Otakon 2016 is only a month away and I am getting super anxious and super excited! Otakon is one of my favorite annual events and I have been for multiple consecutive years. This year is a bit different. I generally attend as a spectator — an American otaku spending hours upon hours in panels, Artists Alley and the Dealer’s Room. I make an occasional stop by the Game Room for grins and giggles.
However, this year, I am attending as a photographer. With photography as my main goal this year, I have been thinking long and hard on what to bring and how to shoot. In previous years, I have strolled around the con, taking notes of other photographer’s setups. I have seen speedlight setups, Alien Bees setups and the evident GWC setup…
I considered packing a studio setup and going with the Alien Bees along with the rechargeable Vagabond for portable power, but I realized that may “bee” too much… and besides, I didn’t want to have to lug around multiple cases and bags. I don’t figure to shoot a lot of groups, so I crossed out the power option. Besides, the photography I am really aiming to shoot for is a unique faux HDR glamour look. Weird — I know.
So I took a trip over to Strobist and checked out their recommended lighting gear article. When I got into photography, Strobist was my shit! I love the look — and the portability. But what seemed to lack for me was the sensual, soft shots that you usually see in studio glamour. I think that’s why I gravitated towards studio work.
Strobist shots, in general, seem to be very intense and gritty. A lot of action shots or super intense portraits. And while super-intense portraits are a goal for Otakon as well, I want some versatility — actually a LOT of versatility in my Otakon kit. I want to shoot a Disney princess, then turn right around and shoot a badass female in a Mortal Kombat Scorpion cosplay. I need a lighting kit that is going to give me multiple looks and I can shove in a single rolling case or a travel backpack and be good.
After checking out the Strobist recommended gear and other photography gear websites for some ideas, I think I may have settled on my Otakon 2016 photography kit:
- Canon 18mm-135mm lens
- Canon 5D MkII
- LumoPro LP180 Manual Speedlight
- 3x Westcott 43-Inch Optical White Satin Collapsible Umbrella
- Photek Softliter 60 Inch Diffused Umbrella
- Lumodi 18 HD PRO Speedlight Beauty Dish w/ 20 degree Grid
- MagMod Complete Kit
- Phottix Ares Transmitter/Receiver
- 3x LumoPro LP606 8′ Black Air Cushioned Light Stand
I think this or something close to this is going to be the setup for the weekend. I have already been in contact with several amazing cosplayers and I just can’t wait!
In the meantime, I am practicing some lighting setups and making some other contacts. I am attending some local cosplay group shoots in an attempt to show off more work and be completely booked up this Otakon with a ton of amazing shots to share. The goal is to get some recognition and grow my fan base, while continuing to chase after the niche of being THE glamour photographer for pervy nerds.