perjantai 14. huhtikuuta 2017

Learning to pose - really necessary?

If you ask me, the answer is yes.

Many cosplayers want their costumes to be photoshooted at some point. They don't only want to look like the character, they want to act and be like the character they're cosplaying.
At this point I'd like to say that this is just my opinion from the subjective point of view, not the absolute truth. I'm not a professional model either, just someone who has posed for the camera quite many times.

Believe me or not, at some point I hated to be photographed. When I saw a camera I practically ran away, I really didn't want to be photographed. Actually I was afraid of it on some level - probably because I thought that if I'm in the picture, it can't turn out to be good.
Basic teenage angst, I could say.
Then I got into cosplaying, saw others take cool pictures and was like "Hey, if they can do it, I can do it too, right? It can't be that hard!"

Boy, I was wrong.

Compare these two pictures.


Pic © Gure.
This was basically my first cosplay photoshoot ever. That's my own character, Walter McRavenhill (version 1, I've cosplayed the improved version of him too). As you can see, back then I had no idea from which angles the photos would look good. I didn't want to show my face to the camera - back then I truly hated my face.
(And when I looked at the camera I had basically no idea what kind of facial expressions I should make.)
There's not much point in this pose. I'm not looking at the camera - I'm looking at the ground - yet mostly my body is turned towards the camera. I'm also kneeling on the ground but there's no reason why I'm actually doing so. There's nothing else in the ground, no reason to kneel down. Ainakaan se ei ole slaavikyykky.
This just doesn't work well in my opinion. It just looks like I have no idea what I'm doing.


Pic © Shiro Samurai.

Yes, I still look a bit shy - this time it was intended though, Japan is a quiet and polite character who seems to be quite shy.
But can you see the difference?

This time I'm actually looking towards the camera/photographer. My facial expression is a lot more open, and my body isn't that stiff - really, in 2013 it looked like I had been made of stone! The angle is much better, it brings out "the good side" of my face.

When I learnt how to control my facial expressions, posing for the camera became a lot more easier. That doesn't mean that learning the controlling would've been an easy task to do. I don't have any big secrets behind the learning - just the basic " 'glue' your tongue to your palate to avoid the double chin" etc.
But boy, learning them was - for some reason - pretty difficult for me.

Let's take a look at my trademark cosplay - Ayame Sohma.

The first time I cosplayed him in 2013. Back then I had quite recently gotten into cosplaying and hadn't had many photoshoots - actually just two, one of them being more like "let's take proof pictures that I actually had a cosplay on", and viral contest pictures of my Sasuke Uchiha cosplay but at this point that doesn't count.
Anyway, the first picture is from 2013, the latter one is from 2016.

Picture © Asuka.

Picture © Shiro Samurai.

I'm smiling in both pictures but just compare them - the pictures are taken from different angles. In 2013 I didn't know about "the bad side" and "the good side" of my face, I just wanted to get pictures taken!
In 2016 I was, obviously, paying more attention to this.

In the upper picture I look... Pretty awkward, I have to say. I think that I was trying to cover my chin with my hand and didn't pay attention on my facial expression in general. My smile also looks a bit derp, in my opinion it's too wide. Back then I didn't even smile that often so I guess that I didn't even know how to smile... x__x

In the latter picture my facial expression is more controlled and my smile doesn't try to reach China - which means that it was easier to control my face. My eyes are also a bit more open so it looks like I actually have eyes, not just dots in where they're supposed to be.
I'm leaning on my hands and the branch, looking a lot more relaxed.

Do you see the difference? In my opinion it's quite noticeable - I grew over my fear for the camera and at some point actually begun to enjoy photoshoots!
I wouldn't have been able to learn as effectively as I did if my photographers didn't give me advice how to pose, where I should look (straight to the camera/to the sky/to the ground) etc. I owe them a big thank you. <3
I know that I still have a lot to learn - by far I've made quite controlled poses and not that much action poses. I think that it might be my next step to take.

