Some of you might have already seen quite a lot of pictures from this shoot uploaded by the cosplayers, and one of the photos from the series was also featured in the one of the weekly Cosplay Gen Best on deviantART posts. The shoot with nellafantasia and Raikou has been in the works for a few months, but there were various delays and cancellations as well as some location-finding limitations. So I’m pretty happy that we managed to execute it at last!
We did this shoot at an old cemetery (Sydney-siders should be fairly familiar with this place), on one of the non-active sides of it. There are always a few considerations when shooting at graveyards: for example, whether it is too creepy for the cosplayers (personally, I see it as just another location, since I don’t believe in the existence of ghosts) and showing respect for the solemnity of the location.
Some people may have objections to the idea of even shooting at a cemetery, thinking it disrespectful to the dead. I myself tend to think much more deeply, and my own philosophical framework for things like death means I seriously question blanket moral rulings as too simplistic, and based on a degree of superstition in regards to what happens to people when they die. That said, I know of people who have shot nudes draped over tombstones (controversial), so perhaps my level of tolerance is a bit stretched.
Practically, it’s also important to keep in mind some things like obscuring the names on tombstones to avoid offending surviving family, or simply shooting at an old-enough cemetery (in this case, tombs dating back to 17th-18th centuries) that such considerations are much less sensitive – unless you are counting people who like to build their family tree, most people don’t pay respects or even remember those who come more than two generations before them. It’s sad, but I think true death only comes when nobody remembers you anymore.
On a lighter note, this shoot was intended as a night shoot originally but due to some time constraints, we had to shoot in the afternoon. The area chosen was good in that it was quite shaded, but it was also a matter of pushing the colour balance towards the blue, and desaturating (notice how grass isn’t really that green at night). More importantly, perhaps, is lighting the subjects with a strong enough light that I can dim the ambient to a sufficient level to simulate night-time, while controlling the spread of light.
I used a China-made pack-and-head system to drive a gridded beauty dish (strong rim), and two flashes in a soft-silver umbrella (key), as well as another undiffused flash on a tripod, which was usually positioned behind to further differentiate the cosplayers from the darkened background, or to illuminate certain elements which required it (for example, the massive cross in the back of pictures 8 and 9). In some instances (especially for the pair shots), that flash was also used as fill.
Overall, it was a pretty short shoot, but I think we got what we wanted in terms of both single and pair shots (the characters don’t really suit pair shots).