Sunday, October 22, 2017

Cosplay Photoshoot - Halloween Skin Mercy (Overwatch) by Janthraxx 10.20.17

Author: Luke Cheng

If you're someone who enjoys playing Overwatch, I think you'll like this photoshoot I did this past week with Janthraxx (Instagram). She came dressed in a spectacular Halloween Mercy cosplay. One of the most fun things to do in Overwatch (besides the actual game, of course) is to get different outfits, in the form of skins, for your characters. This Halloween Mercy skin is only available during this time of year so Mercy players are all scrambling to try and get it before time runs out!

Janthraxx is relatively new to cosplay, she's known more for gaming, but as you can see her cosplay game is already off the charts! Everything about her Mercy cosplay was on point - from the sweet looking staff to her light up wings. She even had some extremely detailed shoes. Every detail of her work was meticulously put together, and it showed! She got many compliments during our time shooting that afternoon.

For this shoot I used Sony camera equipment exclusively. I've been trying to ween myself off Canon for a while now but it's been really difficult. It really helped that I just acquired a new 70-200mm 2.8 zoom lens though, I really put that lens to use on this shoot. We shot in both extremely bright situations and in some pretty dark spots. Having changing light conditions can be tough, but the new lens paired with my Sony a9 performed marvelously. Hopefully my switch over to Sony is complete!

All in all the shoot was very successful and I think the both of us had a great time shooting. After the shoot we got to spend some time talking about gaming, which is something else I love to do. We got to talk about the characters we like to main in the game, and she gave me some grief over my favorite character to use - Symmetra. It was all in good fun though! Now I really feel like turning on the PS4 and playing some Overwatch!

If you haven't seen Janthraxx's Instagram account, I definitely suggest you check it out! She has other amazing Overwatch cosplays for you to see there. If you're interested in seeing all the photos from this Mercy shoot, CLICK HERE for the gallery. As always, if you're interested in doing a shoot with me in the Sacramento area, please let me know. I'd love to work with you!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017 Sinister Creature Con

Author: Luke Cheng

It's October! What a perfect con to have right before we get to Halloween! Sinister Creature Con returns to Sacramento at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center for a spectacular two day event. Sadly, I was only able to attend the second day of the con this year due to scheduling conflicts on my end. I made the most of my day through and tried to capture everything that went on while I was there. As with Sinister Creature Con shows in the past, there was a lot to see and take in.These shows  are jam packed with awesome content.

The star of Sinister Creature Con is horror so naturally there were many horror items on sale in the main hall. Horror movies of all kinds were on display. There was everything from classic hits to extremely obscure films. You could really spend a lot of time lost in all the titles that people were selling. This really was a horror cinema fans dream con to go to.

Besides the movies there was plenty of horror memorabilia to buy as well. From posters to jewelry to horror toys, Sinister Creature Con had many items on sale. There were vendors located throughout the con, not just the main hall. Multiple rooms had vendors as well as the entrance and exit. Some of the most awesome items could be found in places you may not expect a vendor to be at. I particularly liked the full head masks that one vendor had near the exit doors. 

Another impressive element of Sinister Creature Con was the guest list. For a smaller con, this event certainly had many special/celebrity guests in attendance. It was really awesome to see the guests interacting with the con goers. I found that they were extremely nice and willing to spend a little more time with their fans. Some of the special guests also held panels in the panel room.

A really unique aspect of this con is the focus on special horror themed make-up. People had the opportunity to sit and have professional make-up done on them during the con hours. It was a ton of fun to see the delicate work of these special effects make-up artists being applied. There were quite a few vendors who did this in the main hall. This really makes Sinister Creature Con unique!

Unlike some cons where all the artists are grouped together, the artists at Sinister Creature Con were intermixed with the vendors on the main floor. Checking out artwork is one of my favorite things to do while walking around a con. Above is a photo capture of Poisin Dream Creations in action as she does some painting. Her work is really outstanding. Hopefully you said 'hi' to her today if you went!

Walking around the con you would run into all sorts of people looking awesome. So while I was looking to shoot photos of cosplayers, the people with sweet make-up on were also on my radar. It's not something that I usually shoot, so it's pretty exciting to be able to capture this work when I can.

Sunday didn't have a ton of cosplayers out. I heard that there were much more the previous day as the costume contest was being held then. Oh well, I still was able to find some people looking awesome in Cosplay. 

