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C3 AFA Singapore 2017: Bringing Favourite Characters to Life Through Photography

Cosplayers and anime fans once again gathered at this year’s C3 AFA SG 2017, and where there are cosplayers, there will always be cosplay photographers. Join us as we take a look at event highlights and interview some of the photographers about their motivations behind their hobby.

Canon photobooth pikachu

 

3 days of fun for anime lovers and cosplayers

C3 AFA was held over 3 days from 24th – 26th November 2017 at the Suntec City Convention Center, with this year marking its 10th anniversary since its inception back in 2008. In addition to the usual merchandise booths and anime stage performances, this year’s event also saw more Japanese food booths and famous personalities from the anime industry.

Crowd at C3AFA

The event hall was packed to the brim with anime fans in their quests to get their hands on their favourite anime merchandise.

In the evening, the I Love Anisong concerts were where anime fans could get their fix of anime music as well as meet their favourite singers up close and personal. Each night saw the biggest artists in the anime world singing their hearts out to the tune of popular anime opening/ending theme songs.

 

Creating great memories for everyone

Back to support this major event was none other than C3 AFA’s official imaging partner, Canon Singapore, which pulled no punches in helping to make this event a memorable one for all attendees.

One of the major highlights of the festival was Canon’s Super Akiba Stage, where majority of the performances and meet & greet sessions were held. In addition, there were daily performances by dancing Pikachus that performed co-ordinated and energetic dances to the delight of the audience.

Pikachu stage dance

Fans came down to dance along with not one, not two, but four Pikachus at the Super Akiba Stage.

 

The popular photography booths also made a return this year with backdrops from popular games and shows such as Super Mario and Kemono Friends. Fans could get their pictures taken at these booths, and then print them at Canon’s printing booth, which boasted an impressive line-up of printers such as the PIXMA TS9170 and the SELPHY CP1300. They could then bring their photos home in a beautiful photo frame as a souvenir, free of charge.

Canon photobooth

Visitors getting their photos taken at Canon’s Kemono Friends themed booth.

 

Canon PIXMA booth

After getting their photos taken, fans could get their photos printed for free, courtesy of Canon Singapore.

 

Next to the photo booths was a new GIF booth, which made its debut at this year’s AFA. It consisted of 8 Canon DSLR cameras lined up in a curve formation, allowing multiple photos of the visitors to be taken simultaneously from different angles, which were then converted into a moving GIF image. Visitors could either choose to get their photos printed, or have the GIF image sent to their smartphones. They also had chance to take photos with Pikachus at Canon’s Pokémon photography booth, where they made multiple guest appearances throughout the entire festival.

Photobooth Pikachu

Pokémon fans of all ages had a chance to take photos with two Pikachus.

 

Lending a hand to aspiring cosplay photographers

Another service provided by Canon was an equipment rental booth, which provided free camera and lens loans to those who wanted to try out photography. There was a wide array of the latest cameras and lenses to choose from, such as the popular EOS M10 mirrorless camera, and the EF50mm f/1.2L USM and EF28mm f/2.8 IS USM lenses.

Camera loans booth

Visitors taking a look at the array of lenses available for loan.

 

Bringing fictional characters into the real world

Of course, no anime convention would be complete without the countless fan cosplayers, who show up faithfully every year donning costumes from their favourite characters. And where there are cosplayers, you can be sure that photographers will be there as well to bring these fictional characters to life through their photography.

Photographers from all walks of life and varying skill levels gathered outside the event halls, where the majority of the cosplay photoshoots took place. We interviewed some of them to better understand what goes on in a cosplay photographer’s mind when they shoot.

 

“I try to capture the cosplayer as a person, rather than as a character”

Cosplayer denis interview

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF50mm f/1.8 STM/ FL: 50mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/2.2, 1/128 sec, EV+1.0)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto
Photo by Denis; Character: Anastasia from The iDOLM@STER

Originally a K-pop concert photographer, Denis started out cosplay photography when his K-pop concert friends invited him to join them at AFA last year. This being his second year at AFA, he was armed with two of Canon’s top-of-the-line DSLRs: the EOS 5D Mark IV and EOS 7D Mark II, the former for its full-frame image quality, and the latter for its lightning-fast continuous shooting speed. When asked about how he makes his shots unique, he said that to create more meaningful photos, he usually tries to capture the cosplayer’s personality rather than the character they are cosplaying.

