Last week I embarked on a journey that I’ll be recording here on the blog along with on Deviant Art. I’ve decided to put my new found enthusiasm for photography and the equipment I have at my disposal to good use by creating some cool cosplay pictures. I will not be charging anyone for my services and will also not be paying anyone for theirs. The aim is to benefit both parties (photographer and models) by offering professional (eventually) quality pictures for free. Simply show up, strike a pose and boost your own portfolio with the results.
Here’s the journey I started on Saturday ending with a fantastic couple of shoots the following day.
My First Location Scouting Trip
I don’t tend to do anything by half measures, which is why on Saturday of last week (19th May 2012) I set out on my first location scouting trip. It was a huge success and the increasing number of blisters on my left foot tell me that I really put in the miles. I started in the morning with a walk through the local woods next to the Leeds to Liverpool canal and found some brilliant locations to shoot at.
Firstly I found this impressive archway, which I think would be ideal for a Lara Croft shoot.
The area is also perfect for a fairytale style shoot, which I’m planning to do at some point in the future. There are a fair few openings in the greenery where I could get some fantastic pictures. I’m coming to realise that, as with the housing market, it’s all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Once I’d snapped a few hot spots I crossed over an old bridge and walked towards Leeds city centre along the canal. I found this railway bridge, which has an opening in the middle that lets through some light.
Even in the day beneath the bridge is quite dark, which I think could be explored more. The water next to the path also offers an extra dimension that I hope I can take advantage of, though due to the limited standing room over the water could prove to be difficult.
I’m also learning to really appreciate limited lighting but I’ll come onto that later.
Before I headed home I took a walk through the Armley Mills Industrial Museum, which is a gold mine for Steam punk fans. Here are a few pictures of what you can expect on your trip over there.
Entry is free to the grounds (between the Museums opening hours) so head over and check it out. If you’re really good and ask for permission from the people in the office they let us behind the barriers to take pictures with the trains in the background.
A word of warning, no nude shots! That’s what I was told and upon querying that further I found out that a previous couple took some rather naughty shots at the same location Made me laugh.
Later That Night
Once I got back from my morning walk I got a message from Charlotte, who I’d arranged to work with the next day on two different shoots. One was to be a steam punk shoot (location: check!) and the other a catwoman cosplay shoot. We set up a meeting at discussed our options for the following day. At the point we talked I hadn’t figured out a location for the catwoman shots, but after a quick phone call to a friend I had a few places to consider. The best of which was the dark arches, a set of arches underneath Leeds railway station that also houses a number of restaurants, bars and a car park.
We parted ways and I headed down to the dark arches with my camera to see what we had to deal with. Again I hit gold. It just so happened that the arches were hosting an event on the Saturday and Sunday called ‘Overworlds & Underworlds’, which was taking place at a number of locations around Leeds. I had a walk through and found one particular exhibit that immediately caught my eye. Here’s a picture of it.
It was perfect and still around the next day when we planned on shooting. I spoke with an organiser and she said that she’d contact the artist and ask if they minded if we incorporated their exhibit into our shots. It turns out that they did, which was a major kick between the legs. No matter, it’s an idea that I will definitely be returning to in the future on a different catwoman shoot.
Fresh off of the disappointment of being rejected permission I continued my search. This arch was next door to the exhibits and suited the criteria for what I was looking for.
The lighting was moody (though you can’t tell in this shot as I had flash on) and creepy, the walls were filthy and scenic, it was quiet and quite warm. Happy with my discovery I had a walk back round to the exhibits and took some more shots of the other art work on display.
Sunday 20th May 2012: Catwoman Cosplay Shoot
The steam punk photoshoot at the Industrial Museum went well then we headed into town to do the catwoman cosplay shoot. Charlotte got changed into the PVC catsuit before we headed down to make sure that everything fitted perfectly.
Rather than ramble on about what we did instead I think I’ll just show you the end results.
So there you go. Am I happy with them? Considering it was my first shoot in a darker environment I was quite happy. All shots were taken without a tripod, which I hope will impress the photographers out there. That’s going to change for my next shoot in the same location as some of the shots did come out with a bit of motion blur.
Next time I’m definitely going to take down a reflector so that we can pick up more details on the catsuit and gain some definition. The overhead lighting in the arches make for a fantastic challenge and I’m well up for the task. All of the light in the images are from the overhead lights, I didn’t use the flash on my camera at all.
We shot about 200 pictures in an hour and headed off.
I’m hoping to do another Catwoman shoot soon, so if anyone in the Leeds area wants to give it a go please get in touch. We have loads of PVC catsuits in a range of sizes so we can supply the costume if you can offer your time.
When I do another costume or cosplay shoot I’ll post some pictures so you can all keep tabs on my progress.