So, my tips: practice in front of the mirror, ask for advice if you need some and listen to your photographer. The ones behind the camera see what you're actually doing and they can tell if it looks good or not.

A couple of full body pictures of my Itachi Uchiha cosplay (I'm still practicing his poses though). The upper one was taken in 2014, the latter one in 2015.

© Judzle.

© Shiro Samurai (yes, he's one of my trusted photographers, if you haven't noticed it by far :'D)
Just compare them. I won't write a comparison about these pictures - if you want to write a comment about what differences you see in these two pictures, feel free to do so!

So, yes - learning to pose is quite necessary, if you ask me.

Maybe this post explained, why that's my opinion.

Happy Easter everyone! ^__^


(Oh, btw - I know that these pictures are also technically very different. I will write more about photographing etc. in a separate post in the future. Even though I'm not a professional photographer either, I know some little things too.)

maanantai 10. huhtikuuta 2017

"We are number one!" - Matsucon 2017 summary

I know that I'm super late with this summary and I'm sorry about that - as you've read I've been quite busy for a while now... ^^"

But yeah, Matsucon was held at Pohjankartano, Oulu at the beginning of March. I remember someone mentioning it already during Skecon (I think that it was Sacchan) but back then I thought something along the lines "Nah, I won't be able to go there anyway so there's no reason to get all hyped about it".
Then I saw that the con was looking for cosplay contestants and panelists, lecture hosts etc etc etc - and for some reason decided to apply for two of the positions: cosplay contestant and a lecture host. I had no idea back then would I have even enough money to travel to the North. Luckily I had - and that meant yes for Matsucon~!

My con squad consisted of Shiro Samurai, Sacchan and Sacchan's little brother Joni. A night before we were supposed to leave to Oulu we faced a problem... A problem called bus tickets. You see, there's a bus company called Onnibus in Finland and if you order tickets early enough, they're cheap as fuck.
Guess if we ordered them early enough?

Some of us even considered not going to the con (even though the other three were working there as volunteers) but in the end we found a few cheaper bus tickets and decided to go for them, except Joni who told us that he'd take a train. We had to split our group up in two though; Shiro Samurai and Sacchan took the earlier bus and I decided to take the next one. Problem solved!

The Friday morning came and that meant something very nice: dragging our luggage through the city to get to the bus station. And the amount of our luggage was pretty much as big as Mount Everest... My back didn't thank me later.
It took us a while but we managed to slip walk to the bus station without breaking anything, it was damn icy and some of us almost fell a few times.

La selfie. I know, I look damn tired... :D 

So. Much. Luggage. Photo edit © Shiro Samurai who also decided to censor his face. :'D 

Shiro Samurai and Sacchan caught their bus quite soon and I was left to wait for the next one. I played MH3U while waiting for my bus and almost got killed by the damn Lagiacrux. Eventually the bus arrived and I was able to begin my journey towards Oulu!
2/3 of our trio was waiting for me at the bus station of Oulu and when I arrived we begun to drag our stuff towards the place in which we were supposed to sleep etc. I had no idea how long the walk would be but I can tell you that with that amount of luggage every meter killed my back, slowly but surely.
(And I was supposed to do the military service at some point, oops.)

When Joni arrived (a bit later in the evening) we just hanged out, I was raging at my computer because it didn't want to co-operate with me... And listened to the different versions of "We Are Number One". :'DD


When I woke up I already knew that getting up would be a huge problem. Literally - my left leg felt like it would rip itself apart from my body any minute! Very nice, especially when we consider the fact that I was supposed to jump and run on the stage later that day... :I Luckily the pains subsided a bit later, at least the major part of them. 
Sacchan left to Pohjankartano a bit earlier than we did; her working shift started earlier than Shiro Samurai's and I didn't have to be present before 11 a.m. Pretty good thing, it took me a while to put on my cosplay - which meant Teutonic Knights!Prussia from Hetalia: Axis Powers. I like how the costume actually turned out to be but gosh, I almost lost my mind with the cloak. Well, problems are meant to be solved.

