For those of you who don’t know, I am an absolute huge nerd and love all things anime and manga (and if you don’t know what anime or manga is, let me enlighten you and recommend some of my favorite titles!)
Thanks to my love for the anime community, back in 2017 I started photographing cosplay portraits at SacAnime in addition to my weddings and other senior sessions!
This was back when I was first properly learning manual mode on a DSLR camera and eager to photograph anything and everything that moved. I hadn’t been to a convention in years since I’d had no one to go with, but remembered how much I loved them and had the brilliant idea to marry my newfound love of portrait photography and anime!
So I posted in a local convention Facebook group asking anyone if they’d like free cosplay portraits at SacAnime. Cosplay, for those still a little lost in this conversation, is a portmanteau of the words costume play (that one’s for you, Risa!). It is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
Now let me tell you, cosplay can get absolutely insane. I’m talking hand-crafted armor made out of foam and painted to look so realistic it could’ve been off a movie set. Makeup that would have and SFX artist in awe. Lights, moving parts, masks, ridiculous physics-defying weapons and outfits all based off of fantasy characters that people love and admire.
So yeah, taking photos of talented individuals cosplaying at an anime convention sounded pretty dang awesome. And it was!
3 years later I am still going strong with attending every convention within reach (and budget) and offering my photography services to cosplayers everywhere! And even better- I now get paid to do this! It works out really well because my self-imposed law is that the only money I am allowed to spend at said conventions is the amount I’ve made taking cosplay portraits (cons are very tempting places, okay?)
This year’s local SacAnime Winter convention was held for the first time ever at Cal Expo while the convention center is being remodeled in Downtown. I must say, the location change is a breath of fresh air for several reasons- but the first and most important being the availability of parking (parking Downtown all weekend is neither cheap nor easy as cons usually run from Friday to Sunday). Having a lot of open space and fun new locations for photos are the other bonuses!
This winter’s con also happened to be a very special one for me personally as I actually ended up winning the event’s art contest to have my art featured on the convention's program cover!! It was extremely surreal to see my art literally everywhere all weekend. Not to mention, as a winner I also was given an Artist’s Alley booth at SacAnime’s summer convention where I get to sell the fanart I make (I am also an artist if you didn't know and you can check out my work in instagram if you like!)
To learn more about what exactly and Artist’s Alley is, you can also read my blog on selling for the first time ever at one last summer!
I wasn’t able to make it to the convention on the Friday, but right after my gorgeous El Dorado Hills family session Saturday morning, I drove to Sacramento and met up with my good friend Sammy for another fantastic convention weekend!
Now time for the cosplay portraits at SacAnime. I photographed several very talented cosplayers over the weekend so without further ado, here they are!:
MAKI – Fire force
My friend Sammy cosplayed Maki from the new anime Fire Force. She made her entire cosplay herself and lined the jacket with fleece to battle the very chilly January weather!
noctis – final fantasy 15
The talented cosplayer Kyler was up next and he totally blew me away with his top-notch Noctis cosplay from Final Fantasy 15! Plus may I just say, those cheekbones! I had a lot of fun playing around with the industrial type structure in the Cal Expo parking lot and all the puddles leftover from the morning shower.
Arslan – heroic legend of arslan
Next up I photographed Artemis Claw who was cosplaying Arslan from the Heroic Legend of Arslan! She made the entire thing herself and even entered the Cosplay Masquerade that evening. I wish I could’ve stayed and seen it but I guess photographing it is probably the next best thing ;)
TORY – SHY GUY
And to round off the cosplay portraits at SacAnime, I photographer my friend Tory who had an excellent Shy Guy cosplay complete with foam die block made by Sammy!
I hope you all enjoyed looking at these photographs- I get to photograph a lot of people in a lot of places and cosplay is always just a little bit closer to my heart than the rest because it hits so close to home with me.
If you’re local and ever interested in getting your own cosplay photographed (I know the feeling when it’s finally done and you just need to wear it right away lol), please reach out!! I have so much fun meeting new people and capturing all of their hard work in photographs!
- Anime: Roseville | April 19th
- Fanime in San Jose | May 22-25th
- SacAnime Summer | September 4-6th
See you at the next con!