Last year and this year, I’ve been making sure I challenge myself to improve my photography skills or style so I don’t become complacent. This year I tried to focus on three main areas,
- Looking at other photographers
- Facial expressions
- Shooting in manual mode
“Looking at other photographers” was a way for me to look up other alternative styles and draw upon other techniques so that I have a bigger pool of ideas when it comes to taking photos. I don’t think I’ve achieved this as I have followed other photographers especially ones outside of cosplay but I don’t look at their feed enough to be inspired to incorporate it into my style.
Again “Facial expressions” is another one which I’ve failed on, as I find it hard to advise someone on how their face should behave. Sometimes, I do think I’m not “vocal” enough to the cosplayers that they can’t hear me, or I don’t want to offend the cosplayers to keep repeating my instructions. Also, I think, that superheroes who wear masks, might find it difficult to create an array of facial expressions whilst wearing the mask. This is something I’ll be carrying forward onto my 2020 challenge.
My biggest success has been converting my skills to shoot in manual mode. From the first day of taking photos, I’ve shot in aperture priority, where I decided on the depth of field but the camera did the rest of the thinking for me. Well, this year I had to do all the thinking and at first, it was a huge learning curve. Trying to work out, how fast do I want to shoot the photo, how much additional light I needed and how to open my lens is to create that depth of field. When I upload photos of my work to the website and social media pages, I have recognised that the quality of the photos has dropped as I’m trying to work out all the settings in a very quick environment such at comic con. I hope this is something I’ll improve over time.
I can’t wait to think of more challenges to help me improve my skills in 2020.
Spend, Spend, Spend
This year I have spent a lot of money in the name of cosplay and photography. I carry two lenses with me which over the years has or will be replaced. My zoom lens 70-200mm I’ve already documented how that broke and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has dropped money to help me replace this lens. It means a lot that there are people who are willing to part money to me for something that was my fault.
The other lens which I had to replace my 50mm f1.4 which has been my go-to lens for most of my photography hobby since I started. The motors I can see wasn’t moving easily and after two times I’ve got it repaired, I finally decided to buy a new one as I know repair costs are expensive.
Also, I had to replace my LED light stick as it was being very heavy-handed with it and the handle broke off the lights.
With starting a new job this year after a year and a half absent from working, I knew that one thing I wanted to do with my money once saved up is fly back to the New York Comic-Con. I have already written an article about my love for that event, bit too quickly summerise, it’s just an event I love meeting so many cosplayers there, people I know I won’t usually see in the UK.
I’ve been very fortunate to visit the events both in the UK and around the world. Also, very fortunate in obtaining press/creator passes for various events, I’ve always seen these as a privilege to acquire these passes to these events and I do my best to represent the events.
But it’s not all about money
I really enjoy seeing people and take their photos. This is a reason why I’m enjoying visiting European events as it’s a chance to meet new people and see what cosplays they’ve created.
I’ll always be grateful to the people I meet at UK comic con but I’ve enjoyed more this year, the locations shoot I’ve done this year. It’s a chance to really plan a location, what poses or photos I want to achieve during this time. And I look forward to organising more locations shoots next year, especially those who have given me donations money via my Gofundme which qualifies them for a location shoot.
I’m trying to think of a highlight and one that springs to mind is not actually involving me but taking my friend Titans of Cosplay with me to New York Comic Con and watching his face go 404 and his mind blown.
Another highlight is the people who just want to say hello to me, nothing more, they just wanted to catch up with me both during and after the event. As a photographer don’t get much time to chat with people so anyone who stops me for a chat I’m very humbled by.
Looking forward to 2020
I’m looking forward to doing more travelling next year around Europe, which possible means attending less UK Comic-con events. I’m looking to meeting more people at these Comic-Con events and seeing more cosplays.
The most that I am looking forward to doing is photographing more locations shoots with people in either cosplay, fashion or alternative.
Here’s to the next year and the next new decade of great things to come for not just myself but for everyone.