But, in the title, I promise you dear readers a tale, and a tale I shall tell! Step back with me, dear readers, to the week J-Jo Cosplay decided to pay me a visit. She and I both wanted to get a few photos of my Belle costume with the cape but I, as per usual with me, procrastinated washing the bodice, blouse, skirt, and tights, so we couldn't do it on the weekend when it would have been optimal. I also had not quite finished the cape. I decreed, however, that on Monday we would rush out as soon as I got off work from my first day at my new job and get photos! (I was quite determined.)
Upon my return, I rushed out of the car and raced up to my room where a slightly worried J-Jo awaited me. It was about 5:30 p.m., so we weren't going to have much daylight. I changed lightning fast. .......... All right, I'll admit that's a lie; there's no way to change lightning fast into a bodice you have to lace up every time you put it on. But my fingers flew and I left anything that wasn't essential. Because I hadn't repaired the zipper on the skirt yet, J-Jo had to help me pin it closed so the darn thing didn't fall off me mid-shoot. And we didn't have many safety pins, so that was a tall order. It more or less stayed together....though it kind of tried to slide off..... J-Jo reminded me that we had such limited time and that we probably wouldn't get many photos or have long. I said that if nothing was ventured, nothing was gained, and that if nothing else we would have a good time running around and laughing at me trying to walk in heels over rough terrain. We abandoned the original plan to drive to our farm for the photos because it was just quicker to walk out behind the house, where we have a field of switchgrass (warm season grass, grows to approximately 6 feet tall) and a little stretch of woods. I trekked past chickens, cows, and my horse while decked out in my full cosplay, cape swishing and all, trying to avoid chicken poop and cow pies as we rushed.
When we reached the field, the sky was still light, but the sun was beginning to disappear beyond the trees. J-Jo steered me out into the field and suggested a sort of "Lost Princess" theme for the photos, which I tried to match. Let me pause a moment to say that J-Jo is absolutely fantastic, especially with putting up with me and my eccentricities and often my idiocy or ignorance. She is a very stop and go photographer, by which I mean she'll tell you to do something or let you do your own thing and then suddenly tell you to freeze because she wants a picture of whatever it is that you're doing. This creates, in some cases, very natural, gorgeous pictures, and it certainly did here, despite the fading light.
First, we tried a few shots with my hood up. As you can see in these pictures, though, my face was seriously shadowed. HS Media did what she could in the editing process for these shots, but they still turned out dark and shadowed. She discarded that and told me to take the hood off, then told me to freeze (when she demands, you do it, because trust me there's an epic reason). She had me pause with my hood half-off and glance towards the camera. My expression isn't the best here, but just look at the framing and angle of that shot! All of these turned out far better than we expected, I think.
After we got all the shots we wanted there, we headed for the woods. As I giggled my way across rough terrain, my cloak got snagged on a brier. I grumbled, turned, and freed it. I was a little worried it might have torn or at least snagged badly. Then, with a gleam in her eye, J-Jo told me to do that again. So I turned my back and walked away, and she snapped pictures as I went. Just look at the pretty swishy cape, aaaaaaahhhhhh! I'm still in love with it, I swear. Drapery fabric capes are just SO lovely (though I'm learning some of their downfalls too, whoopsie). Oh, and the cape did not tear, snag, or anything. It's surprisingly durable....except for the seams, but that's a story for another day since it happened a bit more recently. At any rate, after J-Jo snapped several photos, she sent me into the woods. Right off the bat she spotted a tree she wanted me swinging myself around and posing with. I stared at the sea of sticks on the ground between the tree and I and sighed. Rough terrain never bothers a cosplayer, riiiiiiiight? I picked my way across the sticks, certain at any moment I would fall (and there were some close calls I tell you), until I reached and subsequently clung to a rather large hardwood tree. I should be better at tree identification, I know, but I cannot for the life of me remember what kind of tree that was (my money's totally on white oak though). I then played a very odd game of peekaboo with a photographer and a tree as my hiding spot.
We took pictures in a couple more locations, but the light was nearly gone, and they didn't turn out well enough to salvage. We wandered back across the field, two cosplayers laughing about the chaos we'd just engaged in (she took pictures of me looking at my shoes for heaven's sake), and happily went inside to get changed on my part and go out to dinner on both our parts. It was fun, turned out some very nice photos (though I still hate my expressions in most), and overall was a good learning experience for me.
Tip so you can learn from my mistakes: Don't have a photoshoot extremely close to nightfall. The sun WILL set, and it WILL lessen the quality of your photos. Give yourself some room to improvise and take crazy photos in crazy locations without being in a rush.
Also, links! I mentioned J-Jo Cosplay, so here she is - check her out! The above photos were edited by HS Media, and you should check her out too, because she's incredible. She's even better when she's both taking and editing the photos. She's also a talented cosplayer! Truly a remarkable person, she is.
For now, though, that's it dear readers! I hope you enjoy the above photos - I had so much fun getting them - and I'll see you next week! Good night, my dears!