Typical day before a event!

Typical day before a event!

Every event is different so you have to do different things to get ready. A bit of a no brainier thing to say but some things are always the same regardless what event your going to.

Special events that require special measures like the hiring of a lens like I did for MCM October Expo in London or borrowing extra light stands for a planed set up you always have to wing this a little bit as you don’t know whets going to happen or what you will have to shoot.

For petty much every shoot or I have a sequence of things I do to safe guard my self. This is the same if I’m just doing a hour session or a 3 day event.

1 Week before (assuming I know about the shoot or even that far in advance if I don’t then this gets dun as soon as I know of it with in a week)

*Make a check list of required gear
*Wright a shoot list of all the shots I need to get
*get all equipment in the same place

1 Day before

*go over check list making sure all gear is present
*Check all batteries and the charge in sequence (I always make sure I have at least one battery fully charged and in the camera in case of spontaneous shoot)
I don’t charge the others till the day before simply to make sure there all fresh and I know with out any doubt there all ready to go. This is for camera and flash gun batteries, basically every power cell I am tacking*Format all memory cards so I’m not worried about what’s on them
*Zero the camera witch is basically putting all the custom settings back to my normal
*Double check my packing
*Finally take one last review of the details of the shoot and my shoot list

And I’m ready sounds like a lot but really isn’t takes maybe 2 hours at most if everything is flat and wile its charging you can be doing other work like I don’t know photo editing.. or playing computer games when your meant to be editing didn’t do that today nooo actually I’m normally petty good but you have to kick back some times lol

So I go thought that process every single planed shoot or event I haven’t long finished doing this process today ready for Auchinawa tomorrow.

Posted in Nikon, Photography | Leave a comment

Euro Cosplay 2010

Over Due Post is Over Due!

Euro cosplay was a amazing event that took place a few weeks ago to witch I was very lucky to be in the press area to shoot. Euro cosplay is Europe’s answer to World Cosplay. This event is open to any one in Europe take part in absolutely any one witch makes it very special. Each country involved chose there 2 best cosplays from masquerades held in there own country’s to then go on to compete in the grand finally held in London’s MVM’s Expo this October.

Euro cosplay list

Italy Rachele Asta from Trinity Blood
Belgium Starla Queen Esther from Trinity Blood
Ireland Liam Domo-Kun
Spain Eva Dark Saber, from the video game Hallow Ataraxia Fate Stay Night.
Portugal Leandro Cain Kightroad from Trinity Blood 1st Place
Denmark Stine Kusuri Uri from the series Ayakashi/Mononoke
Poland Kairi Ashura from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 2nd Place
Spain Black Cat Spawn
Belgium Vanessa Enira, Raid boss from Lineage II
Poland Shappi Lenneth from Valkyrie Profile
Switzerland Nolanne Dark Elf female from Rohan Online
Hungary Jobbagy Queen Esther from Trinity Blood
Sweden Emelie Holy Angemon from Digimon
France Nathalie The Mirror Queen from the Sims and Brothers grimm
Italy Layla Princess White Rose (Shirobara) from Saga Frontier
France Matthoz Commisar Yarrik from Dawn of War
UK SephNoir Metamorphosis Nina from Breath of Fire 2.
Netherlands Bianca Jubei, BlazBlue
Germany Stephanie Queen Esther from Trinity Blood
Denmark Anna Hatsune Miku” from Vocaloid2.
Czech Rep Skaylet Excalibur from anime Soul Eater
Hungary Yuriko KOS-MOS from Xenosaga 1
Finland Maiju Balthier from FFXII
Netherlands Wien world of warcraft Tier 2 paladin costume: Judgement Armor
Austria Pillowmonk Haydeé Tebelin (artwork version) from Gankutsuou
UK Karen Rigaldo, from Claymore 3rd Place
Ireland Ruth Armoured Lizard from YuGiOh
Sweden Linn Yuuko Ichihara from xxxHolic
Slovakia Tomas Leonidas from 300
Portugal Marta Eve from GuildWars
Please be aware the list is not in order of appearance on the day!

