Unbridled Cynicism

less bullshit, more often?

Himenokouji Akiko at Mount Wilson

Today’s shoot is of Himenokouji Akiko, from the anime and light novel OniAi, cosplayed by the lovely Anya Kimochi. We did actually have two more cosplayers with us, Rie and Simon, but we were a bit rushed and I didn’t get around to shooting them myself. C’est la vie.

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Caption: Took this one early in the day without much planning, and it came up nicely when processed as black and white. A friend suggested that she’d go for an even stronger contrast, so I took it for another spin in Lightroom. I’m very pleased with the results. The eyes are now more sparkly, the lips have been darkened aggressively, and subtle burning gave more shape to the jawline.

Deep black and white isn’t exactly typical for a light novel show, but I reckon it’s pretty good if I may say so myself.

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Caption: We took a few cracks at this one with differing lighting, and this was the best. Nice big octabox close-in and soft ambient light from the cloud cover, produces lovely texture in the skin and catchlights in the eyes.

The alternatives we tried were straight ambient, and the same octabox with an additional flash at camera-right as a hairlight. Ambient is nice but doesn’t give any definition to the face, nor are there any catchlights, so you end up with a vaseline-smooth appearance (pleasant enough but distracting). The additional flash did the job, but the bare speedlight source is too small and makes awful reflections on her hair.

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Caption: A close-up crop of the previous file, because it came out SO well. :P

There was still one more shot we wanted, emulating a particular dakimakura. Well, we didn’t quite have a bed, but we made a nice one from fallen autumn leaves. Unfortunately I only had the 105mm on the D800 so I couldn’t take the shot as planned, and I didn’t have time to run back to the car for something wider.

I did, however, have a Canon film body with nifty firty mounted. The film’s at the lab now, maybe it’ll come back with something good. Seeing as I couldn’t get the dakimakura shot myself (that would be Adrian’s job), I got something else nice instead.

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Caption: Bam! I am so happy with this shot. Erik’s direction and lighting is so good. It’s got soft shadows in just the right places to make flattering lines, and it makes the skin look a lot clearer. Often I’ll fire up Photoshop to liquify the odd eyelid or errant line, but it wasn’t necessary at all this time. That’s awesome.

This was the money shot; everything’s sitting just right, the light’s right, skin looks great, facial lines are very sharp, and you’ve got dat almost-open smile. I brushed in a little extra clarity along the shirt placket and deepened the creaselines a little around the buttons, I think it has the right effect. Fabulous Max!