I was so glad to be able to catch at least a day of Sinister Creature Con this year. This is a special show and I think more people should come out to attend it when it rolls around again. CLICK HERE to see all the photos I took today at the con!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cosplay Photoshoot - Archie's Betty & Veronica (Riverdale) 10.7.17

Author: Luke Cheng

Anyone here enjoy the CW show Riverdale? If you do, you'll love this shoot I did last week with @novembercosplay and @crystalnoel as Betty and Veronica. Both were wearing outfits from Hot Topic, and we set out to feature the outfits in the photos. We wanted to get a school vibe so we went to campus and took some photos near the bleachers. It was the perfect setting for our photoshoot!

Also featured in this shoot were nails done by @espionage_cosmetics. November was wearing them and they looked fabulous. I was really surprised at the intricate design on them. I've gotta tell you, I'm usually not one to notice nails - but these were truly outstanding. This particular set matched perfectly with the outfits being worn. November really knows how to put an outfit together!

What would a photoshoot be without props? November and Crystal brought some really fun cheer leading props to the location. We used the pom poms quite a bit and the shouting cone was great for some fun photos. I really love this shot of Veronica shouting at Betty. I think it captures this relationship very well. The expressions that November and Crystal have are also priceless! 

Turns out that Crystal used to dance competitively. Well... given that little bit of knowledge I asked her to do perform some moves to capture with the camera. After some stretching she really opened up and was able to do some impressive things! I guess dance is like riding a bike? You never forget! Crystal looked great doing the moves and I was so glad she was up for it!

The 'laying on the grass' shot never gets old, so we had to do a few of those. The campus had a huge field around us so we picked the best spot to get a shot from above. I particularly like the shots we got today because the colors work together so well. The yellows in particular stand out and make the picture pop.

As with other recent shoots I've done, I decided to shoot at golden hour to get the best natural light. I love shooting in natural light as it gives a beautiful soft look. Shooting towards the sun also gives some sweet looking flare effects. 

I had a blast doing this shoot with both November and Crystal. Check out their Instagrams using their handles mentioned at the beginning of this post. CLICK HERE if you'd like to see all the photos from this fun Betty and Veronica photoshoot.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

2017 Sac-Con

Author: Luke Cheng

Sac-Con is back this year with a change of venue. Rather than being held at the McClellan Air Base Conference Center, it was upgraded to the Sacramento Convention Center in downtown. This is the same location as SacAnime! The convention center is definitely a nicer, more modern venue, and it was cool to see Sac-Con being held here. Being a one-day event on a Sunday, street parking was FREE! How awesome is that?

The convention took up one of the large halls in the convention center. The dealer hall wasn't as large as the one at SacAnime, but it was definitely plenty big enough. There were many vendors selling merchandise. Being a comic convention, there were plenty of comics on sale. Back issues, variants, and limited editions... there were so many!

Sac-Con also had an impressive guest list this year. Jim Shooter was in attendance signing autographs and also holding a panel. Jim Shooter is one of the most well-known figures in the comic industry. He was right in the midst of the comic book explosion in the 90's. I remember seeing his face in comic book news all the time. It was so awesome to see him right there in person! Other guests included Irene Bedard, Kyra Schon, Chase Masterson, and Ron Lim.

Sac-Con is an event for all ages. It's certainly a family friendly environment that has something for everybody. While the adults are having fun geeking out over their favorite pop culture icons from the past, the kids could play games and check out the many things that would interest them. No matter what the age, there was always something to enjoy.

The artists alley at Sac-Con was full of great talent. Many artists had their own comic books and comic artwork for sale. I had a blast going down the rows checking out everyone's work. The artist alley is a definite 'must see' at any con. This is where the most unique and one-of-a-kind items are. If you haven't been to the artists alley before, make it a point to go at the next con!

In terms of cosplay, the cosplayers at Sac-Con were incredible. I was a little skeptical before arriving if there would be many cosplayers on the floor. I was pleasantly surprised to see many cosplayers in some stunning cosplays. Check out this totally sweet Ghost Rider cosplay! You can't see it in this particular image, but he was on his motorcycle at the con! This cosplay was above and beyond.

If you'd like to see the pics of the cosplays I took photos of, CLICK HERE. Enjoy the photos and hopefully I'll see you at the next convention soon! Also, watch my video of 2017 Sac-Con below!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lolita Photoshoot with Ree 9.30.17

Author: Luke Cheng

I got the chance to do a lolita fashion shoot this past weekend in Old Sacramento. After showing me the fashion designs in our communication with each other, I thought Old Sacramento would be the ideal location as the colors and tones matched the outfits perfectly. Our shoot began at 5PM on a day with perfect weather. Old Sacramento has a huge variety of nice locations to use as backdrops so we began shooting right away.

