Where can you rub shoulders Megurine Luka and Kiryuin Satsuki, and watch Asuka Langley Soryu fight Kamen Rider? Why, at a cosplay meetup of course!
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In November, I got to meet some Japanese cosplayers in the mecca for all things anime and manga, Akihabara, and photograph their amazing costumes. I came to this event after joining the Tokyo Cosplay group run by a lovely lady by the name of Hazuki Natsuru. It aimed to bring together those from around the world who are passionate about cosplay – both cosplayers and photographers. I got to meet some great cosplayers wearing amazing outfits. We were shooting in something that was kind of new to me – a shared studio space. This being Tokyo, and not being used to shooting in these kinds of spaces presented new challenges for me technically.
Thank you for a nice photo ! I want to shoot again with you! Alex’s photos are my favourite!
On arriving at the studio, I proceeded to set up and meet several great cosplayers. There was Hikari, who was cosplaying as Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion. She was amazing to work with, a natural poser and we got some great pictures. She spoke good English too, as you can see in the video. She was accompanied by Suzie, who was cosplaying Rei Ayanami, from the same series. She really pulled off Rei’s look well I think.
There’s also Nene, who had an amazing rendition of Shampoo from the 90s anime Ranma 1/2. She had a great look which translated to some great photos. We even had people turn up in full body outfits, like Hazuki, who was going old school and came dressed as the original Kamen Rider complete with tinted acrylic eyeholes to actually see out of.
Then we have Miyako, in the eye-catching Junketsu uniform, assuming the identity of Kiryuin Satsuki, from anime Kill la Kill. Finally there was Rei, who had a couple of amazing outfits. When I first met and shot with her, she was cosplaying as Nishikino Maki from an anime called Love Live, which has become incredibly popular here in Japan. I often see a lot of badges of the characters on people’s bags. Later on, I shot with her again in what I can only describe as an elegantly spectacular Megurine Luka costume. She looked like an opera singer, and I just had an amazing time shooting her. These were just a few of the cosplayers who attended. There were many others, such as the beautiful Chamomile, who also worked as a model for a colour-contact lens company and also helped organise the event.
In the cosplay scene in Japan, due to the lack of space and the fact that most proper photography studios are quite expensive, there are shared studio spaces for cosplay photography. Oftentimes these are old buildings with different rooms set up differently for different scenes. You’d have an area set up as a classroom, as a traditional Japanese room, a rooftop area, and so on. The studio where the event was held, Studio Crowne, was one of these, but on a smaller scale.
Thank you so much for taking my photo! It has a nice vibe.
There were about four different ‘areas’ set up – one was a simple white space with flowers, and another space next to it had a podium that you could climb onto. There was also a ‘gothic’ space with dark red drapes, a Victorian-style couch, chandeliers and all manner of Gothic lolita assortments, like old desks, books and so on. Then there was a futuristic ‘idol’ space with walls with futuristic etchings on them which were reflective, and included a stage. My favourite spot to shoot was in the gothic lolita area. It had a section with black walls for shooting low-key, and the red drapes and chandelier really lend themselves well to the right kind of costumes.
It’s like I’m another person! It’s thanks to your skill at taking photos! Thank you so much!
Technically speaking, I was shooting on a Fujifilm X-T1, with two Fujifilm lenses. I was shooting with one studio flash, with an umbrella. As a dedicated cosplay photography space, the studio had some pretty cool props we could shoot with, like a microphone on a stand. You could also get cages and flowers and things to shoot with too. Given the majority of the people at the event were Japanese, it meant giving direction in Japanese too. So lots of shouting of things like ‘kawaii!’ (cute), ‘sono mama’ (just like that), and ‘ago agete/sagete’ (lift/lower your chin), which made things interesting.
Thanks for coming to our event!!!! You always entertain everyone.
It’s always fun shooting in a space like this as opposed to a traditional studio space – the themed spaces give you a chance to play around with the character of various costumes. The many varied costumes the cosplayers had on meant lots of different looks I could shoot and try out. I’ll be coming back to this space later in December 2014, so keep an eye out for the entry about the Christmas party we had here!