Back to Cosplay after 7 Years

Kurisu - Shimakaze Amatsukaze Fall 2017-8This has been a long time coming. Earlier this year I started cosplaying again. It isn’t like I haven’t been involved in the local con scene these few years, but I haven’t really did Kigurumi cosplay during this time. Fall last year I got the itch again to get back to the place where I was during my initial university studies.

What made that time special was that I was running and was studying the stuff that I wanted to. Having decided to take a second degree, circumstances lined up for me to return to running. A short half year later I started kigging again.

Kurisu - Shimakaze Amatsukaze Fall 2017-5Now it is fair to say that this style of cosplay is not for everyone and the masks can be a little much for many, but for me I just love the creative spaces that this style opens up. One isn’t bound by face shape, gender, and with the mask being solid and a little bigger than a regular human head allows proportions to be fudged a bit. Moreover as a photographer I absolutely love the creative options for photos and video. As a cosplayer I am not stuck worrying if my face is doing what I think it’s doing and just focus on posing.

I’m excited to be back in this hobby, and I will absolutely sing the praises of how running can really bring life to better places. I don’t want to obsess about losing weight, but I absolutely think it’s important to find ways to keep an active lifestyle as it has been such a positive force in my life.


The random things that normally go unseen

Sometimes you can find the most random things by just walking around and paying attention to the things people put out in front of their houses.  I noticed this guy when I was walking around the side-street areas in Sumida-Ku, Tokyo.  It gives me some ideas on some photo walks I would like to do in the future.Image

Walking around Asakusa

Today I walked from the guest house at Kuramae up to the Sensoji.  I took some photos from around the area.  I finished up stopping by the local conbini to try some of their cake treats.

A couple of questions for everyone today. Do you have parts of your town steeped in tradition?

What kinds of food do convenience stores sell where you live?

How to get started in photography

Sensoji Temple in Asakusa Tokyo

Sensoji Temple in Asakusa TokyoYou walk into a camera shop. Today is the day you have decided that you will take better pictures. Diligently you listen to the salesperson explain the features and benefits of each camera. He or she dazzles you with words like ISO, F-Stop, and Focal Length.

Politely you listen to the description, at times wondering if they are still speaking English. Soon you narrow down to the one camera. Excitedly you make your purchase and head home. You unbox the camera, put the battery on the charger and anxiously wait.

Two to three hours later the battery finishes charging and you put the memory card and battery into the device. With surging anticipation you flip on the on switch. Your excitement is quickly replaced by confusion. If the camera has simple menus that are simple enough to understand, you sit there and wonder:

“What am I going to take pictures of?”

After a few moments go by, and taking a few pictures of junk sitting around the room, you quietly slip the camera into a case or drawer, and don’t touch it again until the next family event or gathering. Of course when this event comes, the camera is left in auto and your satisfaction with the pictures is somewhere between “meh its ok” to “I wish I could take better photos”.

If the above story describes your situation, this post is for you!

There is a lot of terminology to learn in photography, but there is a huge first step most people neglect when getting started in photography.


If you have not answered this question, photography will seldom leave you feeling satisfied. Photography is what we do to record memories of what we are passionate about. It is very hard to get excited about photos of the random things sitting on our desk.

Therefore I would recommend before you decide before even going to the camera store is to decide what you love taking photos of. If you have difficulty answering this consider the following:

What pictures have really blown me away?

Is it a specific kind of picture? (People? Landscapes? Animals? Eccentric?)
Where do I regularly look at photos? (Online? Facebook? Family Functions?)

If you consider these things, you will be able to step into a camera shop and confidently state what you are looking for. Telling the camera sales person that you want to just “take better photos”, doesn’t really give them enough information to make a solid recommendation that you will go home absolutely loving.

When you get home, start taking pictures of what you are passionate about playing with different camera settings to see what each change does to the resulting photo. After this go and pick up a photo magazine and start flipping through the pages looking at the articles. A lot of great magazines exist that will explain what each setting does, and will be accompanied with photos to illustrate the resulting photographic results.

I would warn a lot of you; a lot of photo magazines do have artistic nudes sections. If this is something that offends you, do make sure you take a quick flip through the magazine to make sure it suits your tastes.

If you have something that you have found helpful when you were learning photography please comment or email me. I would love to hear from you!

Till next time

How to take better event portraits

This is a follow up post to a previous post.  The main point of this post will highlight what generated some major conversation at Animethon 19 during my photography panel. This post will mainly apply to event photography.

We generated some great discussion during this panel in regards to the non-technical side of portrait photography:

The Social Side of Photography

We talked a bit about how when sharing our photos with non photography people, how to effectively do so.

Some main points were:

  • Use social networks
  • Make use of a business card when taking photos
  • Make use of a personal card (meishi in Japanese) when having one’s picture taken.  You never know when you want someone to follow-up with you when they do something creative with you.
  • Tag, Tag, Tag.  People rarely look up photos of people they don’t know!  If you want to generate more activity on your photos, either setup your photos to be publicly tagged.  OR, keep good notes while you are taking photos.
    • Best way to keep good notes while taking photos would be to add the subject of the photos on facebook at the time of the photo’s capture.  Also make a note of who they were, and what they were wearing, that way when you are tagging people there is a memory aide to assist in the photo tagging process.
    • Even better, set your photos and priviledges completely to public and outsource the tagging job completely! People will generally be enthusiastic to tag their friends in your photos!

Future Considerations:

  • As the social web moves towards video, make sure you are making it easy for people to tag themselves in your videos.
  • The same applies as above: People will be more interested in your work (in this case videos, if they are in them).  Make it easy for people to find themselves in your videos.

Finally in closing.  When doing event photography, it is important to remember that at the fundamental level, if the people whom you are photographing can’t find your photos easily, your photos won’t generate the activity that you are looking for.

Through remembering to make a connection with the people whom are being photographed, you can help improve the success rate of your photos.  If the people who you photographed are easily able to find themselves, you will find that your photos will get more feedback.

If you have any question about the above post, or you have a comment, feel free to comment or email me.  I would love to hear from you.  Let’s start a discussion!