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How to photograph cosplayers...

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How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Zeb. 28/07/09, 03:30 am

So I've read most of the threads on this Photography forum, and have some good ideas; I've got a good idea about how to do general portraiture but somehow I think photographing cosplayers is in many ways more than just portraiture.

Does anyone have tips, tricks, techniques etc. they'd like to share? Websites that talk about it would be even better.
Thanks. :)
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By MissEevee. 28/07/09, 03:34 am

oh oh, i have a tip: some cameras have a "portrait" setting that's supposed to soften skin tone etc.
don't use it!
it distorts colours slightly - really annoying for cosplay. (:

other than that, don't take too many surprise pictues of us. >.<
if we have time to pose we'll look much more like our character tan if you jump up out of nowhere and yell "SMILE!".
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Zeb. 28/07/09, 03:41 am

Hehehe don't worry, while I am still new to photography and my camera, when I do the cosplayer photos I'll be in full manual mode.
Heck, hopefully by the time I feel confident enough to take up cosplayer time, I'll also have myself a nice tripod and release cable... really REALLY want those.

Scott Kelby is my friend; just wish there was a version of him for cosplayers. XD

Also no way am I going to be "surprising" you guys, sure fire way to getting a BAD shot imho. It's always polite to ask first. :)
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By JVCA. 28/07/09, 04:06 am

I think one thing that we lack in terms of cosplay photographers here is people that can direct the cosplayer to a good shot - in the states you have EuroBeatKing and whatnot who request poses for the cosplayer, and they often come out with the most amazing photos. As a cosplayer myself, I only usually think of one or two poses, and I always think afterwards "damn, I wish that I had posed differently in some of these", because they all look the same - so if you ever have an idea for a pose, obviously ask if the cosplayer minds posing like you request, but I know I at least would appreciate it!

Another idea is - business cards for your website or wherever you upload your photos. Someone at wellygeddon did this - lilapmedia I think? It made it much easier to find photos. Very Happy
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By sakuramiyabi. 28/07/09, 04:08 am

agreed with Jess
although it is good that the poses are left up to the cosplayers its always nice to have some help especially when the cosplayer has been awake for the last 48 hours and doesn't really want to think XD
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Zeb. 28/07/09, 04:30 am

Thanks Jess, will also check out EuroBeatKing's work :)

Its interesting, I notice that a lot of photographers are almost "scared" of asking cosplayers to do MORE simply because there is this mentality that "cosplayers know best." That they'd be offended if asked to pose in different ways.

I agree that cosplayers should know the character they're cosplaying, and know the poses that character makes; but I am also hoping that the cosplayer WON'T be too precious and give new things (within reason) a go.

As for the business cards, moo.com is our fwend Very Happy
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By MissEevee. 28/07/09, 04:33 am

cosplayers should definitely know the character they're cosplaying, and have a few poses ready.
maybe what would be better is some deirection from the photographer as to how we can make poses more photogenic.
since we don't often get to see through the lens, we're not used to making stuff look good on camera.
so telling us to move a little to make the photo look better - especially coming from a good photographer - would be much appreciated. (:
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By neimhaille. 28/07/09, 04:48 am

JVCA wrote:
I think one thing that we lack in terms of cosplay photographers here is people that can direct the cosplayer to a good shot

Quoted for truth.

The fact is the photographer is the one who can see how the pose looks, whether it is awkward or the angle needs to be adjusted. If I know the photographer I'll ask them to angle the camera or ask them if my costume is crooked or if the light is probably too stark etc.
Just turning the toes out or in can make or break some photos- it's not always about finding a good pose but the photographer capturing it.

There is a great photo of me as Catwoman from Wellington this year but it took several shots to find the drama of it. In then end I asked if the photographer could lie on the ground to take it. And voila! It was what I saw in my head. The other photos were ok- contrast was good, lighting was good but the pose just didn't ping. The proportions were not skewed enough in the right direction.

There is a reason I don't have many good photos of my costumes- I don't trust posing in front of most people and their cameras. I'd rather set up my tripod and at least capture my costume and how it looks than run the risk of a photo taken at the wrong moment. At conventions that is hard to do in the halls so don't be afraid to ask cosplayers if they want to meet up for staged photos in a good spot. I'm not sure where will be good at the Auckland Venue but the Wellington and Christchurch centres have some nice dramatic architecture either outside or in the foyers.

