Costume College 2018: Sunday Photo Shoots

On Sunday, the final day of Costume College, I had a packed schedule of shoots. Since I didn’t have any limited classes, I opted to spend most of my day on photography. I ended up doing two group shoots, three pre-booked shoots with Taylor, Vivien, and Gwendolyn, respectively, plus extra shoots with Stephanie and Kenna. By now I had totally adjusted to the hotel as a shooting location.

First up was the My Little Pony group shoot with Vanessa and Sara. Both this year and last year the three of us have done characters from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Sunday. After a weekend of historical costuming, it’s a nice way to mix things up.

Since it was still on the early side, the sun angle was such that we could get a group photo in the Little Poolside Park. (As a reminder, I described my usual photo locations in this post.) Although, we did have to get close to the living wall so that we could all be in the shade.

Here I am lining up the group shot. You can see how the sun limited the area we had to work with. (This photo is courtesy of Stephanie.)
Costume College

The resulting photo. I had my camera on a timer, so I could line things up and then get in the shot myself.
Costume College

Then I had a bit of a scare, because when I had switched lenses for closeup shots of each person, my 35mm didn’t mount properly, meaning the auto focus didn’t engage. But removing the lens and remounting it fixed the issue. I think I kept my cool through dealing with the equipment malfunction, but inside I was pretty freaked out for a second.

Despite that incident, I think the single-person shots I took next came out pretty well. Vanessa makes a lovely Princess Luna!
Costume College

Sara as a badass Queen Chrysalis
Costume College

Then Stephanie was nice enough to take a couple photos of me. I had already dialed in my camera settings during the previous photos.
Costume College

Next I did a couple photos of Stephanie in her “Dress of Wrong” (that is, a costume with a historical silhouette, but made out of a modern fabric). I had some issues with these shots, as Stephanie’s light skin tone reflects of lot of the surrounding colors, which in this case made her look a bit green. I did a number of tone curve adjustments to deal with this.
Costume College

Also, black and white works well for removing odd color casts!
Costume College

After wrapping up in the Little Poolside Park, I had a short break before doing a shoot for the whole Dress of Wrong group. So I did a quick Starbucks run and then waited in the front hotel lobby for the group to gather.

Once the whole group arrived, I took them to the Traffic Circle out front. But because it was not important to have a non-modern background in these photos, I had them cross to the far side opposite the hotel. There is a brick wall and windows there that would frame the whole group well.

Here is the resulting photo. The group was six people, so it was pretty easy to have everyone face into the center, three to a side. I went with the tallest two ladies in the middle. Unfortunately I do not have everyone’s online handles, but Stephanie and Taylor are in the center, while Kim is on the end to the right.
Costume College

Costume College

Plus a fun one! Thankfully I had a wide enough lens (16-80mm) to get everyone to fit even with one person laying in front.
Costume College

My next shoot was a pre-booked one with Taylor in her fun Beauty and the Beast Dress of Wrong. As it was now around midday, the temperature was pretty hot. So I started us inside before venturing into the sun. We began at the Katsucon Wall.

The dark colors of Taylor’s gown really contrast with the white well.
Costume College

Next we went outside briefly to the Little Poolside Park. By now, the sun had crept close to the living wall, but I could still position Taylor in the shade of the trees nearby.
Costume College

We finished up with some photos of her sitting on the ground, which I think have a nice “Belle in the forest” look to them.
Costume College

Costume College

After finishing up with Taylor I had a short break in my schedule. I had seen Kenna in the hallway earlier wearing her new Victorian fancy dress rainbow costume, and I knew I wanted to try to get photos of it. So I walked back around the hotel trying to find her. Happily, I did!

We started by the Katsucon Wall, because I knew the rainbow detailing on her bodice would really stand out there.
Costume College

Costume College

Then we went outside to the Little Poolside Park. By this time of day, the light had become pretty bright, but I thought that look would suit Kenna’s costume. For some darker outfits it might have looked washed out.
Costume College

I love her fan and headpiece!
Costume College

Those rainbow eyelets are a wonderful touch.
Costume College

Costume College

My next shoot was with Vivien, who had created a really cool Star Wars First Order/vintage mashup costume. Her ensemble was primarily black with pops of red, so I wanted to use somewhat solid-colored backgrounds to make her stand out.

Our shoot started at about the same time as the Sunday costumed tea, which meant that there was a large line through the lobby blocking the areas I would have used for backdrops. So we started outside in the Traffic Circle. Since it was well past noon, the sun was too bright in the Little Poolside Park.

I like how the red of her cape shows up against the green.
Costume College

Costume College

Here I angled Vivien to feature her arm patch in the shot.
Costume College

After we had finished outside, the line in the lobby had cleared out. I definitely wanted to get some shots by the Katsucon Wall, since that would create a lot of contrast with her black dress.
Costume College

And finally, Vivien requested a seated pose. We tried a setup on the deck near the pool, but it was a bit bright on that side of the hotel. However, then I remembered this armchair in the lobby, and we were able to get one of my favorite shots of the weekend. I explained some of the process behind this photo here.
Costume College

My last shoot of the weekend was with Gwendolyn, who I hadn’t seen in several years until this Costume College. It was great to have a chance to reconnect! She wore a beautiful German Renaissance gown inspired by the art of Cranach the Elder. Most of the historical costumers I work with focus on the 18th and 19th centuries, so it was a treat to photograph something different.

We warmed up with a couple shots by the Katsucon Wall, which set off her dark dress nicely. However, it was now the middle of the afternoon, which made the light a bit more challenging. This required more correcting in post.
Costume College

Then, since Gwendolyn mentioned that she had looked at period paintings when making her costume, I also wanted to take a photo of her at the same spot where I worked with Vivien in the armchair. I thought that darker setting would imitate some of the flat brown backgrounds that you see in Renaissance paintings. In this case, I switched out the modern armchair for an ottoman.
Costume College

And then we finished up outside in the Traffic circle.
Costume College

The sidewalk in the circle is decidedly modern, but at least it isn’t a distracting color.
Costume College

Costume College

And that was a wrap on a weekend of photography! Thank you to each and every person that I shot with. I was pretty nervous about doing this much photography on location so far from home. But I learned a lot, and although there is definitely room for improvement, I am very happy with the results.

Just for my future records:
Original Shots: 1571
Final Photos: 319
Keep Rate: 20%
I started editing on July 31st and finished on September 9th (though I was hampered by some computer issues that made Photoshop very slow during that period).

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