Will You Love Me, Derek? Until The Day I Die?
It had been quite a while since we had worked on something that wasn't video game or anime related. Tacocat had known Rebecca of Twin Thrones Cosplay since 2016 (and I met her at Ikkicon last year). Rebecca was planning on visiting Austin as Tacocat was going to help her out with some cosplay plans. She saw our more recent photosets and therefore reached out to us to see if we'd be interested in working together. I'm always down to work with new people so why not?
The cosplay is of Odette from the movie The Swan Princess. Admittedly I was not familiar with this movie at all. I did some research about the film and quickly figured out that we were not really going to be able to play to a good chunk of the story elements (mostly since some important character points take place at night). Also I wasn't too keen on presenting a lot of 'American animated movie princess' since I felt it would be a bit predictable. So with that I built a mood board that was more around beauty and fashion portraiture as I felt that could get us that 'elegant princess' vibe without being really obvious about it. When I showed that to Rebecca and the rest of the team they were all on board.
As for the location that was all thanks to Mermaid Child. She hung out with some friends at Krause Springs a few weeks prior and mentioned it to us. When I saw some of the pictures on the website I knew I needed to see it in person. One Saturday I went out there and walked around... and I immediately recognized it had a ton of possibilities. Mermaid Child also did a fantastic job with the makeup.
From a photographer perspective the main obstacle I needed to work around was with lighting though it came about in a way I didn't expect. Up until the day of the shoot the weather reports were showing that it was going to be mostly cloudy all day with some possibilities of really light rain at times. To me I read that as it would be similar to the conditions in which we did the Pusheen set. So with that I figured it would be best to use the Godox AD200s and a couple of Wescott 60" shoot through umbrellas so I could potentially go with a key light/rim light set up to help pull Rebecca out of some backgrounds.
So what happens? The weather decides to flip between mostly sunny to cloudy during our time there. Which made for a fun exercise is trying to figure out how to light, where to shoot, etc. In a case like this I may have been better off using using something like a softbox with a grid. But thankfully careful application of the Local Adjustment Tool in Photoshop Camera Raw helped out here.
I had also brought out my 18-55mm F/2.8 lens for this one. Ever since I got the 35mm f/2 lens it had pretty much stayed on my X-T2. It barely ever misses focus and it great for portrait work. But here I knew I needed something with more reach given some of the spaces we would be working in and how I wanted to shoot some things. It... mostly worked. Part of the reason I hadn't used it much was that it really had a tendency to miss focus especially in low light situations. So here I figured it might perform better. But it still had a tendency to be a bit soft at f/4 especially at distance. Given the character and the presentation we wanted it played to that. But I think I'm going to look for a replacement in that focal range.
Overall we had a lot of fun with this set even if it did mean a lot of walking, climbing on rocks, and swimming. We got some amazing photos out of this and Rebecca was super happy with them. If you'd like to see more of her cosplay work you can find her social media links below.