It might be somehting to chat to Bill about. Especially if it can help with congesstion in the halls ;) When we were looking for a room in Wellington this year there was one spot which would have been an amazing backdrop- lots of ambient light no stark shadows- but the noise would have been too much for judging skits. I might ask Bill about it though for photos next year.
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Rowan. 28/07/09, 08:06 am

I agree with Jess as well!

I'm starting to get better at posing, but it's not something I feel that confident with. I also usually have only one pose, which doesn't make for interesting pictures. Obviously this is something I personally need to work on, but it would be so great for the photographer to give me some suggestions as to what they want to see.

Um just one thing that ties into the above, when you say
Quote :
cosplayers should know the character they're cosplaying, and know the poses that character makes
, just remember that not every cosplayer is hugely confident and a great poser! We come from all different backgrounds and personality types, so please don't expect that to be true. I'm not a preformer/actor and am not confident in those areas, but I still love to creat costumes and dress up to have fun Very Happy But because of that I'd welcome input from a photographer, becasue I still want to look good XD

Particularly in a convention context, the photo is for the photographer, not the cosplayer, and I'd want to be able to give the photographer what they want.

And as neimhaille said, only the photographer really knows how good/awkward the pose looks, and a bad/unflattering pose won't make anyone happy with the result.

That said, the photographer should, as with everything, ask politely Very Happy

Haha and as kageroughi said, often we are running on little sleep so we need a bit of a prod to be able to show our costumes off to our best ability. I also know that I end up working on my cosplays until the last minute so I don't get to practice poses in the costume.

EDIT: sorry about my post being all over the place! I hope it's coherent enough lol

EDIT 2: and wow I sound like I'm putting the responsibility for the photo turning out well all on the photographer, but I don't mean too! It's a team effort Razz
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Static. 28/07/09, 08:56 am

Posing is a lot of what makes an image "good" or "bad", but honestly...a LOT of people (myself included) tend to have a 'photo face' that they put on when a camera is pointed at them, and it just looks weird. Not bad, just stiff and awkward. I got some great shots at DO with my mega-lens of people across the room (SURPRISE!!!) just because they were totally relaxed and didn't know they were being photographed.

Of course, this is a sneaky sneaky way of doing it, and some people object to their photo being taken in this way. However - some people ONLY photograph well when they relax, and this is about the only way to do it! I will also say that if I get horrible photos of people like this, I get rid of them. Antagonising cosplayers is hazardous to your health. Trufax.

For photographers, a good tip to improve shots is just to zoom in close enough to cut out all the miscellaneous crap in the background - it makes the shot look like you put a lot of thought into it, when really you haven't, hehehe...it's my favourite XP

An editing tip that also helps a lot is to make sure your white balance is right - having a weird colour cast to your image (orange in tungsten, green in fluroscent, blue in daylight etc) always makes things look funny; if your camera has a manual WB setting, always use it! After two solid hours of editing bung lighting last night I can say that THIS IS VERY GOOD TO DO AT THE TIME! I thought my eyes were going to fall out...

Also also on more thing on lighting - if your camera has a manual setting for ISO (light sensitivity), most cons aren't really too bright indoors...it pays to shoot on an ISO between 400 and about 600. Higher than that you start getting a lot more noise in the image, but lower than that you tend to have to use flash...and that *always* makes your models look like possums in the headlights.

LONG POST IS LONG! Sorry guys Razz

Edit: ALSO - I can't speak for all photographers, but personally I love it when my model gives me suggestions for angles! Makes my life easier, and as long as it's not perilous or silly or spoken in an unpleasant tone of voice, I am more than happy to oblige :3 Though I tend to get my model to stay still while I do the walk-around-with-camera-to-face-and-not-look-where-I'm-going thing Razz Or tell a dumb joke - a spontaneous smile is much nicer than a practised posey one.


Last edited by Static on 28/07/09, 09:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Guest. 28/07/09, 09:02 am

I will personally bow down to anyone who produces a good photo of me in a costume. I have the most appaling "photoface" and I've worked and WORKED to try to make it better but I just cycle through these scowling, grouchy, bug-eyed or protruding-jaw faces.
From my entire life history I have something like 6 photographs of me that I really genuinely rationally like.

