I became interested in anime when I saw Sailor Moon and Pokemon on Cartoon Network, but didn't discover cosplaying until my junior year in college. None of my friends cosplayed, so there was a lot of trial-and-error with wigs, props and costumes. I had also never taken a class in sewing before. I started off with buying costumes off ebay, but now I'm able to sew my own costumes.
Cosplay has also spurred my interest in photography. I've been working with point-and-shoots, but I got an SLR camera, Canon EOS 60D, as a graduation gift in Dec 2011, and have been using it ever since. I also use Canon's speedlite, 430EX II, and I also use a reflector and white shoot-through umbrellas in my lighting setups.
I made the layout in Photoshop CS6 and coded it in Notepad++. The swirl was drawn in Macromedia Flash 8.0.