WonderCon 2018 – Should I Keep Going to Out of State Conventions?

This may be a new annual post for MediaSmith – or – at the very least – myself.

WonderCon is my first “Comicon” convention out of the state of Arizona.

I was ecstatic to head out to California the evening of March 23rd.

The drive to California and back was exhausting. I was just leaving work to go drive to California with my friend, Victoria Rincon. The drive back was also exhausting because we spent the whole day filming/photographing cosplayers. I had to be back the next day for a business meeting, so we hit the road after we were done. 

I'd just like to reiterate that the purpose of these blog posts are to educate people on how I take photos. So, without further ado, please feel free to check out my thoughts on the equipment I had brought along with me.

The Equipment

The gear of choice for me at Anaheim was:

  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon Rebel T3i
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L-lens
  • Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8

I also had my bokeh master 50mm f/1.8 in the car but decided against switching out lenses.

I knew that it would be a hassle to haul around the 5D Mark III with the 70-200mm swinging from my neck and I had miscellaneous items (extra batteries, SD cards, business cards, etc.) stuffed into my L-lens carrying case anyways.

That’s why it was a no-go with the bokeh master 50mm f/1.8. A part of me regrets not taking it from the car, but all the photos turned out great anyways.

If you have been following the street photography blog at all, you know that I have a personal vendetta against the Canon 6D.

I did not want to bring the Canon 6D with me because I felt underwhelmed by the pictures that I was taking with it.

Furthermore, it was an important convention for myself and my affiliate group, Bros N Cons.

So, I wanted to bring my 5D Mark III since it always produces images that I love to gawk over in post-production.

With that said, I will say that I had an event on Sunday (the day after we came back from California), that I brought the 6D to. I only had the 6D and my expectations is that I wasn’t going to like any of the pictures that I would take that day.

Let’s just say that I am a lot happier with the 6D and to expect a blog post about my change of heart.

Day In Review - I'm in love with my Canon 5D Mark III

 Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/800s | ISO 100 | 70-200@190mm

Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/800s | ISO 100 | 70-200@190mm

Composition: Rule-of-thirds never fails. As always, I try to get something in the foreground as well. It adds depth to your 

Photoshop: Increased exposure, contrast, highlights, and whites. Decrease blacks. Increase vibrance. 

Critiques: None! That 5D Mark III is absolutely CRISPY.

 Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/1000s | ISO 100 | 70-200@70mm

Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/1000s | ISO 100 | 70-200@70mm

Composition: Look at that beautiful bokeh. As mentioned above, have something in the foreground to give your background depth.

Photoshop: Increased exposure, contrast, and highlights. Decrease blacks. Increase vibrance. 

Critiques: I wish I had moved a bit more to the left so that I could get my subject in a rule-of-thirds quadrant. But, the bokeh and smoothness distracts from that, so I'm not too fussed.

 Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/1000s | ISO 100 | 70-200@70mm

Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/1000s | ISO 100 | 70-200@70mm

Composition: Does anything more need to be said about having something in the foreground to give your background depth?!

Photoshop: Increased exposure and contrast. Increase vibrance. 

Critiques: Maybe I should just eliminate this section right now because I am not being overly critical of my photos like usual. I love the way this one came out.

 Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/400s | ISO 400 | 70-200@70mm

Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/400s | ISO 400 | 70-200@70mm

Composition: Rule of thirds! Just a reminder that the 70-200 or anything above 70 as a focal length is excellent to use for people. 

Photoshop: Increased contrast. Decrease blacks. Increase vibrance.

Critiques: That guy in the background! Can't stop folks from moving around in the background, but he completely throws off the immersion. Also, I shot this at ISO 400. What is wrong with me??? Could have just increased the exposure in post. Oh well. It still came out crispy!

 Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/2000s | ISO 100 | 70-200@70mm

Canon 5D Mark III | f/2.8 | 1/2000s | ISO 100 | 70-200@70mm

Composition: This one is tricky because a lot of movie magic had to happen here. The 70-200 is a magnificent lens. But the bad part about the 70-200 is that you're so far away from your subjects, that you have people walking in front of you. So, it takes time to want to compose a shot like this in a huge crowd. Luckily, the composition is quite self-explanatory. Much like an artist's canvas, it is important to fill in your frame and not unbalance your picture. I leave just enough head room and room on the sides of either girl to get it framed perfectly.

Photoshop: Increased the vibrance. 

Critiques: None. My love for the 5D Mark III knows no bounds. I've had it for a year and it has made me love every single picture I take now. (Tangent) - I bought the 6D so I could keep "mileage" off the 5D, but I ache every time I have to switch to the 6D. So, it has me contemplating - should I upgrade to the Mark IV, use the 6D for very casual events, and then use the Mark III for semi-pro reasons? 

Wrapping Up Wondercon 2018

WonderCon was a brilliant introduction into an out-of-state convention for myself and Bros N Cons.

I would love to see how other conventions from other parts of the country differentiate themselves from each other.

At their core, conventions will always be the same. It will always be about vendor halls, cosplayers, people geeking out together, and big names coming out to talk to fans.

But, off the top of my head, there were already a few key differences between WonderCon and Phoenix Comic Fest (formerly Phoenix Comicon).

There was so much more space at WonderCon than at Phoenix Comic Fest. It was easy to roam around anywhere including the vendor hall. There was a moment where everyone was crowding around a group of cosplayers trying to get their photos while we were in the vendor hall. That is almost impossible to happen in the downstairs vendor hall at Phoenix Comic Fest and it just shows how spacious WonderCon is.

The temperature at WonderCon was something only a fool could hope for in the midst of summer’s heat in Phoenix, AZ. There’s nothing the convention center can do about hot weather, but it doesn’t change the fact that the nice weather in California allows people to comfortably go out of the convention center. At Phoenix Comicon, you’re essentially stuck inside one of the convention spaces for the duration of the day.

It was so much easier getting access to the convention in comparison to Phoenix Fan Fest. Due to the situation that happened at Phoenix Comicon in the summer of 2017, the organizers of Phoenix Fan Fest had to readjust how they let people into the convention hall. At WonderCon, you tapped a security thing and then walked in. At Phoenix Fan Fest, the idea was similar, but I was more likely to be waved in by security because the technology didn’t work than the technology working.

Again, I’m not trying to bring down the organizers of this convention. I think it will be a while until a huge convention like Ace will be able to rival Phoenix Comic Fest. 

However, one of my main gripes now is that they are severely limiting media passes. They specifically exclude photography businesses (such as my own) from receiving a media pass.

As someone who has been attending this event for “free” for the past few years, this is incredibly disappointing to find out. It is up to us – the wizards of social media – to really get PCF’s name out there. It was people like us that helped PCF grow to what it is now.

With that said, now I question whether or not I will go to this year’s Comic Fest. Only time will tell.

I would like for you to check us out on social media!

Check out Bros N Cons here:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brosncons/
  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brosncons/

And you can check out MediaSmith here:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mediasmithers/

I have decided to change up my Instagram so that it’s less business-y. I don’t want to try to sell people on weddings or events on Instagram. I’m sure there’s a market out there for it, but I got into photography because I want to share all my pictures with people.

So, I am turning my own personal Instagram into the official Instagram for MediaSmith.

I think MediaSmith is much bigger than posting images we take at events and then putting it up on Instagram. I feel like we’d be pushing “selling” too much. And, for me, not ever outlet needs to be a place where we sell things.

I want people to enjoy us as photographers and consume our content.

If you liked our casual content enough to come out and book us for an actual event, then that’s great.

If not, then the whole point is for you to enjoy who we are on another platform.

We get ample work through advertisement and word-of-mouth.

With that said, I hope you take the time to check out my personal Instagram (@okaysian).

If you’re looking to get some business done such as event, corporate, or wedding photography, please make sure to contact us by emailing mediasmithers@gmail.com or you can just click here and we’ll get into contact that way.

Thanks for reading about Wondercon. I hope to see you all next year!