3 Tips to take your Cosplay Shoots to the Next Level Part I.

So you and your friends are getting together to take some cool photos of each other in your cosplay costumes. Awesome. Taking photos of your cosplay is a lot of fun and a great way to build an audience of fans online.

Before you run off to the park and shoot away consider these three tips to get better photos.

Location, location, location.

You’re probably thinking about running down to the park by your house for your cosplay shoot. Or maybe you plan on just shooting in your backyard. Or maybe you haven’t thought about where to shoot at all.

Well, the number one thing you can do to make your photos look better is pick a place that matches your cosplay.

For example I recently did a shoot for a guy with an amazing original character based on the Black Flag era Assassins Creed game.

I do a lot of engagements and have a wonderful Japanese Garden I like taking my couples to, but walking around with a Pirate wouldn’t have made for the best photos.

I knew I wanted to Photoshop a cool shot of him with pirate boats in a harbor as a background.

Okay cool idea but I live in Richmond Virginia and we don’t have any harbors full of replica pirate ships.

But we do have the next best thing... The James River and a copy of Photoshop.

Because of his pirate costume we met at the canal walk and shot for two hours next to the water.

A few awesome things came from this.

First I was able to use the wooden stairs at the end of the walk to replicate a wooden ship.

Look how a little careful planning and creative shooting makes it look like we are on a real pirate ship and not a set of stairs.

Secondly we got these cool shots of a prison cave.

Actually this was just the tunnel that leads to the stairs in the above photos. But once again a little creativity makes it look like a cool pirate set. (This would not have happened at a local park)

And last but not least I was able to set up the below shot.


Wait... that’s a modern day apartment complex in the background. How does that fit with the pirate theme?

Ah, I’m so glad you asked.

Remember that planning I keep talking about?

I was looking for a good ground area to put my pirate on and boy did I find it.

Enter Photoshop.

With a little work the apartment building is gone and this photo is ready for it’s harbor. Black flags and all.


So you can see how a little planning paid off and made these photos look like a million times better than if we had just shot in the city, or even at the local park.

Okay in part two we are going to dive into the next tip. “How posing can make or break your photos”

Click here to read part two.

P.s. The reveal of the Harbor Photoshopped picture will be in Part II as well. Click here to see it.


pps. Join the Cosplay Kingdom Facebook Group

Engagement In Maymont Park

I recently had the privilege of photographing this great couple at Maymont Park.


We shot primarily around the Japanese Gardens before heading up to the Italian Gardens. 


What makes this shoot unique compared to others I have done is we shot during the middle of the day in bright harsh sunlight. 


To compensate for this I chose mostly shady areas and shot with a much higher aperture than I normally use. Then I used my flash to light the couple.


I love the bright vivid colors and beautiful blue skies we got as a result. 

Portraits at Running Mare Farm in Maidens Virginia

Running Mare Farm Wedding Photos

I was able to get some beautiful photos after this wedding. Then I took the bride and groom down to a small pond to stage a photo the groom wanted. The idea was he snuck off after the wedding to go fishing. While the groom was posing he actually caught a fish which made the staged shoot real. We got some great photos out of it. Be sure to check them out at the end.

Running Mare Farm Wedding | Maidens Virginia

Running Mare Farm In Maidens Virginia is an absolutely beautiful location for your wedding.


A little gem hidden away in Maidens Virginia. Running Mare Farm was an absolute delight to work at. It is beautiful, and the owners made sure everything ran smoothly as possible.

Okay enough gushing, let the pictures speak for themselves. Here is a wedding I was honored to do for two former students of mine.





Last Minute Wedding in the Park

A few months ago I had a bride who wasn’t going to have photos taken of her wedding change her mind three days before the wedding. I had just had an shoot fall through for the weekend and was happy to help out. So here are a few shots from an outdoor wedding at a local park in Richmond Virginia.

Christmas Tree Family Photoshoot

Family Christmas Photos at Mill Farm Christmas Trees and Berries

Get Info on having your own family photo shoot.

As has become our family’s tradition, we took family photos after Thanksgiving. My wife found a Christmas tree farm about a half hour away from us in Williamsburg, Virginia. Unfortunately once we got there we realized it was not what we expected.

Now this was no fault to Mill Farm. They had a great set up and were incredibly friendly. They even had a Santa directing traffic.

The problem was we were expecting a thick forest full of pine trees we could hike around until finding a picturesque spot to plop our plaid blanket down and shoot away until the sun set.

The reality was more like a pumpkin patch, swap pumpkins for trees.

We did find a good spot to set up and worked around a few problems.

First off was the not so attractive red ribbon in the tree we chose to use. You could reserve your tree then pick it up at your convenience and I believe the ribbons where how they denoted a tree that was spoken for.

Good for their system, not so good for our photos.

The second problem we encountered was how busy the place was. I was able to get some great shots of my kids but most of them had people in the background looking for a tree.

Luckily I was able to take care of these small problems in Photoshop while touching up the images.

They are small changes but make a huge difference in the over-all appeal to the photos. This becomes an even bigger deal if you are printing any of the photos.

I thought it might be fun to show a little before and after of the images so you can see the difference even a little bit of retouching can make.

Make sure you read until the end. The last photo is our family Christmas card image and I added a little surprise in for my wife.

This first photo shows the red ribbon and how much better the photo looks without it. You would think red ribbon on a Christmas tree would be a good thing but it was distracting.



More red ribbon. The second photo works so much better. The splash of red draws your eye away form the kids and is a problem.



This photo had people in the background looking for the perfect Christmas tree. There are also a few bright areas in the grass in front of the kids that are to distracting and had to be removed.




Another picture with Christmas tree hunters pulling the eye away from the kids. You can also see through the trees to the left of the kids into the parking lot. Another eye-sore that needed to be removed.




This image just had the parking lot showing through. It’s crazy how something so small can make such a big difference.


Then I decided to do something with the red sweater and blanket. It’s a pretty cool effect.


And last but not least, the entire reason we drove out to the Christmas tree farm in the first place. Our family photo.



Considering this was going to be printed and mailed out to friends and family I wanted it to be good. I keep hearing people talk about red Christmas trucks so I decided to add one. All in all I am really happy with the final photo.


How about your family? Do you take new photos every year?


I normally stick to wedding photography and engagement shoots but I am taking on a limited number of family shoots for the holidays.If you are interested in getting photos for your family, fill out the form below and I will email you more information.