EuroCosplay

Photographing a masquerade is always difficult due to the speed of the event, having only one chance to get it right constantly changed lighting and a whole list of other problems. I think I was able to get such good results this time thanks to hiring out Nikon’s 24-70 2.8 lens. I’m defiantly considering buying one the 2.8 is well worth the extra money.

I also did all the post possessing my self taking me over a week to do with is why this post is so over due I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. With Auchinawa Scotland’s biggest anime convention only a week away expect more masquerade photos soon.

Posted in Cosplay, Masquerade, Nikon, Photography, Photoshop | 1 Comment

Ringo and the Police

A few weeks ago did a shoot in Horsham got some amazing photos. Well I think I did, anyway on the first night before the others from the shoot showed up and it was just me and Charlotte one of my regular cosplay models went out for a mini shoot with her dressed as Ringo from Air Gear. To try and get the same feel as the anime we chose the location of a over pass at night on a quirt stretch of road so we could do interesting things with flash with out distracting traffic or getting in anyone’s way. You may say that sounds all fine and mostly it was until the police showed up…

Were shooting away and I am looking over the over pass making sure I only fire the flash when cars have passed under when I spy a police car. They have stopped I consider stopping and moving on but I know I was not doing anything wrung so carried on we then see them leave there vehicle and move to towards up coming up both sides of the overpass to block us in this unnerved Charlotte I feel so I try and put her at ease and politely wait for the police to come up to us. I politely great them and they ask us some questions and I have to say these police in question were very nice.

I feel that the problems most photographers have and why they get so much hassle from the police is down to the photographers attitude. I’m not saying the police always get it wrung but they are just for 99% of them trying to do there job and don’t fully understand us photographers and our rights witch is a issue in it self but I digress just a little. I personally thing if photographers didn’t give such attitude towards the police when they are approached so many problems could be averted. I didn’t have to tell them anything or show them my photos but the very first thing I did was to tell them my name and offer to show them my images before I was asked to. A little common since and cooperation then there would be a lot less horror stories in my option I just hope I never have to write a post contradicting this one. After we explained our self’s they asked for ID and did a quick trace on our names witch of cores was clean they apologised for disturbing us and left us to carry on took no more then 5 or 10 minuets of our time no fuss or hassle.

We was a little shaken up by being stopped but honestly who wouldn’t so we properly cute the short shoot shorter because of it. The moral of the story the right attitude can get you out of all sorts of problems and hay one day we might find our self in a situation where we are accidentally in the wrung the same attitude could be what gets us safely out of it.

Posted in Cosplay, Location, Photography | Leave a comment

Ultra Violet Filter Could Save Your Lenses

Just a Quick post to give some advise. I expect a lot of you will already know this but this is for the people who may not or think its ok to risk it.

I strongly recommend you perches a “Ultra Violet Filter” for each of your lenses apart from cutting out a little bit of glare from cutting out ultra violet light the main reason you have a UV filter as its often abbreviated to is to protect your expensive glass from damage. even going back to my 35mm days I have always had them I’ve never really had a problem I just thought just in case and it helps protect from scratches and easier to clean. All that Jazz… How ever I never really believed the clamps that it could save your lenses from a impact well I was wrung but luckily I never took any changes. I dropped my camera wile cleaning it of all things you know the time when your most careful silly no? lens hit the flour first shattered the filter and my hart stopped. I honestly thought my lenses was gone and it was my favourite lens to. To my surprise I took the filter of carefully to find after removing all the shards of broken glass from the UV filter the lenses was 100% not even a mark so I can’t stress enough how much I recommend theses now saved me buying a new lens

Save your self  a fortune with a UV filter!

Posted in Advise and Tips, Photography | Leave a comment

Freshfields Shoot

About a fortnight ago I did a shoot at Freshfields near liver pool. The location is fantastic for shooting in. I barely even scratched the surface of what the location had to offer us. Essentially Freshfields is a national trust pack comprising of a large forest backing onto a beach with rolling sand dunes. We arranged the shoot because a friend of mine who was already planning on going up there had been telling me of this location for some time and I really wanted to check it out. As I happened to have time off from my day job that week we decided to assemble a random group of cosplayers and photographers for a day out.