When I had gotten into my costume and Shiro Samurai was over the make-up crisis I feel you, make-up is sometimes a son of a bitch we and Joni begun our short journey to Pohjankartano. It took us some time to find the building itself though... Or, more specifically, how to get into the building. Finally we found the main entrance and I went to fetch my lecture host badge and my contestant badge.

The entrance hall.

The café and some con crowd!
The dealers' hall from above.

Quite soon it was time to go to take the viral contest photos and after that it was time to go to practice all the poses and see the stage for the first time! At the backstage I also met new people; it was so nice to get new friends! <3

One of the viral photos. © Sami Räbinä.

I had plenty of time before the contest itself and I decided to go to sing some karaoke (lost my voice in the middle of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend", damn that chorus)... And, I have to say: if there are clear rules about singing (how many songs one can sing at time, one long or two short songs) why must one break those rules? x__x I mean, in my opinion it's fine if there aren't any others who want to sing at the time but the room was practically full of people who wanted to sing...
After that I decided to play some Monster Hunter & play with cards with Joni - and at this point I noticed that my dear friend Joona was also sitting in the café! He seemed to be pretty surprised about seeing me there... Well, I'm from Southern Finland so I can't really blame him :DD

On Saturday I spent most of my free time just hanging out with my old and new friends~

Oh, and I also went to see a panel called "Yaoin normit", "Norms of yaoi". Even though there were funny moments too, the panel itself was focused on the norms of yaoi - in other words sex, violence and ignoring the emotions overall - and on the moral questions about them. The panel was really worth seeing!
I have some proof that I actually was there - Shiro Samurai happened to photograph that panel and I made quite clear photobomb... :'D

Hiding behind my wig lol.

After the panel I still had some free time left but I have no memory what I did during that time... I was very nervous because of the competition. Quite soon it was time to go to the backstage again - and then I went to face my destiny.
Oh, one person asked me about the soundtrack I used. The song was "Teutonic Order Anthem".

Yes, I jumped to the stage. Finally a costume in which I can actually move! <3 © Maaria Tuisku.

Photo © Reijo Valta.
I was so happy for the winners of the competition (and the Hall Cosplay competition too) - they really deserved their placements! <3
After the competition I went to ask the feedback from the judges. I learnt a lot - for example my poses were too static (I totally admit this, I could've done much better) but practically jumping to the stage in the beginning seemed to be a good idea since they liked it and said that it's a good base for a better performance. Thanks, now I know what I'll start to practice! ^__^

When I had gotten the feedback I walked out of the corridor - and ran into Shiro Samurai and Sacchan. I had been looking for them but seems like finding them was easier than expected :'D Shiro Samurai also asked me if I wanted some photos of my Prussia cosplay, and of course I was up to it! I can tell you, it was quite cold outside and in less than five minutes we were freezing. Reminds me about a certain Itachi Uchiha photoshoot tbh. xD
But here are the pictures~!

Character: Prussia (Teutonic Knights version)
Series: Hetalia: Axis Powers
Cosplayer: yours truly
Photos & photo edit: Shiro Samurai

(I didn't have time to take my labret off x__x)

That cape was everything but practical, I can tell you... I didn't even count those times when I got stuck somewhere because of it! D:<

During Saturday we also met Karri - damn it, I hadn't seen him after Desucon Frostbite 2015! ;__; It was so nice to see him again and hang out with him <3
...even though we spent time outside since Karri didn't have a ticket for Matsucon.

We left the con quite early - I still had stuff to do for my Fruits Basket lecture which I held on Sunday.
By the way, you should've heard that amount of swearing when Shiro Samurai and I tried to take more photos of my costume later in the evening... You see, his trusted camera was low on battery and he had to use my Canon xD The situation got on our nerves but it was hilarious at the same time (at least in my opinion) :'D We didn't get any good pics taken though, it was way too dark and my camera didn't co-operate at all.
And when we got back to the place in which we slept etc...

"Guess if the battery of my camera is full now."


