Our Monthly Featured Photographer for October 2017 is GDY67:
Kayla – Cosplaying ‘2B’ from NieR: Automata
This shoot was taken a couple of weeks ago at the European Doll Meet. Fortunately, the weather was kind and the rain held off so I was able to get Kayla outside and take advantage of the natural daylight. This was only the second time since I’ve had her that I’ve been able to shoot outside and what a difference it makes. Apart from a little adjustment to the brightness/contrast levels, what you see is what came out of the camera, no Photoshop or filters were used except for the light flare on the picture where she’s kneeling with the katana.
Kayla is the Ex-Lite by DS/ExDoll. She’s 163cm (5’4”) high and at only 8kg, is as light as a feather. This combined with her detachable limbs make changing clothes and repositioning her during photoshoots a breeze. The other advantage that can’t be overstated is that she’s incredible well-proportioned and is a perfect UK size 6 (US size 2), so finding clothes that fit is no problem at all. All the high street shops sell clothes that will fit her, but it’s much more fun to visit charity shops and trawl Ebay where I’ve managed to pick up some beautiful things for a fraction of their original price.
In the eight months that I’ve had Kayla, she’s reawakened my interest in photography and there is hardly a day goes by when I don’t take snaps of her in different outfits and experiment for future photoshoots. I purchased the 2B costume she is wearing in this shoot, second-hand from a Cosplayer I know, but there are numerous ‘Buy and Sell’ Cosplay Groups on Facebook, so it’s worth checking out if you are looking for a specific anime costume. The 2B character from the game NieR: Automata, is one of my favourites, so I hope you enjoy the pics as much as I did planning and doing the shoot.
Now for the tech stuff:
I used a Canon 700D with a Helios 44m-4 2/58 (58mm f2 lens) rather than the standard 18-55mm kit lens that came with the camera. For those that don’t know (and I didn’t until a couple of months ago), the Helios 44m lens is well known for its swirly 'bokeh' effect, and because so many were produced, there are many used ones on the market and therefore incredibly cheap. I only paid £35 for mine and that included the case and convertor mount! All the pictures were shot at f2 to maximise the shallow depth of filed, but as this was my first time using a DSLR, I let the camera choose the shutter speed using the Canon’s AV aperture priority mode. The results aren’t bad but the swirly bokeh effect isn’t as pronounced as I’d expected. I think that’s because the background was either too close or too distant. There’s a very good review of the lens here which shows what it’s capable of when you get the distances correct: https://jonasraskphotography.com/2013/05/17/helios-44m-4-58mm-f2-review/
Another point worth noting is that the lens isn’t Auto Focus so I had to rely on manual focusing which is evident in a few of the shots which aren’t as sharp as I’d have liked. That said, the pictures have turned out much better than I’d hoped and I’ve learnt a lot. All of which will be put to good use, Kayla is stunningly beautiful and incredibly photogenic so we have many more shoots planned.
I can’t finish without a few words of thanks to everyone I had the pleasure of meeting at the meet. A surprisingly diverse mix of people but all charming and engaging in their own unique way. A fantastic bunch you’d be hard pressed to meet anywhere else. In equal measure, humorous, creative, intelligent, respectful, supportive, sometimes crazy, sometimes terrifying, but without exception, all devoted to and passionate about the ‘dolls’ they share their life with.
Genuinely, I met people there that will be friends for life. A specially mention to Ranger42 for his patience with my constant questions about the camera and how to use it!…….these photos wouldn’t have been half as good without your help. Much appreciated and hope to see you again next year
Note from the Editor: Each month we will feature a different photographer's work. We invite doll owners and manufacturers alike to participate in this new monthly feature. Photo shoots must meet a minimum quality level. If you do not meet that level we are happy to work with you, critique your photos and help you to raise the bar on your photography. Good photo shoots can be had with low cost digital cameras. It is all in the technique.
Submit your inquiries and sample entry photos to firstname.lastname@example.org