We had several photographers and cosplays turn up all on petty short notice. For the photographers we had Emi-Zone, Phil Chan as well as my self and cosplaying we had Holly, Richard, Kathy, Lauzy-Jayne and Emi who also cosplayed. Forgive me if I’ve missed any one out, this was my first time meeting the majority of this group. I have to say this was properly the least serous shoot I’ve ever been on I think this was because we had no set theme all out cosplayers were doing characters from different sires honestly this was more just a fun day out.

I think we spent more time larking about then actually shooting seemed every time I had a nice serous shot line up one of the other’s would try and photo bomb the shot. Ordinarily I would hate this its funny once or twice but not all day except in this instance because the day was just so much fun as we didn’t really have any set plan and no pressure to get shoots and I can tell you that’s a refreshing change.

Now don’t get me wrung we did get some amazing shots I’ve got a fully gallery set out of this shoot. got some nice results out of this one.

On this particular shoot I hit some challenges some of witch I’ve never face before. There was the normal problems of shooting in a new location of not knowing the area normally I would of been to the location and found all the good spots before hand but this shoot was both location hunting and shoot at the same day but like I said earlier this was a fun shoot. There was also the normal problems of shooting out doors with forest and all the mud and plans to deal with. The first big problem we had was it was raining quite hard when we first started in the past I would have had to stop my old camera would not of been able to cope. Having recently upgraded to my Nikon D300s with its water and dust seals it can take light rain and wind. I have to say at first I was very nervous about testing out Nikons climbs as to what it can take but it soon gained my confidence. So much so when I encounter a huge problem latter that day when we reached the beach. I was hit by very strong winds picking up the sand. Thanks to Nikons dust seals on their high end equipment it gave me the confidante to keep shooting. and once home I did full maintenance on my body and lens to fine it was fine.

Defiantly a location I’d like to use again! Just like to thank all the cosplayers and the other photographers for making it such a great day and enabling me to get so many good shots!

Posted in Cosplay, Location, Nikon, Photography | Leave a comment

Tales of Symphonia Shoot at Keele

My posts do seem to be getting a little back dated now. I am however slowly catching up as long as I don’t get any jobs in the next week or so but I would still welcome them.

This goes back to Amecon during the convention I did a quick shoot for two Tales of Symphonia cosplays in the university chapel at Keele. With Emi-Zone cosplaying Emil Castagnier and NavigatorxNami cosplaying Marta Lualdi. I do have to say cosplayers have some strange names they use but who am I to say anything I go by the name of Foxy still.

We didn’t know if was allowed to use the side of the building for photos and was unable to find any one to ask so we desisted in this case to try it and hope for the best once inside we were as respectful as we could be. We felt it best to be quirt as we could so I set my D300s in quirt mode the first I’ve really tried it and it takes so much noise off the shutter. In quirt mode I did find the camera was more prone to camera shake. I have to say I got half way thought and switched back to single shot to guarantee sharpness but if a situation like a wedding or say a classical concert this mode is going to be a life saver so as always thank you Nikon.


I found this shoot to be a little bit more serous then normal but still just as much fun.

After the convention was over on the monday and I was helping the staff with take down  my friend Colin Barker arranged a shoot with Emi-Zone and her Emil Cosplay in the grounds of Keele Hall

The Hall and its gardens are very beautiful location to shoot at so when I was asked if I would like to come as well I jumped at the chance along with another photographer find of mine Phil Chan. at first I kept my distance taking the opportunity to shoot the gardens but I soon found Colin’s shoot had become a free for all with all 3 of us Shooting Emi who was loving ever minuet of the attention. Shots like this one are always so much fun.