Denis profile

Denis with his two top-of-the-line DSLR cameras. Originally a K-pop concert photographer, he now enjoys cosplay photography as well.

 

“Be more friendly and outgoing towards cosplayers, and they will treat you the same way”

Cosplayer Koko interview

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF50mm f/1.2L USM/ FL: 50mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/1.4, 1/160 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 500/ WB: Custom
Photo by Koko; Character: Red Saber (Mordred) from Fate/ Apocrypha

Koko started photography 5 years ago when he first learned about it in a university module, and has never put down his camera ever since. Sporting a EOS 5D Mark IV and an EF50mm f/1.2L USM lens, he says he chose this combination due to the EOS 5D Mark IV’s amazing full-frame quality as well as the impressively creamy bokeh that he can get with the 50mm lens. Having participated in AFA for multiple years in a row, Koko’s advice to aspiring cosplay photographers is to “be brave”, and to not be afraid to approach the cosplayers to ask for a pose.

Koko profile

Koko, together with his girlfriend, has been attending the past few AFAs to hone his cosplay photography techniques.

 

“Cosplay photography allows me to step out of my comfort zone”

Cosplayer Rachel interview

EOS 6D Mark II/ EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM/ FL: 30mm/ Manual exposure (f/3.2, 1/200 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto
Photo by Rachel Ng; Character: Link from The Legend of Zelda

Rachel had always wanted to try out portrait photography, and finally got her chance at this year’s C3 AFA. She recently upgraded to the EOS 6D Mark II and EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM as she thought that this combination seemed like a good choice for a starter full-frame camera. Rachel particularly likes the Vari-angle LCD monitor which, when coupled with Dual Pixel CMOS AF, allows her to shoot from any angle she pleases with lightning-quick autofocus. Starting out cosplay photography has forced her out of her comfort zone, as the self-proclaimed shy lady mentions that she needs to pluck up courage to approach other cosplayers that she is not acquainted with.

Rachel profile

Rachel with her shiny new EOS 6D Mark II. The Vari-angle LCD monitor helps her shoot at angles not normally possible for her.

 

“The best way to improve is to keep shooting”

Cosplayer Francis interview

EOS 600D/ EF-S24mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 24mm (38mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/3.5, 1/100 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto
Photo by Francis Troy Cuenca; Character: Lunafreya Nox Fleuret from Final Fantasy 15

Francis hails from the Philippines, and flew all the way to Singapore just to attend C3 AFA SG 2017. Ever since starting photography 3 years ago, he has been attending as many anime festivals and conventions as he can in order to practice his photography skills. He uses an EF-S24mm f/2.8 STM as he prefers to include more of the background in the shot. Francis chose this lens as he thought that it was a good entry lens when he first started photography, and intends to upgrade to a more professional wide-angle lens in future. With his mantra being “Just keep shooting”, he firmly believes that learning from your mistakes helps to improve your photography in the long run.

Francis profile

Francis with his EOS 600D. He travels to all sorts of anime festivals to polish his cosplay photography skills.

 

“We love to photograph all the interesting characters”

Cosplayer Mario

EOS 60D/ EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Program AE (f/5.6, 1/125 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto
Photo by Janice Koh; Character: Mario from Super Mario

As a ‘Cool Japan’ event that seeks to promote Japanese culture, C3 AFA strived to appeal to both fans and non-fans of anime and manga, two of whom were Ms. Janice Koh and her husband Mr. See. They picked up photography about 5 years ago and have been attending all the AFA events over the past years with their EOS 550D and EOS 60D cameras. Although they don’t watch anime, they enjoy photographing all the interesting characters that they encounter at the event.

Janice profile

Ms. Janice Koh with her husband, Mr. See. The couple has been attending AFA for the past few years as they like photographing interesting subjects.

 

For more articles on cosplay photography, check out the following articles:
Cosplayers Bond Through Photography & Communication at C3 AFA Thailand 2017
Capturing Cosplayers at AFA Singapore 2016
C3AFA Jakarta 2017: A Pop Culture Festival Where Cosplayers & Photographers Unite
Photographers Get Into Action at AFA Thailand 2016
Cosplay Photography Techniques (1): Lighting Gear

 


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