Unlike the first time I did a cosplay photoshoot with Osric Chau, this time he actually told me what he was cosplaying as.
True, it was only a day or so before I left Australia to fly to San Francisco, but we’re slowly making progress in Let’s Get Megan As Prepared As Possible. So I sat in the airport, waiting for my connecting flight, googling other Little Mermaid cosplay photoshoots.
I would email some suggestions, “What about this?”. I would get an email back, “Hmmm…maybe, but we can do better than that! Do you have an underwater camera? Are you bringing a bathing suit?”
The thought of having to juggle doing a photoshoot with wearing a bathing suit in front of people kept me in a terror-filled stupor the whole plane flight to San Francisco, and I arrived no more the wiser than when I left, except for the fact that this would be a big old adventure, which seems to be Osric’s favourite word. We didn’t even know when we were going to do the shoot, but we were thinking in between Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles’ Gold Panel and normal panel on the Sunday. So all I knew was that potentially I had half a day, with a costume I didn’t know the mobility or logistics of.
I was starting to feel completely out of my depth. No pun intended. I’m a person who likes to know whats-what. I’m very new to posed photoshoots, and this would be only my second time working with Osric.
Sunday morning, I step outside the hotel and there is fog. Wall-to-wall fog. It’s like something out of a Victorian gothic novel. I text message my friend – who is back up in our room waiting for the convention day proper to start – panicking that I can’t do it. She writes back that it will be perfect. “It will be like a Gothic Not-Quite-Right-Little-Mermaid!” She managed to calm me down, and I stood in the carpark across the road from the hotel metering for different objects in the light.
Osric appeared then with Isa and Gretchen, his costumers (who were both really lovely). We all introduced ourselves and made our way down to the bay. I was starting to feel pretty okay, then Isa comes over to me.
“Has he told you he has to check out of the hotel in like, an hour?”
Half a day turns out to be an hour, which technically turns out to be half an hour, because he needs to change and pack.
Half an hour.
My brain could go two ways now. It could shut down, or it could get it done. And for some reason, that day it decided to get it done. I ignored the creepy taxi drivers that were in the carpark watching us, and tried to work with the setting we were given. And I only made him sit in the water for about five minutes.
It turns out the fog acted like a gigantic soft box, diffusing the light and spreading it out in a more even, flattering way. Rather than having Osric sit with his back solely to the bay, which would have resulted in a flat, white background we also tried to turn him so the camera aimed slightly down the shoreline to add interest by showing texture and colour. I brought those out in post-production using dodging and burning. As far as editing went, I tried to desaturate the colours slightly, and add a slight matte finish. There’s still a vibrancy there, but it’s very different to the Up photoshoot.
It turns out that while we are very different in the way that we approach things, for some reason it works really well for these shoots. Osric’s very spontaneous and likes the excitement of not-knowing, and I’m very measured and detail oriented (at least as far as photography goes I am!). He looks at the bigger overarching picture and I look at what I can do practically and what I can do as far as editing etc. But the main thing is I always have so much fun and even in the mad rush and even when I’m panicking that I won’t be able to do it I wouldn’t change the experience for anything.
Because slowly, with every little push I am doing it, and I’m giving my negative-self less ammunition.
So I really can’t wait for the next big adventure!