Emi is always a fantastic model to work with she always looks good in fount of the camera and she has the patients of a angel due to a few problems the shoot was delayed several hours and she was happy enough to wait with out complaint and then gave everything in front of the camera a real pleaser to work with

Shoots like this are always fun one very funny moment came just after the bellow image was taken when Colin who is some what clumsy wasn’t paying enough attention and nearly fell off the edge of 50 foot drop next to the man made waterfall luckily I was there to catch him was very funny but could of been very not funny. so always be aware of your surroundings

There was a few moments like that during the shoot all together a good day tho I didn’t get back till 11pm and had to get up at 4 for the day job happy times for the full set click hear.

Posted in Cosplay, Location, Photography | 1 Comment

Amecon 2010

Well its been a good few weeks since Amecon, so this post may seem a little late but my editing is finally done, now I’ve finished that, I can make my post. It’s very difficult to do that level work when I have a full time day job to pay the bills.For those of you who don’t know what Amecon is this post might seem a little strange without an explanation.

Amecon is an anime and Japanese culture festival that takes place every two years celebrating all aspects of the anime fandom. This year it was held at Keele University from the 13th to the 15th of August, with 1200 hundred people in attendance it is the largest convention of its kind in the UK.

So what was I doing there!? Well I’d have been there anyway as I love the convention, this was my 4th time, but the more relevant point is what was I doing there as a photographer? Quite simply I was covering all the cosplay events as a member of the press reporting for my very own website right here!

The biggest event I had to cover was the masquerade, which I have already posted about in my last entry. Throughout the event I wandered around taking photos of all the different cosplayers and I have to say there is some real talent out there it was an absolute pleasure. When randomly taking photos at events there is always the issue of copyright, without going into the fine details and seeking out model release forms from ever random shot I have a simple policy. Any cosplayer who models in front of my camera can have a high resolution copy of any of the images free of water marks to do with as they please in exchange for allowing me to publish the images for my own self promotion. Not all cosplay photographers do this but as no one is making any money either side then the cosplayers deserve their shots, it’s petty much the same as a standard time for prints agreement. I think I took some great photos of the random cosplays, but I would say that!

As well as the events and random cosplays I had pre-arranged several shoots with cosplay groups before hand and here are the gallerys for the shoots. Like my Evangelion shoot,

The rest of my shots can be found on my gallery page!

There was one very special shoot I wasn’t able to arrange beforehand. I was very lucky to gain access to Keele Hall for a hour along with several other photographers on the Sunday. The Hall is a large Victorian mansion now used for functions and weddings, absolutely beautiful back drops in every room.

 So with this in mind I asked some of my friends who are part of a Pandora Hearts Cosplay group to join me for the shoot, unfortunately one of the 3 who was originally joining us couldn’t make it due to family commitments. I had Charlotte Mattey as the “Will of the Abyss” a regular cosplay model for me and Emi-zone as Oz Vessalius who is a great photographer in her own right.

Amecon was so much fun I love big conventions and to spend time shooting so many amazing cosplayers I feel very privileged and to all the people I worked with over the weekend I’d like to say thank you!

Posted in Cosplay, Foxy, Photography | 3 Comments

Amecon 2010 Masquerade

Amecon 2010 Masquerade

It’s a week after Amecon and I’ve barely managed to scratch the surface of my editing. I was very lucky to have so many opportunities to shoot amazing cosplays during such a short period, the event was amazing and a lot of fun.

In this post I’ll just be talking about the Amecon Masquerade; for the other events and shoots I’ll be making additional posts and talking about them over the coming days.

Cosplay Kite from .Hack                                              Cosplayed by Vincent Noble Valentine

When out shooting sometimes things go wrong and this event was one problem after the next, I count myself very lucky to have got any good shots at all considering.

On my way to the event I had the misfortune of someone bumping into me and my camera only being loosely wrapped around my wrist to protect in case I dropped it, it wasn’t much help against someone else sending it flying several feet forward to concrete.

My flash gun was smashed and my auto focus broken until I managed to fix it the next day; not something you want going into the most important shoot of a event. Now you might say ‘what about your spares?’, well silly me had lend my spare body to a second shooter taking photos of a different part of the event and my spare flash gun was in the shop being repaired, it’s quite funny looking back now however at the time; so stressed…

So to make the most of a bad situation I dusted myself off and took my place in the press pit. To work in the low light with the lenses I had, I had to set my ISO to 2000 (yes that’s right 2000) thanks to the D300’s noise reduction and CS5’s noise reduction in camera RAW I was able to fix a lot of my images.

