December 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

This is Fuyuko cosplaying as chibi Canada from Hetalia: Axis Powers.  The photo is taken in the South Park Blocks in downtown Portland.  The character is supposed to be very young, so Fuyuko stayed in character and acted very childlike and innocent during the shoot.  It was pretty convincing, so after a while I started to feel like I was actually taking photos of a child.

This is another one of the earlier photo shoots that I did during Kumoricon that weekend.  I think it was the second one.  It can be kind of mentally tiring to take hundreds of photos over the course of many hours, so it really helps when things go especially well at the beginning.  In this case, Fuyuko was very sweet and easy to work with, so that made me feel really positive about the rest of the day.

You can see more photos from this set on Flickr.

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November 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Interview with Ms. November

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

This model and costume were great, and people even stopped us on the street to ask to have their pictures taken with her.  It was one of the more difficult shoots though, because it became very windy.  At first I thought the wind might add a nice effect while she stood out in the square, with tall buildings in the background, but it didn’t really work out that way.

Eventually I decided that the costume was the main focus anyway, and having a complicated background wasn’t really necessary.  So we went for more simple shots like this, and this one turned out to be my favorite from the shoot.

More photos from this set on Flickr.

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October 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

The only trick to this one was finding an angle and moment where there wouldn’t be someone standing in the background.  While I was at it, I tried to get some of the flowers in the background too.  This was at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland.

Sahara came up with the pose.  She was full of ideas and it was a lot of fun to see what she would do next.  This was taken the first time I met her, but since then I’ve done more photo shoots with her, and she is always great.  She has total confidence in front of the camera.

More photos of Haley and Sahara as Vocaloids, on Flickr.

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September 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

This is Haley at the fountain in Director Park.  At this time of day, the sun was reflecting off a building across the street, and then that light was reflecting again off the water, so it was a double reflection.  I realized that if I positioned the camera in just the right way it would create this halo of light around her.  It almost looks like a special effect added later, but it is real, and I liked that.

At this location there are a lot of distracting things in the background, so I came in close to make the water the only background in the photo.   I wanted to emphasize the color combination of the blue hair against the golden light on the water.

Sahara, who also appears in this calendar, was here helping with the lighting and making suggestions for poses and other creative ideas.   Most of the time we did just a few shots of each concept and then moved on to something else, so this particular shoot seemed to go by very quickly in a whirlwind of activity.

More photos of Haley and Sahara as Vocaloids, on Flickr.

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August 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

This is Roscoe cosplaying as Wesker from Resident Evil.  We wanted to do some night shots with the city lights and buildings in the background.   Positioning him up high like this with the streets below makes him look powerful.  We experimented with different buildings in the background, but these lights were the brightest and worked the best.

More photos of Roscoe as Wesker, on Flickr.

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July 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

The model here is StarryShay.  She has a really wonderful look for cosplay.  She has large eyes and delicate features, so she looks a lot like the typical pretty girl in an anime, but in real life.

I had planned in advance that I wanted to do a shot with the Portland sign in the background, but I didn’t know which model I would use for that.  When I saw StarryShay and her costume, I knew she would be perfect for it.

Of all the photos in this calendar, this one was the one I had the most difficulty with.  I’ve told people that and they’ve been confused — the usual reaction is “I don’t get it, what’s so hard about that?”  Well I’m glad the photo doesn’t look like it was hard for me to do, I’d rather have it look natural.  But there are many tricks going on here.

There is another sign here, not the Portland sign, that would be very distracting in the picture, and the only way I could hide it was to line things up so she is completely blocking it with her body, making it “disappear.”  But doing that led to another problem.  I wanted the relative sizes of the Portland sign and the model to be balanced, and the angle to be just right, and the only place I could stand to achieve that was in the middle of the street, where I had to worry about the possibility of being hit by a car.  And then I had to hold the camera up very high, where it was hard to see what I was doing, because she is not standing on the sidewalk, she is actually standing up on top of a low wall.

Another trick here was the lighting.  The background is natural light, but the model is being lit by off-camera flash.  One of the other models from this calendar was there holding the flash in the right position.  I can’t remember who it was, I think it was AgehaIX but it could have been Haley.  Without that assistance I couldn’t have made it work.

So the bottom line was that it took many, many tries to get this right.  It felt like about 50 attempts.  And partway through that, the batteries in the external flash ran out and I had to replace them.  This is the type of situation where the model could get bored or frustrated, and that might show on her face and ruin the shot.  But StarryShay was great, she kept doing cool poses every time, acting like each one was the very first one.

In the end, I got exactly the shot I had hoped for.  Sometimes you just have to hang in there and keep trying.

More photos from this set on Flickr.

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June 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

This is Sutie, cosplaying as Tsumugi from K-on! It was pretty dark by the time we started taking these photos, so it all had to be artificially lit like this.  She had a friend with her who was cosplaying as Mio from the same series, and they were both very nice and very easy to work with.  You can see the photos of them together in the Flickr set.

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Cosplay Interview with Victoria Scerri (Ms. March 2011)

Thank you for being the March 2011 photo on the J LHLS Cosplay Calendar!

What’s the name of your character in the calendar?

Big Sister

What’s the source (manga/anime/whatnot) of this character?

A video game called, “BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams”

What inspired you to cosplay this character?

