ACEN 2012: Photographer Collaboration Article

One of the great things about conventions is the potential for meeting new people and networking. While I had known of Stephen ( http://secretasianman.tv/ ) through the Anime Central forum, I had never met him. This year we met at the photographer’s gathering we had organized through the forum. On that Friday we also spent some time doing “hallway cosplay” photography along with yet another photographer Jacob. One of the great things about photography is that it reflects the multitude of choices we make before pressing the shutter button. Everything from equipment choices to framing angles and camera settings create a unique and special image that can only be our own. After seeing Stephen’s photos from our time doing photography together, I thought it would be fun to go through some of the images that were of the same cosplayers.

He was using a Nikon D700 with a Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens. He was also using a small flash bracket, add-on flash, and occasionally the built-in flash as an additional lighting supplement. The D700 is a full-frame sensor camera. Settings wise he had mentioned using an aperture of f5.6 to f8 most of the time (though his general preference is f4 – f5.6). I was using the Pentax K-5 with a 31mm f1.8 lens and add-on Sigma 530DG Super flash. Settings wise, I was in aperture priority with negative exposure compensation and a fixed ISO. The aperture range I used was f2 to f2.8 and my ISO was between 80 to 800. The K-5 is a 1.52x crop sensor camera (APS-C).

Right off the bat, our first image shows a significant difference in equipment choices, settings, framing, and post processing. I believe I asked this person for a photo, so I had first dibs on being in front of her. You can tell Stephen had more ability to produce a wide-angle image even though we were both about the same distance from the subject. Another easily noticeable trait was that he used a small aperture that produced a nice high level of sharpness to the photo, whereas I had used f2.2 that will be softer. Post processing wise, I think I could have toned down the foreground brightness a bit.
 
This time Stephen decided to get in close with an interesting angle slightly from below; his comment on the photo is: “A good example of not framing very well during the shot. I didnt fit the guy’s weapon in the frame, so I just cropped to give the sense he’s approaching or filling up the frame.” I did my standard portrait style framing and tried to make sure the sword was fully in the frame. Post processing from both sides is pretty close this time. We both exposed in such a way to produce a reasonable amount of brightness to the background. The most noticeable difference in the photo is that the cosplayer decided to strike different poses for us.
 
I like Stephen’s framing here a lot. The guy’s foot positioning and how he decided to angle that really works well with the wide-angle perspective the 24-70mm lens can provide on full-frame. In my case, the large apertures I generally use provides some additional subject isolation. Color wise, I should have toned down the green tint a bit, especially noticeable when side-by-side with Stephen’s photo. Stephen’s comment is: “Regarding white balance, I’ve noticed I have this habit sometimes of leaving too much red/magenta when reducing yellows.”
 
Another image where our overall post process and color turned out pretty similar. Stephen managed to isolate the girls nicely even though we were surrounded by crowds of people. I was lucky enough to get the girl in the foreground to strike a great pose with her eyes intentionally closed. Not often are closed eyes something desired in hallway convention photos. I think it works well here.
 
A blast from the past with Scooby Doo cosplay! This time we really deviated in photographic choices. He went vertical with a knees and up shot, whereas I went with a tight group portrait from the front. Both styles provide unique and interesting qualities. Stephen’s photo lets the viewer see more of their costume giving a full look, and mine allows the viewer to see a more detailed view of one area. Our aperture choices are evident in the visible levels of depth of field. Stephen’s comment about the photo is: “I think that’s pretty much my primary goal in hallway photos, show as much of the costume as possible – and in this case we see Daphne’s stockings are patterned! I like your angle, it shows off the magnifying glass.”
 
This was taken probably a few hours after the Scooby Doo photo, but turned out almost exactly the same! It is pretty good evidence people have preferences and a unique style that they tend to follow. We both had decided to do our given framing styles. What I take from this photo is I should mix things up a bit in the future, but there isn’t anything wrong at all with doing what works either. The goal is to create great photos for cosplayers, and I think we both accomplished that in our own way.
 
The last photo of our article is a large group shot. Yet again it shows Stephen went for wide angle framing and I went tighter. That’s probably partly to do with our equipment choices, but does reflect on general style. Both images yet again turned out pretty close in contrast and overall tone. Stephen’s response was: “Your angle is much more flattering.”
 

That was a fun article to write up. It’s really interesting to see another photographer’s take on a given situation. We see that equipment can have an effect on the final image, but settings also play a large factor. Even though Stephen was using a full-frame camera, his choice to use apertures around f8 resulted in more depth of field overall compared to my images (lens choice was a big factor too…). With that meant more overall sharpness to his photos compared to mine. Overall, the final results were surprisingly similar yet unique and individually special at the same time!

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