I love using a shallow depth of field in my photos as it makes the subject stand out front and center in the images. There were many locations in Old Sacramento that allowed me to have a lot of shooting depth to create the pictures I wanted. Though it was a busy Saturday evening, we were still able to find places that weren't too crowded with people.

Trains are always a ton of fun to have in pictures. The trains in Old Sac are particularly nice because they are of an older style with tons of detail and features. The ones on the tracks that day had a steampunk-esque look to them. This shot above is one of my favorites from the day.

The girls' outfits were really detailed. It was amazing to photograph them with this particular look. From head to toe the girls were full of style. It's as if they had come straight out of another era. As a photographer, I always appreciate it when the outfits are detailed like these. It's my goal to really get all the details into my pictures.

After the trains we went to an old school house where there were swings and antique items to take photographs around. Like I said, Old Sacramento is a location full of different backgrounds to shoot. Our overall time spent shooting was just about an hour, but I was really happy with the variety of pics we were able to get.

As always, I really enjoyed my time shooting. Lolita fashion is really cool and a ton of fun to shoot. If you'd like to see all the images from the photoshoot, CLICK HERE. Always check back on the site to see more of my photographs and images!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Cosplay Photoshoot - Tharja from Fire Emblem by Sim 9.7.17

Author: Luke Cheng

Today I got to shoot with Sim in her Tharja cosplay! Tharja is a character from the popular long running Fire Emblem game series. This was my first time meeting and shooting with Sim, and it was a great experience! She's a super cool cosplayer and very fun to work with! If you're interested in finding out a bit more about Sim, she does have a Youtube channel. CLICK HERE to check out some of her videos.

We decided to meet at Discovery Park in Sacramento for this shoot. I've shot at Discovery Park only once before, but the conditions weren't ideal that day. Today it was much, much nicer. We met in the early evening during the golden hour. The sun provided some beautiful soft light for the photographs. I tried to take advantage of this gorgeous light as much as I could. As you photogs know, the golden hour doesn't last very long!

Because it was golden hour and I wanted to shoot quicker, I decided to go with only natural light. I've been wanting to bring out the speed lights for some flash photography, but it can be cumbersome. Flash photography definitely gives out a more contrasty image, but I find that the natural light also has a very pleasing softness to it. I guess it's just a matter of taste! All the photos taken today were using my Sony a9 with an 85mm 1.4 G master lens mounted to it. That particular camera is probably best for natural light as it has has lighting fast autofocus and uses an electronic shutter (something that's not ideal for flash photography).

Sim's Tharja cosplay was very detailed and well thought out. Each part of the cosplay had intricate parts that took care to create. In terms of posing, I appreciated that Sim had ideas already in mind. We were able to shoot the poses she wanted as well as poses that I came up with during the shoot. The whole process was very smooth and we were able to do the entire shoot within an hour.

It was a great pleasure working with Sim today. I loved the photos that we were able to create together and hopefully we'll be able to do another shoot sometime soon. CLICK HERE if you'd like to see the full gallery of photos from our time together.

Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 Summer SacAnime Day Three

Author: Luke Cheng

I'm back for the third and final day of summer SacAnime. Yesterday was an extremely busy day in which I tried to experience everything. Today I decided to slow things down, spend some time with people, and really concentrate on the cosplay aspect of the con. As typical, the final day of the con has a noticeably smaller attendance, but that was ok since it opened up a lot more space to move around in the hallways!

I think a lot of folks took advantage of the third day to really connect with people. I saw a lot of people chatting and having conversations. Saturday has such a packed schedule that it can be hard to not feel rushed. It was great to catch up with the friends I saw and snap a few photos of them. 

The cosplay scene at the con continued to be on point today. A lot of fandoms were represented all throughout the event. These two Street Fighter cosplayers were upstairs doing moves to some music that they brought. Ryu was flipping around in the air! I got them during a moment of rest to get this quick photo of them.

Check out this incredible Edward Scissorhands cosplay! Everything about this cosplay is spot on! I remember watching the movie when it was released - it really left an impact on me as I'm sure it did to many others. It's awesome to see an older movie like that get some sweet cosplay at SacAnime.

