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Photographing a Comic Con Event: From Sherlock to S.H.I.E.L.D’s Agent Carter

By Hanssie on March 27th 2015

Name a place where you can find Alice in Wonderland, Batman, a Ghostbuster, Queen Amidala, Mike Wazowski and Bart Simpson all in one place? Comic Con, of course. Comic Con is a comic and entertainment convention that originated in San Diego a while back, became one of the largest conventions in North America and now there are fan events popping up all over the world.

For a person who loves to people watch, Comic Con is the event to be at. Your senses are assaulted as you are thrust into the midst of a giant Halloween-like party,surrounded by coplayers in intricate costumes who are fully immersed in their chosen characters.

For photographer Antti Karppinen, the Cardiff Film & Comic Con event was an opportunity for him to give back a little and show his appreciation for the effort and detail each of these cosplayers put into designing their costumes. Antti also saw it as an opportunity to get a few images for his own projects. We shared Antti’s love for making imaginary movie posters in this Captain Jack Sparrow movie article and for this, his second Cardiff Comic Con event, he decided to bring more equipment than the previous year so he could produce some quality images for these characters.



Antti shares, “At my first Comic Con event last year in Cardiff, I had a backpack and a flash attached over my head. I got some pretty good shots, but the light only worked well
with really tight closeups of the characters. So, this time, I wanted to push these images even further. This year, I loaded my backpack with following gear:

Though everything fit perfectly in my bag,  it was rather heavy.



Antti found the perfect place to set up his gear, an area where he knew almost all of the cosplayers would eventually end up – the Cosplayer’s Lounge. During the two day event, Antti took over 2000 images of over 200 different characters. The lighting and the retouching were all designed to give the images a “superhero poster” effect, a simple well lit portrait that played into the cosplayer’s alter ego. Usually, events of this type render numerous cell phone quality images. Antti was happy to be able to provide high quality keepsakes for the attendees who put so much time and thought into their costumes.

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Antti also will be using these images to create composites for his own personal projects. Here is the first one from the series that he sent over:


Antti will be sharing more of his composites in some future How You Shot It posts, but if you’d like to see more of his work, check out these articles and his website here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Brandon Dewey

    Amazing Images!

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  2. J. Dennis Thomas

    Nice lighting, but the Clarity slider is a little overused in my opinion.

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    • Kurk Rouse

      Maybe for a regular portrait it would be, but these are all fantasy characters, I think the effect works well for this. Art is subjective after all.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      It works for some of them. When used on all of them it looks gimmicky. It’s like a preset was clicked and it was done.

      The use could be less heavy-handed in many cases to make for a more flattering portrait especially for some of the women.

      It looks like HDR.

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  3. Peter Nord

    Love the guy with the umbrella.

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  4. Saily1982 Saily1982

    uptil I looked at the draft saying $9489 , I didnt believe that my sister actually erning money part time on there computar. . there moms best frend has been doing this for under 16 months and just now cleard the dept on there apartment and bought a new Volkswagen Golf GTI . blog here……………….


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  5. Rieshawn Williams

    Good images!!!

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  6. robert raymer

    I was curious…Im assuming permission from the event to set up his gear? I tried this with a local cosplay conference and a renaissance festival (also great costumes), and it seems there was always a ton of red tape (not to mention fees) for any photography that could be deemed “commercial” in nature.

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    • antti kappinen

      Had a press pass and organization knew about me doing these images. And was basicly my own project to give back to the cosplayers and make them seem in different light than they are used to.

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    • antti kappinen

      So I think the key is to be open and just ask and tell what you are trying to achieve with the pictures. That was my approach with these events .. of course there are different event and different rules.

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    • robert raymer

      Thanks for the info. Last one that came though reserved press passes for credentialed press, which I am not. Next one that comes through Ill try and get in touch with them earlier and be detailed about my goals.

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  7. Ed Rhodes


    **Sherlock and Agent Carter not included. :)

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  8. Tyler Friesen

    awesome costumes!

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