The rest of the evening we just derped around before going to sleep.
And I fell asleep on the carpet... Slept on it for an hour or so before I woke up like "What the hell am I doing?" :D


Oh, Sunday... Everybody else decided to dress up in their casual clothes but since I had a lecture to host I had decided to dress up as Ayame Sohma. It's not like I wouldn't enjoy cosplaying him but I felt very laggy and putting on a cosplay felt awful... 
After taking a shower I felt like I was actually alive and not a brainless zombie - pretty good time to actually wake up since I had to put on my cosplay quite quickly. You see, Sacchan and Shiro Samurai had working shifts in the morning too so... Yeah. Thank goodness I'm so used to cosplaying Ayame that it doesn't take me an eternity to put on the said cosplay. 

A funny thing happened when we were walking to Pohjankartano. You see, the road was slippery and guess if I slipped and started to fall backwards? Yes. In the middle of falling my body was like "NO YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FALL" and somehow I managed to make a ninja jump forwards - and didn't even fall xD
...pretty good thing since I had my camera and 3DS with me... No, I actually didn't even worry about the fact that my skull could've cracked etc., priorities much?

On Sunday I mostly hanged out with my old and new friends and took pictures of the con area etc. I also wanted some proof photos that I actually had a cosplay on, and here they are~! Both photos are taken by Sami Räbinä.

Probably one of my favourite shots of this cosplay by far. <3 

At some point Joni and I went to sing karaoke again - yes, my voice was still gone (I've had this damn cold for the whole winter & the beginning of the spring now) but we had a good time! ^__^ Apulanta ftw. <3

Gotta love that cat drawing. <3 
I also visited the artists' alley but didn't buy anything...
...even though I was interested in buying this artist's art. I just didn't have money (I'm quite broke).

In the afternoon it was finally time for my lecture! Guess if I was nervous? Yes. I always am before a lecture... At least this time I didn't have a panic attack or anything.
I talked about Fruits Basket, its characters and how the curse of Zodiac could have affected their mental health. Even though the anime was all sunshine and happiness, the manga has very many darker shades in it...
Here are a couple of pictures, taken by Shiro Samurai. Thank you very much! <3

"Do I really have to do this?"... I know, my facial expressions are pure gold sometimes. xD

I guess that there were something like 20 people listening to my lecture! Thank you everyone, especially for being so interactive! <3

Quite soon after my lecture it was time to fetch some bread, especially rieska fetch our stuff from the green room and leave Pohjankartano - in other words, Matsucon 2017 was over! ;__; Guess if I wanted to cry a bit?
This convention was one of the best I've attended in two years, for real.
If Matsucon will be held in the future too, I'll be glad to attend it~!

Some photospam~!

The awesome Kuroshitsuji group! <3 

This Gandalf guy was sitting behind Kummacon's desk. Check out Fandomelokuva's website too, they have awesome stuff in there! 
I would have wanted to buy the Dark Souls game from this guy (I MEAN ONLY 20 EUROS??) but guess if I had money...

...and of course there are bonus pictures too... :'D

I'm officially Hetalia trash... :'D © Shiro Samurai.
THIS IS WHAT I MEANT. My camera really fucked the evening photoshoot up. 
Damn pizza boxes... xD © Virva Vuopala.

I guess that it's all for now folks, see you next time - which is very soon~!


torstai 30. maaliskuuta 2017

Circle lens review: VISKON Quartz Crystal Gray


Have you ever had the case in which you know that you need certain lenses, but you only need them once or twice? I'm having that case right now - and that's why I decided to try these gray monthly lenses, VISKON Quartz Crystal Gray.
Fun fact; I almost didn't buy these at all since my eyes are mostly gray (with hints of blue and green which means that I have light-colored eyes). Then I made an OC - I will talk more about him in a separate post since I'll cosplay him in Tylycon - and before I had noticed I had decided that his eyes are quite big... And noticeably gray.

I ordered these lenses from HoneyColor.

Let's roll!