To try and get over the auto focus problem I first tried to work it manually but that was too slow at the fast pace of the event, so I went back to the auto focus finding it was still working, the display just wasn’t showing me the focus points. All I could do is spray and pray to get the shots. I do have to make a apology; there were people in the masquerade I was unable to get a clear shot of.

I count my self lucky to have got such a good set out of a bad situation I think the lesson to learn is; always have your back up equipment on you and never give up. Even when everything goes wrong you can still get the shot if you’re lucky.

Some sample photos from the set full set



Amecon 2010 Masquerade

Posted in Cosplay, Masquerade, Photography, Photoshop | Leave a comment

Aisling The Secret of Kells Shoot

Aisling Shoot

I was requested to do a cosplay shoot of Aisling, from The Secret of Kells, the shoot was done on location in the New Forest. If you have been reading my blog over the last few weeks you will be aware that I have spent a lot of time down south in the New Forest. I was down there looking for locations for this very shoot and I think I found some great places for this project. Originally I was going to be working with two cosplayers but there were problems so in the end it was just me my model, who was also my client for this job, Charlotte Mattey. She is better known by her alias of Street-Angel, a very talented cosplayer. If you ever need any costumes made I would highly recommend her. On the shoot we were joined by a good friend of mine, Colin Barker, who was acting as my assistant. I really want to thank him for his work on the day as I could not of done this shoot without his help, he was invaluable.

We were very lucky with the light and the weather on the day, when we first arrived on site in the New Forest it was very grey and looked stormy. Once we got down into the valley and amongst the trees the sun came out and we ended up with wonderfully diffused light coming in through the canopy. Originally I had planned to do a lot of flash work with light stands and reflectors running off wireless triggers. But the light was so amazing the flash equipment never came out, I feel sorry for my assistant who was carrying all of the flash gear, sorry Colin.

Shooting this shot was fairly simple as I had gorgeous diffused light through the forest canopy seeping in.  On location there wasn’t much to it but once I got it home I processed it normally and got a great image but wasn’t happy so I went a bit deeper with this one than normal. I enhanced the colours and the contrast using Colour Efex Pro 3.0 and then to finish it off re opened it in camera raw from the jpeg to add a diffused vignette technique.

These shoots can look like a lot of fun but I can assure you they are all incredibly serious business as you can tell from the below images of us hard at work on site!



I find working with cosplayers to be the most rewarding work I currently do, they’re always so much fun and often they already have posses all worked out so they don’t require too much direction. We did a second shoot that day as we had great light and an amazing location, I’m still editing those but I’ll be sure to post them on here once I’m finished. The full set of images are available on my flickr account hear if you don’t want to go over to flickr you can see some of the images below.

Posted in Cosplay, Location, Photography, Photoshop | 2 Comments

Scot Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in Richmond England

Scot Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in Richmond England

I recently took part in the 3rd annual Scot Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk on Saturday 24 July. I have never dun anything like it before and was a lot of fun the best part was being with so many other photographers. My walk was in Richmond by the Thames in London that’s in the United Kingdom.

I have to say I did feel intimidated by some of the others threes with there gear but I make do with the best I have and I don’t feel I was outclassed the important thing was I got to talk to other people with the same passion as me. was a good challenge to been so long since I shot a assignment like this in fact last time I had a assignment of go get photos from a set location (not including location hunting) was at university on my photography model as part of my degree in fine art painting. I loved every minuet of it but I have to say I learned one thing I’m much happier shooting portrait work  but I do like land and cityscape photography. I just realised I don’t really have a passion for it and I don’t really like street photography if I’m shooting some one I think I would rather work with a model. Still every one was so nice and I love how we all spent the day in the same place yet shot completely different things and all in different styles I plan to do this again next year!

I’ll leave you with a slide show of my best photos from the walk

Posted in Location, Photography | Leave a comment