14-09-23 | Greetings my friends! Last week our series of Elfia cosplayers ended with a bang. And as you read this me and a buddy of mine are on our way to Comic Con Holland to shoot the next batch of Cosplay Girls for Peter Pan Comics. My previous journey to the Kingdom of Elfia has filled me with confidence, though shooting cosplayers was relatively new to me when me and Kitty Cosplay headed towards Elfia last summer.
It being a new experience for both of us finding our rhythm took a couple of shoots. The most difficult step is always the first one, so my strategy was getting it over with as quicky as humanly possible. As soon as we stepped out of the car I was keeping my eyes peeled for any prospective victim that could serve as our first spontaneous model. Luckily we stumbled onto one soon enough.
For those of you unfamiliar with Elfia, it is a vast outdoor event situated around a beautiful neogothic castle. Mere minutes after we had entered the castle grounds via the main gate, a young lady dressed as a sorceress caught my eye. Keen to get going I asked her whether she’d be open to posing for us and – praised be Cthulu – she was! But this being my first shoot I soon realized my timing was rotten. We were still minutes away from the actual castle and the silent march towards the main tower was rather awkward.
Daphne, however, couldn’t have been lovelier. You never forget your first. Her cosplay was simple but effective and she had real presence. Such a kind young woman, whose photoset (click here) turned out very well. I’m glad Daphne was so patient and kind, because the next couple of shoots didn’t go so smoothly. Either cosplayers were on their way to meet up with friends or me and Kitty took too much time shooting them, causing an odd kind of tension. We assessed the situation and agreed that speed was an essential part of the operation.
We soon found our rhythm when we approached a tall blonde woman dressed in blue called Lotte. As I shot her she came across as being rather shy, but the camera loved her (click here). As she went about her business me and Kitty locked eyes. How breathtakingly beautiful was Lotte?! There was something unreal about her, in the most positive sense of the word. Back home I found out that Lotte was at that time – I kid you not – one of the finalists of the 2023 quest to find Miss Netherlands! Leave it to us to accidentally run into an international supermodel!
By now me and Kitty had our strategy down pat. We would approach people at quite spots, so passers-by wouldn’t disturb us. If cosplayers were willing I would start shooting immediately and make sure the process would not take too much of their time. The instant I stepped back, Kitty would move in to hand them our card, scribble down their info and ask whether we have their permission to publish these photos online.
After three or four sessions we were a well oiled machine, as if we’d been doing this for decades. I’m quite proud of the fact that quite a few models contacted me afterwards to let me know how kind and easy going we were. This flattered me immensely, though it also disturbed me slightly. Shouldn’t asking for consent, treating models with respect and backing off if folks change their minds be the norm?
Well, in our experience 99% of the cosplayers and photographers at events like Elfia are kind hearted people who mean well. Some of them might be slightly awkward socially, but that comes with being a nerd. But among those attending lurk a couple of mouth breathers that can ruin your day. Its a pain in the neck that cosplayers have to deal with. And even I was not spared at Elfia last summer.
As I was shooting the lovely Sietske, a wonderful vision in green (click here), an anonymous male voice insisted that ‘I would use a different aperture setting’. I kept on shooting and without turning my head to look at him, I sternly proclaimed ‘this setting serves me fine’. I shot my pictures, Kitty scribbled down her notes and after we shook hands with Sietske and her friends I asked Kitty what that was all about?!
Kitty explained to me that my stern voice and refusal to engage made the sad little photographer scamper as quickly as he had popped up. I cannot tell you how little patience I have for people who turn everything into a pissing contest. Not just that, but how rude is it – how unspeakably rude is it – to question another photographers artistic choices while he is engaged in shooting his models?!
As we were shooting Jinx, our last model of the day, it slowly started to rain. And it didn’t stop for quite a while. Having shot twenty girls that day, Kitty and me were absolutely pooped. Jinx was a beautiful model to go out on (click here), so we decided to call it a day. I wouldn’t be as simple as that, of course. The rain had turned the parking lot into mud, which meant your Uncle Tim had to get out and push.
Within seconds, several strangers helped me push the car out of the muck. I had not asked for help, nor did they stick around for a thank you. They were there simply out of genuine kindness. Because that’s the kind of people that visit the Kingdom of Elfia. If you’re looking for a place to meet nice people, and I do mean REALLY nice people, go to a cosplay event. The girls may dress like trolls but they act like angels.