This time I don't have a picture of the lenses in their vials but I have a good reason for that; they weren't actually delivered in vials and taking a good photo of those... Things, in which they were delivered, was impossible. But here is the product package (picture taken on HoneyColor's site, I brutally murdered the package when I received it):

Base curve: 8.6 mm
Diameter: 14,5 mm
Water content: 42 %
Life span: 1 month at maximum

Inserting these was quite easy but for some reason they felt a bit thicker than most of the lenses I've reviewed lately. These also kept curling around my finger... Not so nice. However, when I actually inserted these, there were no problems at all. They didn't feel scratchy or anything - well, there was a slight blur but nothing too annoying. And I had a bit bad eye day so it might have been because of that (my eyes have been tired and dry lately). 
After taking the lenses out of their package I let them soak in a new solution over the night since the original solution (in the package) irritates my eyes to no end, makes them water etc. I don't know if it does that to everyone's eyes but I definitely don't recommend testing it. 

One lens in to show you the enlargement.
These make my eyes look a bit bigger but not too much which is good - in my case these lenses are for a western character. 

At first I didn't feel anything but, probably because of the condition of my eyes, after 2-3 hours these begun to feel a bit dry. They didn't feel too scratchy or blur my vision too much but you know that irritating feeling when you're tired and can't see that well anymore? That's exactly what happened to me when I wore these lenses. Also my eyes were a bit more light sensitive than usually - I don't know why. I mentioned earlier that these felt a bit thicker than the other lenses I've worn lately but I'm not sure if these two things really have a connection. After 3,5 hours I took these off but I know that I could've worn these at least two more hours. 

The design is very natural. Instead of a black color the lens designer had decided to use gray color to the limbal ring - despite the ring being quite thick it looks pretty natural to me! The color blends nicely with my own eye color but in some lights one could see the iris quite clearly... Anyway, I could easily wear these on a normal day too - I don't think that they look too weird. The best thing is that these could be quite good  cosplay lenses too - I could wear these for western characters and for example Levi Ackerman from Shingeki no Kyojin no, I will not cosplay him again in the near future.

The minus thing is that these lenses aren't very pigmented and my own eye color shines through in some lights. The gray appears pretty much in one shade which give these a small "Paint effect". Not too badly though; the lens color blends with my own eye color quite well anyway. The black dots in the middle of the lens are probably there for the blending to look more natural and happen easier.

Lens photos, anyone~?
Pics © me. These were taken on a cloudy day in March. And yes, cloudy - I had the luck on my side for once and the sun decided to come from behind the clouds for five minutes so I was able to take the outdoor pictures too!

Indoors, yellowish light.

Indoors, with a flash.

Indoors, natural light (gazing through the window).

Indoors, under the fluorescent lamp.

Indoors, bathroom light.

Outdoors, facing the sun.

Outdoors, back against the sun. Sorry for the blurry picture, my hands were shaky af and because I had stared into the sun just a bit before I was practically half blind and didn't see what I was doing.

And a distance pic!

  • The color is 7/10. A natural gray, basically, but I think that there could've been a couple of different shades of gray so these would've looked a bit more lively.
  • The design is 7/10. Very basic design, nothing bad to say about it. I could wear these on a normal day too since these lenses are not too flashy. 
  • The opacity... 5/10. My own eye color shines through in some lights, then again I might be the only one to notice it since these blend quite well with my own eye color. These really look gray though. Except when I face the sun, I have no idea since when my eyes have looked bright green in any lights. x__x
  • The comfort was 5,5/10. Quite average. These felt a bit thick in my eyes and begun to dry out quite soon but these didn't cause a new episode of "The itchy and scratchy show". Do you get the reference? :D
  • The naturalness is 9/10. These look very natural in my eyes - these make my eyes look just a big bigger, otherwise my eyes look pretty same than without lenses.
  • The enlargement is 6/10. My eyes don't look super big but if one looks closely they'll notice that my eyes look a bit bigger. 

Aaaand there it is! ^__^
Got any questions? Ask in the comment box, contact me on social media or send me an email!

- Firith