Despite living fairly close to her, Missyeru and I have never officially done a photo shoot together. There was the time I tagged along on someone else’s shoot and got a couple shots, but we’ve never actually done a shoot. Not at a convention, not even a quick 15 mins here or there. She was getting ready to move to Germany so I knew we had to arrange a shoot before she was gone for good! I brought along my crew of Hall To, Luna Lovely, and ChillyWilly.
For this shoot, I went back to Stoney Point Park in Chatsworth, CA. It’s the second time I’ve used it, but I can’t get over what a great backdrop it makes for some of these characters. My next League of Legends shoot will be elsewhere, though I’ll definitely return here at some point. I’ve barely explored the park so there’s many nooks and crannies left there I want to try out. As usual, we showed up a little later than planned, but it was still early enough that we had good light to work with. (Pro tip: Always give yourself a little extra time for things that go wrong…because they will go wrong.) The shoot went pretty well with the exception of the TimVo curse; that’s where I break every prop of Missyeru’s that I shoot without even touching it. For her Ashe photos, her bow broke halfway through the shoot. For this shoot, the head fell off her staff and we tried to rig it back together. It held for a few shots, but didn’t make it through the whole shoot. Trying to fix it did take up an extra 20-30 minutes of time that we could have been shooting.
I don’t play League of Legends myself, so I’m not familiar with many the characters beyond what I see cosplayed. This meant I had to do a little research and find some reference images, mainly for picking a location. Mostly, I relied on Missyeru and my assistants to give me background info. This is a bit of a drawback for LoL characters in that most don’t have the drawn out, detailed, storied backgrounds of some other franchises to pull from. For me, this meant I wasn’t sure how I wanted to light her: hard and dramatic or soft and glowy. So second tip: Do as much background research as you can into the character to get a good understanding of how you want to shoot them. Heroic characters are generally shot upward so they’re towering over the image. I figured that was a good place to start.
I brought out the PCB Einstein again for this shoot, but I used the beautiful natural light in the area most of the time. We were on the shady side of Stoney Point so I didn’t have to worry about shadows or harsh light. For the jumping shot, I stopped down my aperture a bit and used the flash to freeze motion. A trick to remember when shooting motion with flash is that your shutter speed can be less than optimal for freezing motion (in order to stay within sync speed) because the flash is doing the work of freezing motion. Normally, to freeze someone jumping in a picture without flash, you want to shoot with a shutter speed faster than 1/640. When using flash, you can freeze motion at a slower speed provided that you underexpose the rest of the scene and let the flash do most of the work. You may see a bit of ghosting if you don’t underexpose your scene enough, but it’s not very noticeable in my opinion. My jumping shot here has a bit of ghosting if you zoom in very closely. The closeup shot is also flash-lit and the other two are using ambient light/shade. The rest of the work was done in Lightroom and Photoshop to adjust color tone and polish armor.
ChillyWilly did another great job of capturing the costume and behind the scenes action during the shoot:
As always, thanks for checking out the photos! Feel free to send me a message on facebook or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your feedback!