Star Wars Cosplay for a Cause

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Every year I have the privilege of helping out an animal shelter in the Sacramento area with photography. Cosplayers come out in full costume and shoot photographs with animals that need adopting. The hope is to show these animals off in a fun way through social media and find them a home. The shoot today took place in Auburn, Ca’s Animal Services Center. I was with an entire troop of Star Wars themed cosplayers who donated their time for this endeavor.

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We had a pretty awesome mix of Star Wars characters on hand, from the dark side to the light. Everyone brought their A-game to this shoot and looked stunning in their Star Wars attire. Special thanks goes out to Talya (the Imperial officer between the two Rey’s) for organizing the entire thing. She has actually been the person who makes this all happen every year. Her commitment to these shoots has been most impressive.

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Our main photography area was this patio right outside the animal center. It was clean and clear with plenty of space to employ a longer focal length lens like my 85mm Sony G-Master. That particular lens is stunningly sharp and can produce spectacular images. It’s a focal length that I’ve been shooting more recently so I thought it’d be fun to give a go today. The large aperture of the lens made it so that the backgrounds had a beautiful blur to them. They aren’t totally gone since they are so close to the subjects, but even at a close distance there is some separation that I found pleasing.

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Taking photos of animals is quite challenging. Some of the animals were very cooperative and posed nicely for a photo. Others were much harder to calm down. I found myself having to shoot very fast with a high frame rate in order to get the best moment from the time we had with a particular animal. Thankfully, the Sony cameras that I use are more than up to the task of getting every frame I need with very sharp results.

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For the rabbits and cats we went indoors and used a white backdrop that Talya provided. For these shots I had to bring in an external flash to capture the images as the room lighting was too yellow. Often times shooting indoors will create photos with too much of a yellow tint. Thankfully, flashes blast out white light that gives you a much better color rendering.

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I did want to mention that I was overjoyed to see my friend Cassie (pictured above) at this shoot. She had moved away to the South Bay for a few years and I did not expect her to be in Auburn for this session. Cassie is an amazing person and great cosplayer. Her Rey is really on-point!

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I had a great day shooting at the Animal Services Center in Auborn. A huge thanks goes out to the volunteers who helped get all the animals out and ready for the shoot - you can see them pictured in blue above. It’s my hope that the photographs we took today helped some of these animals find a home!