I had some free time today so I had the opportunity to do a couple of short photo sessions. My first with was the white and green ranger. I really wanted to capture some action because that's what the Power Rangers are all about. I think we got some good air in this particular shot!

My second mini session was with this punk Overwatch group. Overwatch was an extremely popular cosplay during SacAnime, but this was certainly one of the more unique Overwatch concepts. Each cosplay in the group is really well done and unique. I love all the looks they are sporting!

Ahh, Summer SacAnime comes to a close. It's always a little sad when this convention ends as it is always one of the most enjoyable ones. Thankfully we get to do it all again come January! Can't wait! For now, CLICK HERE for a complete gallery of pics from this day!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

2017 Summer SacAnime Day Two

Author: Luke Cheng

Day two of SacAnime was an incredible experience. There was so much to see and so much to do! I was excited and had a lot of energy, but I feel like I was only able to see a fraction of the content presented at the con. Today I made it a goal to get photos of outstanding cosplay, check out some group gatherings, listen to some panels, and attend the Geek Fashion show. It was a lot to attempt, but I gave it my all!

One of the first things I did when I arrived was to go see the Final Fantasy and Overwatch gatherings. They were both going on at the same time so it was easy for me to bounce back and forth between them. I am a huge fan of all things Final Fantasy, so I had to check out the cosplays there first. The gathering welcomed the entire series of Final Fantasy games, but the majority of the cosplayers were dressed in Final Fantasy XV cosplay, which makes sense as it is the latest release.

I wasn't the only photographer capturing all the gathering action. There were a ton of others out there with their cameras clicking away. I would say most of the photogs were at the Overwatch gathering. The Overwatch gathering was absolutely HUGE. The group took up a huge portion of the upstairs balcony. It was hard to find a spot amongst everyone to take pictures but I managed well enough. I'll say this... there will be no shortages of Overwatch images coming out of SacAnime!

Though I would call myself a bigger Final Fantasy fan, I really do love Overwatch and play it quite often on the PS4. Blizzard has a great game on their hands as it has really become a worldwide phenomenon. They have continued to update the game with new characters and skins so that gamers continue to keep interest. Cosplayers definitely have a huge choice when it comes to their Overwatch cosplay. Thanks Blizzard for all the variety!

When it got too hot I decided to go inside and check out some of the panel rooms. These rooms ranged in size from a smaller hall to a big auditorium like the one pictured above. SacAnime had an amazing list of celebrity guests this year. Con-goers packed the rooms to see and listen to their favorite stars.

The question and answer portion of panels is one of my favorite things to be a part of. I like it because I love seeing fans interact with their idols. There is genuine emotion that often comes out as well as some really great questions. The picture above show a fan asking John Ratzenberger a question. You'll recognize John as one of the main characters of the old Cheers sitcom. If not, then you'll probably know him as one of the voices in your favorite Pixar movie. 

Also taking place inside were the numerous game rooms. Long tables were set up so that people could come and play competitive card and board games. Board games have become increasingly popular. The complex nature of many of them are a lot of fun. The awesome thing about this at SacAnime is that many of the board games are provided. Just pick one that you want to try, get a group together and have a ton of fun!

Be it board games or card games, there are always people around in the rooms willing to get a game going. Of all the local cons, SacAnime has got one of the biggest rooms to play in. It was really impressive to see how many people were in there competing. If video games are more of your thing, another room was set up especially for video games. SacAnime really does have it all if you're looking to play!

The Geek Fashion show is an event that I love covering. I regretfully missed the Stockton Con show, so I was really happy to attend this one. The Geek Fashion show is an event that showcases clothing lines that appeal to people who enjoy con-related things like Star Wars, comics, steampunk, etc. The models who come up on stage showcasing the clothes are all part of the local cosplay community. The Geek Fashion show has become a showcase event that definitely shouldn't be missed if you can help it.

It was awesome to see many cosplayers I know up on the stage modelling some amazing designs. My friend November Cosplay actually had her own line of clothing to showcase today. She, and all the other designers, presented some really unique clothing I know many would be interested in trying out.

I waited until the end of the day to check out the autograph hall. I was avoiding it because there were many long lines earlier looking to snag a celebrity autograph. Many of the autographs at SacAnime are free - which is virtually unheard of in this day and age!

Whew, I had a really full day today at SacAnime. I felt that I really made the most of my day and can't wait to attend the third and final day of the con tomorrow. If you'd like to see my full gallery of photos from day two, CLICK HERE