asking questions about the characters and how they would pose. Thankfully, I was able to get some good information to be able to take some good shots of this sweet cosplay! I might have to do some research when I get the time on Kim Possible. I don't want to be out of the loop!

As I was shooting with Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable, Harley Quinn came by to take a few snaps! Harley is a very popular character to cosplay as, but getting her just right can be a challenge. This particular Harley cosplay is really great. She's got both the bat and the gun featured in the motion picture. This photo really features the baseball bat, but you can see the handle of her gun at the bottom of the frame. Kudos here for getting all the details down!

Look familiar? It's @pachanket again! I shot her League of Legends cosplay yesterday, but today she was with a Street Fighter group as Sakura. She and her entire group had their cosplay on-point! The colors they had were popping, which is something that photographers love. I didn't have the time to do a proper shoot with these gals, but I managed to snap a photo of each of them in the main gallery.

You know this group of cosplayers! It's the Sacramento crew! Sean, Stephanie, Jose, Joe, and crew all got together for a special JLA punk cosplay shoot. Each of them punked out a different character from the Justice League. This shoot was a lot of fun because each cosplayer brought something different in terms of style. I was able to get some group shots as well as individual portraits. I loved how the shots came out and I hope you get the chance to take a look at them.

The last shoot of the day was @yanleyna on Instagram. I was just about to leave for the night when she came up to me. We had actually talked to each other about shooting a couple days earlier but I was so busy I had forgotten. I'm glad we found each other though! Though we only had a short time together, I really enjoyed the shoot and hopefully we'll get some more shoots in the future! Check out these Harley pics as well as all my photos from SacAnime Day Three: CLICK HERE!

Monday, September 5, 2016

2016 Summer SacAnime Day Two 9.3.16

Author: Luke Cheng

Back to SacAnime for day two!!! Jenn and I were really looking forward to this day because she was debuting a new cosplay - Sinon from Sword Art Online. It took her a long time to get this cosplay pieced together, so it was exciting to see her get to show it off at the con. I love this pic we took when we first got to SacAnime because Justin from Nerd Gazette decided to photobomb the shot. That guy is a funny dude and takes some fantastic photos for his website and various social media outlets.

The main balcony and terrace area is where the big group cosplay gatherings are held. The big groups have scheduled times to come and do a meet-up. It's impossible to catch every meet-up, but I tried to stop by every so often to see who's getting together. This time around I got the opportunity to see the Overwatch cosplayers get their photos taken. Overwatch is an extremely popular game and the characters in it are very popular to cosplay as. Lots of great Overwatch cosplay was on display today!

Ummmm WHOA!!! It's Mileena... and such an amazing version of her!  This Mileena cosplay was probably one of my favorites of the entire day. Mileena is one of those Mortal Kombat characters that everyone just loves, including me! The teeth she had showing on her face were great, so I wanted to highlight them on the blog. I do have a photo showing more of her cosplay in my gallery. You can find a link to it at the end of this blog posting. I don't know who this cosplayer is, but if you do, let me know. I'd love to give her credit for her Mileena cosplay!

Sometimes cosplays can break down or have issues at cons - and it sucks. Thankfully, SacAnime had a fully stocked repair station on the second floor to assist cosplayers who needed to have something fixed. As you can see, there are a lot of tools, a sewing machine... and a drill?!?! Yep! Everything you could ever need to get your cosplay back up and running in a jiffy. Big shout out to the guys working up there and helping out, they rock!

Definitely one of the big highlights of the con was the Geek Fashion Show. This year the show took place in one of the really large rooms at the convention center. The models took to the stage in front of a very sizable audience. The music was pumping and all the models did their thing as they showed off some amazing geek-inspired clothing - some really unique pieces were on display. I also love that the Geek Fashion Show is all-inclusive and features beauty in all its varying types with their models. Much appreciation to Douggary and crew for putting this all together.

I had the opportunity to do three proper shoots on Saturday, and all three were a ton of fun. The photo above is of @pachanket on Instagram. It was so good to reconnect with her again. We had actually did a couple photoshoots last year, and I hadn't seen her in a while. Getting back together to shoot was amazing. I am always impressed with her cosplay and the props she hand makes herself. She is a stunning cosplayer and is a true master of her craft. If you're not following her on Instagram yet, go find her and hit that follow button!

I just met @blue.angelic on Instagram recently, but I'm always extremely glad to meet new cosplayers and do shoots! Like Pachanket, she hand made her cosplay. It may be hard to tell from the photo, but her angel's wings were all made of paper that she had cut out. It was really stunning. As we went to do out shoot, many people were giving her some well-deserved compliments. Blue.angelic was fantastic to work with and modeled some hot looks. She got that blue steel down fo' sho'!

My final shoot of the day was with some of my favorite Sacramento area cosplayers. Sean Long, Trent, Jay and crew got the Suicide Squad together for some DC action. I wanted to get some candids of them just interacting and was able to pull this little gem of a photo from that first little bit. For more from this shoot and also from the entire day, check out my gallery by CLICKING HERE.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

2016 Summer SacAnime Day One 9.2.16

Author: Luke Cheng

SacAnime is on! Today was the first day of the 2016 Summer SacAnime - the premier convention in Sacramento. SacAnime is well run, well attended, and most importantly... a lot of fun. Even though the word 'anime' is in its name, SacAnime is an event that all fandoms can attend and enjoy. Today there were comic book and video game cosplay meet-ups alongside anime ones. It's just an awesome time where everyone who enjoys cosplay can get together and hang out. Speaking of video game cosplay, check out this amazing Vivi cosplay. Vivi is a black mage from Final Fantasy IX. I just so happen to be going through that game right now, so it was especially awesome to see someone cosplay as him.

Here's a rare photo! It's us photogs in front of the camera rather than behind it. I'm standing next to Tony Corpus of Corpus photography. Tony does great work in cosplay, but he also does amazing photography outside of cosplay as well. Just last week we shot a wedding together out in Lincoln, Ca. I love seeing Tony's photographic work as well as his ability to make videos and do creative Photoshop edits on images. Whenever we see each other at conventions like SacAnime it's fun to talk shop. If you see Tony at a con, flag him down for a photo! It'll be a good one.

When I come to events like SacAnime I'm looking to shoot amazing cosplay, and today didn't disappoint. It was awesome seeing everyone bring their A-game to the table on this first day. Seeing all the really great cosplay today makes me excited for the rest of the weekend. 

You can tell when a lot of time and effort is put into cosplay. I ran into a couple of creative folks today who made their own Pokemon by hand... BY HAND! This Onyx as well as the Chansey behind it were original creations. I really wish I had the skill to create things like this. It never ceases to amaze me at what people can do!

I didn't arrive at SacAnime until about 3pm, so I missed a great portion of the day. I did, however, get to do one longer group photoshoot with cosplayers cosplaying as characters from the Legend of Zelda games. We took advantage of the Capitol park across the street from the convention center for our shoot. It fit the Zelda theme well as there were many trees and picturesque backgrounds for us to shoot in front of.

Back in the vendor hall my friend Amy opened up shop. She makes incredibly cute pillows, purses, and accessories out of fabric. She has her own business called Crafty Invasion. If you get a chance, go over to the artists area and find her. You'll love the work she does, I'm sure of it!

As we left for the night I ran into my good friend Masquerade Rose cosplaying as Chun-Li in her black outfit. She looked great! We decided to do a little Marvel v. Capcom type shoot right then and there. I just love how there is so much going on in this photo. If you'd like to see fifty photos from today's SacAnime, CLICK HERE! I'll be back at it tomorrow getting as many photos as I can. Hopefully I'll see you there!