Back for its ninth year in a row, Anime Festival Asia (AFA) Singapore 2016, held on 25, 26, 27 November 2016 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, offered a great place to gather for anime entertainment, J-pop music, cosplay camaraderie, and fantastic fun. Check out this report to read about the event, as well as see some of the best shots taken by the photography enthusiasts present.
Three days of fun-filled festivities
Seeing an ever increasing number of visitors, both local and regional, since its conception back in 2008, AFA Singapore 2016 again drew a large crowd of anime enthusiasts, J-pop music lovers, and fans of Japanese popular culture during the 3-day event.
At the venue, the main exhibition hall, dubbed "Akiba Town", featured numerous booths where many of the biggest names in the Japanese entertainment industry offered the latest line-up of content, as well as a taste of things to come.
Apart from the Akiba Mini Stage, situated next to the Canon Imaging Experience zone, where many Japanese artists and celebrity cosplayers strutted their stuff, the venue also featured the Main Stage in the Concert Hall, adjoining the main exhibition hall.
Much like previous years, Canon Singapore went all out at this year's festival and had arranged for half a dozen themed photo booths and accompanying photography service, where cosplayers and other visitors could have their best poses captured and printed for free, either with a SELPHY CP1200 compact photo printer or a PIXMA MG7770 All-in-One printer. Of course, you could have your picture taken together with Rilakkuma, who was also present at the event, as well.
At each of the six photo booths, arranged for by Canon Singapore, visitors could have their photo taken and printed for free.
The huggable and highly popular Rilakkuma was a favorite at AFA Singapore with many attendees wanting their picture taken together with the loveable bear.
This year Canon offered for the first time a service for anyone interested to borrow EOS cameras and/or some of their premium lenses and "Experience the Bokeh". Some of the lenses available for borrowing were the EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, and even the EF8-15mm f/4L USM Fisheye lens, excellent for capturing various compositions of the many cosplayers attending the event.
Canon Singapore offered a selection of premium lenses and cameras for attending photographers to try out, free of charge.
The event saw many photography enthusiasts trying out their skills by capturing the myriad of cosplayers who were present.
Additionally, two Canon Photo Party events were held during the I Love Anisong concerts, for participants eager to try their hand at capturing images of their favorite artist on stage using their own DSLR camera, or with the EOS 80D cameras which had been provided for by Canon. At this year's concerts, participants were allowed to take photos of popular Japanese artists Ami Wajima and May'n.
Check out the article below for more about the Canon Photo Party.
Come and Join the Canon Photo Party!
Ami Wajima performing her single "Eien Loop" (Perpetual Loop), the song during which Canon Photo Party pass holders were allowed to photograph their idol.
Ever wanted the opportunity to try your hand at concert photography? Register to participate in the next Canon Photo Party and you can even be eligible to try out an EOS 80D or EOS M10 camera!
Combining the artistry of cosplay and photography
AFA Singapore is one of the biggest events for the local cosplay community in Singapore to show off the extremely intricate costumes that they made, ranging from various video game characters to figures from everybody's favorite anime series.
Likewise, photography enthusiasts also came out in droves to capture cosplayers, great subjects for photography, and test their acquired skills, resulting in amazing works, combining the artistry of cosplay and photography.
“Maintaining eye contact is very important”
EOS 6D/ EF35mm f/1.4L USM/ FL: 35mm/ Manual exposure (f/1.6, 1/640 sec, EV+1.0)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
Photo by Choo Yong Meng, Character: Rem from Re: Zero
Choo Yong Meng was spotted shooting with his EOS 6D and EF35mm f/1.4L USM, which he stated "is an amazing prime lens, with fantastic bokeh effect".
He highlights that he primarily uses a 35mm focal length as he "prefers to get up close" to his subjects and "maintain eye contact, which is very important”. He said he does not need to direct his subjects into any particular pose, as "cosplayers have the best knowledge on the character themselves".
Choo Yong Meng enjoys engaging in portraiture, as people are his main interest.