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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By neimhaille. 28/07/09, 09:06 am

Oh yes, the zoom! Rule of thumb: keep at least 5 feet away and use zoom to get close if you are doing a head and shoulders photo. Stand even further than that for a full body and zoom in. When you get close to your subject foreshortening kicks in and you get bobble heads and itty bitty feets ;)
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Static. 28/07/09, 09:07 am

@Mel: Okay, well, I wasn't gonna name names, but you're pretty much who I was thinking of Razz I have a beautiful one of you from the ball though - I think I said something dumb, or Na smacked my ass or something? You giggled, and it was gorgeous!

Rationally like? Hehe. Did you have your pi face on?
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Guest. 28/07/09, 09:12 am

I mean it's not that I have an emotional reaction to these photos and declare they are awful. It's that I look at them, quite seriously and calmly and HATE them. Because I have the most appaling photoface sad

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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Static. 28/07/09, 09:14 am

You know, I think I'll accept your challenge. Prepare thyself for stalking.
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By jpwise. 28/07/09, 02:04 pm

There was another thread at some point about things for the person posing aswell. From memory one of the points that caught my attention was for the person being photographed to not look directly at the camera, it avoids red-eye, and also you don't get as blinded by the camera.

But I do need to practice getting people to pose more and providing feedback on costume glitches aswell. I tend to mostly lean towards casual shots while walking around, which does get some great shots, plus the lol shots, but i need to work on the posing ones.

I also need to familiarise myself with photoshop for editing. For the most part i just upload as is, which i will need to fix up. sad Statics gonna teach me more on that one. :)

neimhaille: i do still have the competition photos to sort, sorry it's taking me so long, i want to edit them for colour correction and tidy them up before uploading the flickr versions, but need to get the hang of it first, promise to get it done soon.
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Zeb. 31/07/09, 11:39 am

Thanks everyone for the comments... I have much to learn it seems. :)
Michaela I'll be badgering you elsewhere with more questions!
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Static. 31/07/09, 05:45 pm

Red eye is one of the easier flaws in a photo to fix though - just select the red area, and de-saturate and adjust levels/darken it. Can be a hassle in photos that are out of focus, but otherwise it's not so bad :)
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Zeb. 01/08/09, 12:56 am

Static a lot of dSLRs come with red eye correction, what do you think of their effectiveness? Is it worthwhile using them? Or better to ignore it and just after editing?
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By JVCA. 01/08/09, 03:31 am

Just on the red eye topic, most photo editing programs have a red eye tool that you can use to just one-click fix the problem, which I find particularly convenient.
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By sakuramiyabi. 01/08/09, 03:35 am

i constantly use the red eye tool myself as well (well i am but a noob 8D) but yes convinient and it produces the same effect although you cant adjust the darkness/lightness ... that'll be like an extra step i guess 83
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Zeb. 01/08/09, 04:41 am

Hrrmmm thanks, to use or not use. Guess experimentation is in order... now I just need to find someone with light coloured eyes.
NONE of the photos I've taken since getting my new cam have the red eye problem. sigh
Which is a good thing I know, but I wanna experiment!
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Static. 01/08/09, 05:38 am

Lol, I have no idea - I don't have one on my beast!camera, so I don't know. I am wary of auto correction functions in general though...too long working in a lab and seeing how badly they can mess up your images. I am a chronic editor though, so I tend to do things the hard way Razz

Also - if you have nobody with pale eyes Zeb, try someone with contacts. Take them like a passport photo with flash, you should get some killer redeye! XP
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Zeb. 01/08/09, 06:39 am

Its interesting cause some photographers I know are big fans of trying to "get as much done on cam as possible" while others are huge fans of after editing. I am going to experiment with both and see what I like the best (i.e. complete control over being a lazy bum.) XD

*whimpers* don't know anyone with contacts either! Argh!
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Re: How to photograph cosplayers...
Post By Static. 01/08/09, 06:47 am

LOL! Oh noes! Yeah, doing it in-camera definitely helps, I'm just usually to frazzled to think of itat the time Very Happy I tend to shoot on RAW though, so I can adjust a lot after the fact. Focusing is my biggest problem - with most SLRS you can adjust the viewfinder to your eyes to compensate for any issues there, and mine is set to the wrong one...plus after you're been squinting through a camera for a while everything's blurry anyway XD

What camera are you using?
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