This year's C2E2 again proves why it's in my top three conventions I absolutely love. Chicago has always been one of those cities I sometimes fantasize moving to and living near. I always find myself drawn to it every year with conventions and always sad when I have to leave.
The wonderful JediManda, and I made our way up to the windy city Wednesday morning, excited and eager, to meet up with two beauties April Gloria, and Oh My Sophi. The plan was to get there, grab badges, and also start scouting locations for photo locations. When we did I found an entirely new area that in my 3 years of photographing at C2E2 never even been to. So I decided to change things up from past years I was going to make that area my primary area for the entire convention.
Once we were done we headed back to the hotel when we ran into a photographer friend and he clued us in that the main host hotel was allowing late check in to 8pm for an extra fee. So if you're reading this and attend C2E2, definitely ask if their offering late check out. Let me tell you, it was well worth it.
Shooting the Cosplay Crown Champion 2nd year in a row is literally mind-blowing and I really hope I'm not jinxing myself for next year. Working with CowButtCrunchies is always a freaking joy. Their craftsmanship is literally out of this world and is god tier.
I originally had the opportunity to shoot this specific cosplay during KatsuCon, however, there were still a few things they were planning to add, and I wanted to see it completed. It's kind of like that old saying that good things come to those who wait, and man I'm glad I waited.
Also during this weekend a few friends and I also attended the Brenina after party gathering that YayaHan hosted, it was a smaller gathering with a cash bar and many of the Cosplay Crown Championship competitors. This is where I had the chance in meeting both Maker and Muse, and Wood Smoke and Words Cosplay, two people that I followed that I absolutely loved, but at the time DID NOT RECOGNIZE. We chatted for a while and I expressed how I would love to photograph them both since it’s not every day that they’re going to be in the U.S. We all agreed and we planned to set a shoot up. Later that night I looked up their profile pages on Instagram, and that’s when I realized that they were the Jester, and Molly Mauk Cosplayers that I’ve been following religiously for months. You guys, I thought I was alright with recognizing peoples, but man I was embarrassed. Also, if you think I kept my embarrassment to myself, you are wrong. I messaged them about it and we all had a good laugh. The photoshoots went off without a hitch, and they were an absolute joy to get to work with.
However, our Critical Role shoot was probably one of my favorite shoots during the weekend. First, it was just a shoot with Tilda and Imogen, which turned into a group shoot with Emi and her Caleb, that finalized into a group with nearly all the Mighty Nein characters. It’s a love-hate relationship when it comes to group shoots, but honestly, I take them more like a challenge. Trying to show off every person equally can be hard, but with enough practice and playing with posing you can make some pretty decent shots.
This year for C2E2 I wanted to try something a little different. When I first attended this con the basement was a designated photoshoot area, where photographers could freely set up light stands. Nowadays that has been very limited. So, what I wanted to try this year was to have a photo studio inside the hotel room. Just something small nothing crazy… This Zelda shoot with The Legend of Emily Cosplay taught me that having the studio in the Hyatt hotel room, was a TIGHT fit. We made it work, but this was the only studio shoot in the room (besides the Ruby of the Sea set) that I was going to have.
Now I say that the Zelda shoot was the only in room studio shoot, which is true. However, I built a photo shoot set in the room and let me tell you, Critical Role ruled my life during C2E2, and I was completely fine with it. April Gloria was one of my roommates during C2E2 and when I found out she was bringing her Ruby of the Sea Cosplay we immediately starting planning. April bought a tone of Mediterranean pillows and tapestries, and I bought blankets, flowers, and my fabric backdrops to transform out hotel bedroom corner into a lavish courtesan’s corner. We also used this same set for a Ruby of the Sea boudoir set that you can see over on April’s Patreon here.
During this con, I was also able to add another photo to my Critical Role Halo series, with the beautiful Ashley of Elenithil Cosplay in her Jester. Bless her she went along with my crazy and bought a bag of a hundred lollipops. Yes, some lollipops were wasted in the making of this photo, but plenty were also eaten as well. This girl helped me out some much during this weekend. Early Friday morning around 4 am I woke up in a panic and for the life of me could not rest. 6 am rolled around and Ashley messaged me about her shoot. I told her what was up and she graciously joined me for a SUPER early breakfast in the lobby. So we both got breakfast in our PJ’s and hung out in the Lobby talking about what else, Critical Role until our shoot that morning. Bless this girl.
I’m a portrait artist by heart and by trade. However, it’s become rare that I shoot any ‘normal’ portraits anymore, and I’m completely fine with this. So when I was asked to shoot one of my first maternity portrait shoots of course it was going to be super hero themed. Erin and I have worked with one another several times of the years and she is always darling. So, when she shared that she wanted me to photograph her and capture her during her first pregnancy I was so honored. Originally we were planning on shooting her Daenerys, however the baby was growing a little too fast for it so we switched to the crime fighting SpiderWoman and her wanted to recreate her popular pregnancy comic cover. I am still over the moon with these shots and that Erin wanted to share this opportunity with me. For the future I would absolutely love to photograph more maternity cosplays, because this was such an amazing experience.