“Bring out their character”
EOS 6D/ EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 75mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4.5, 1/60 sec, EV+1.0)/ ISO 2000/ WB: Auto
Photo by Carrie Ang, Character: Silica from Sword Art Online II
Carrie Ang had brought her EOS 6D with EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit lens, which she mentioned she finds "very useful, very versatile". At events like this one she says she shoots mostly around the 50mm range, to focus on portraiture.
When photographing her subjects she will go for a full body, an upper body, and if possible, a close-up shot, but mentioned some subjects might not be comfortable with a close-up. Shooting mostly at maximum aperture, she focuses on "capturing the eyes, the cosplayer's expression" and generally, "to bring out their character".
Carrie Ang likes to engage in street photography, her favorite genre, which she has been doing for the past thirteen years or so.
“Capture the best portrayal of the character”
EOS 600D/ EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM/ FL: 70mm (112mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/2.8, 1/160 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 400/ WB: 6,250K
Photo by Louis Lo, Character: Sakura Kinomoto from Card Captor Sakura
Louis Lo visited the festival from Malaysia, bringing his EOS 600D. He took the opportunity to try out the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, which Canon offered to loan, and as he emphasized, "the result is very nice, with great-looking background blur". He did mention, however, he “would love to try out the EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens" next time, as he found the minimum focal length a bit too long to use on this occasion with an APS-C body.
When shooting cosplay, he highlights he "always tries to capture the best portrayal of the character a cosplayer can make while showcasing their costume, makeup, props, etc."
Louis Lo has been shooting with his current camera for around 3 years now, and enjoys capturing a variety of subjects, including landscapes on his travels.
“Capture the expression in the cosplayer's eyes”
EOS-1Ds Mark III/ EF35mm f/1.4L USM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/1.4, 1/160 sec, EV+1.3)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto
Photo by Jia Ying, Character: Soldier: 76 from Overwatch
Jia Ying and her boyfriend Yokido were found shooting with an EOS 1Ds Mark III and an EF35mm f/1.4L USM lens. She highlighted that Yokido, who was carrying an older Canon film camera, has taught her everything about photography since they met.
The two of them enjoy portrait photography and when shooting portraiture she will "try to capture the expression in the cosplayer's eyes". Additionally, she mentioned that she intends "the tone of the photo to reflect the kind of character the cosplayer is portraying".
Jia Ying enjoys being a cosplayer as well as a photographer, whereas Yokido shoots products and models commercially.
“Play around with angles and lighting”
EOS 5D Mark II/ EF85mm f/1.2L II USM/ FL: 85mm/ Manual exposure (f/1.8, 1/125 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto
Photo by Renaldi Natanael, Characters: Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps from Zootopia
Renaldi Natanael has been shooting with his EOS 5D Mark II for more or less than 8 years now. For this event he chose to bring his EF85mm f/1.2L II USM, and shoot mostly at maximum aperture as to "blur out the background in order to isolate the subject from the crowd" and to "emphasize the cosplayer's costume, makeup, and facial expression".
During his cosplay photoshoots he will often "play around with angles and lighting to make visually attractive shots", but for events like AFA, will mostly go for "straight-up portrait shots of the character” instead.
Renaldi Natanael also engages in portrait photography professionally, and loves to capture photo-journalistic images whenever he travels.
“Bring out the best of the cosplayers”
EOS 7D/ EF50mm f/1.2L USM/ FL: 50mm/ Manual exposure (f/1.2, 1/250 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
Photo by Dennis C, Character: Murata Range-esque Cat Girl
Dennis C. was spotted shooting with his EOS 7D, an "older but very capable camera", as he put it. His lens choice for the day was an EF50mm f/1.2L USM lens, the bokeh of which enables him to capture "that dreamy look and feel like no other".
When going out to shoot cosplayers, he will compose his shot accordingly, as for some subjects an up-close composition is nicer, whereas at certain angles a full-body shot will be more impressive. Ultimately, he says he intends to “bring out the best of the cosplayers” in his photos.
Dennis C. believes photography is a constant learning process and works hard to improve his technique with every opportunity he gets.
Check out this video for more on the amazing cosplay, Jpop performances and other exciting events at AFA Singapore:
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