Being a cosplay photographer isn’t easy, and when you are in the biggest masquerade in North America, it can be a bit daunting. The Labyrinth of Jareth filled nearly every inch of Los Angeles’ Millennium Biltmore Hotel with the sound of music, performers, and the most elaborate costumes you have ever seen. You could have stood by the sidelines all night, watching each marvel of material design walk by, and truly declared that you had a good time. But I was on a mission that night with a camera by my side: I wanted to find the most amazing costumes to share with you.
From the most elaborate ball gowns to the most sinister monsters, everyone there was to see and be seen by the thousands of people moving from room to room in search of the next great event. At one point, I fell into the mermaid room with nearly naked creatures lounging around on stairs. Down a level, I saw papers fly into the heavens as one of the royal hosts yelled out in anguish as a new thread of the story suddenly took a turn. And from a safe distance, I watched as a band of goblins tried out to become knights, the crowd urging them on every step of the way. Hopefully, someone wearing the white and red will look a little green next year.
I learned a lot about taking pictures at an event from my time at the Labyrinth as well. Be patient. Be kind. Be understanding. Look for the right place at the right time—even a good costume can be ruined by a bad background. Take a breath before you hit the button, and another as you ask for one more shot. Taking pictures gives you a chance to be social, an excuse to ask questions about their costumes, and tell them that you admire their work. To all of you out there trying to find the right angle, I salute you.
Make sure that you check out our interview with the founder of the festival as well as the man who creates the games for the ball. For everyone else you couldn’t make it to the ball this year, here are even more pictures from the event.
Image Credit: Rob Manuel with permission