I had just got into the BioShock game series this year, and once I finished the first game, I HAD to play the second as soon as possible! When coming up against the nemesis ‘Big Sister’, I was not only terrified (being that I was low on ammo, health, and EVE), but completely in awe. I immediately went online and researched to see if others had fell under the spell of ‘Big Sister’ and went to work plotting my next cosplay.
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May 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Interview with Ms. May

Tom’s behind the scenes notes: this is Gryfffinclaw Princess dressed as Sasuko (a female version of Sasuke) from Naruto.  This was my first photo shoot out of many that weekend, and Gryfffinclaw Princess was very easy to work with and very comfortable in front of the camera.  Because that first shoot went so smoothly, it kind of set the tone for the rest of the day, and I think it made all of the other photos better too.

I liked this big tree as a background, and having her stand on this raised square block gives some more structure to the space.  It also reminds me of a video game character standing on a square tile.

One thing you can’t really see in this photo is that she’s wearing really wild, patterned red contact lenses.  But there are some closer shots where you can see them in the rest of the Sasuko photo set.

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Cosplay Interview with moriamactaggart (Ms. January 2011)

J LHLS 2011 Cosplay Calendar interview questions

Thank you for being the January 2011 photo on the J LHLS Cosplay Calendar!

What’s the name of your character in the calendar?

Lust

What’s the source (manga/anime/whatnot) of this character?

Fullmetal Alchemist

What inspired you to cosplay this character?

I really enjoy the show and I knew that I could successfully pull off the costume.
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April 2011

Where to Buy

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

This was a quick and simple shot, but I really like how it turned out.  The characters here are Spain and France from Hetalia: Axis Powers.

I had seen this wall a few weeks earlier and thought it would make a good background for some kind of anime cosplay photo.  “Make Wow” looked to me like something that you might see in a manga or anime, kind of like it was possibly an awkward translation from some Japanese phrase.  And Hetalia is a funny anime that can be very playful like this, so I thought it fit for these characters.

I didn’t know that Cassiopeia was going to do the “WOW” thing with her hands, she just did that spontaneously while I was taking the picture.  In fact, I didn’t even notice it until I looked at the photo later, and then I thought it was a brilliant idea.

Update September 25, 2011: Cassiopia in 2011 is Charly in 2012:


MAKE WOW! Indeed.

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Cosplay Interview with Gryffinclaw Princess (Ms. May 2011)

Thank you for being the May 2011 photo on the J LHLS Cosplay Calendar!

What’s the name of your character in the calendar?

Sasuko Uchiha (Sasuke Uchiha – Original Name)

What’s the source (manga/anime/whatnot) of this character?

Naruto Shippuden (This is the Sexy no Jutsu version of Sasuke Uchiha)

What inspired you to cosplay this character?

I used to be a big Naruto Shippuden fan until the fan base ruined it for me. But this year I decided to not let them get to me and I decided to just cosplay one of my favorite characters anyways.

I decided upon Sasuke because I enjoy his backstabbing, emo ways. Naruto always annoyed me so to see him get smacked around a bit by Sauske always put a smile to my face. The reason I did his female version is because I lack the abilities to bind my chest while continuing to be able to breath.
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March 2011

(Where to buy. $12.99 each, but order 5 or more, they’re $10.49 each.)

Interview with Ms. March

Tom’s behind the scenes notes:

This is Victoria dressed as Big Sister from the video game Bioshock 2.  This costume drew so much attention that for a while it was hard to take photos because so many people were crowding around to look at it and get their picture taken with it.  The costume was very hard to see out of, and hard to walk in.  Walking up or down stairs was hazardous, so we had to plan to avoid them.

A costume like this that completely covers the person does make the photo easier in one specific way: it completely eliminates the issue of whether the skin tones look good.  On the other hand, the costume has a lot of interesting features on it and it is tricky to get as many of them as possible into the picture.  So this photo looks kind of spontaneous, as if I said “oooh, look at that – click!”  But in reality it was very carefully planned.  I wanted to make sure her body was turned so that the pink ribbon on the back of the costume was visible, for example.  And I wanted all the details on her left arm to show up.  So the positioning was very deliberate.

I hadn’t originally planned to use this wall.  We came over here to use another wall nearby as a background.  But when I saw how the light was hitting this wall, with the soft shadows, I wanted to use it.  The green color is great because it is a color that is not in the costume, but also doesn’t clash with any of the colors in the costume.   Ten minutes earlier the shadows weren’t there, and ten minutes later there was some construction equipment parked in the way, so this was a case of taking advantage of the moment.

I like the aspect where there are shadows on the wall being cast by things that are not seen in the picture.  It conveys the idea that there is more going on outside the boundaries of the frame.

JD Luis assisted on this photo shoot, both by helping out with lighting and by providing creative input.  I enjoyed having him there and hearing his ideas.  Laura Miller was also there dressed as the Little Sister.  She does not appear in this shot but she is in some of the other shots in the Big Sister costume photo set.

One thing this shot doesn’t show is that the costume has LED lights in it that glow, and it looks really cool at night.

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Cosplay Interview with Lt. Commander Ritchie (Ms. November 2011)

Thank you for being the November 2011 photo on the J LHLS Cosplay Calendar!

What’s the name of your character in the calendar?

Sheryl Nome

What’s the source (manga/anime/whatnot) of this character?

Macross Frontier

What inspired you to cosplay this character?

She has so many beautiful outfits, and I love to sing and I love her duo-toned pink and blond hair!
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