Cosplay Photoshoot Tips for Beginners
Hey, Carmello Cosplay here, I have been asked A LOT by people, How do you prepare for a cosplay photoshoot. I have worked with many photographers and have picked up an INSANE amount of cosplay photoshoot tips to pass on to people who may have a shoot in the future.
It’s not ALL about the actual DAY of the shoot itself. Preparing your body is also key.
SO LET’S START! (Note: These tips are not in order)
- A week or two BEFORE the shoot, I try NOT to have any dairy in my diet. Dairy can cause bloating and depending on what outfit you are wearing, you don’t want that.
- A week BEFORE the shoot, try not to drink water (or any liquid) near bed time. You WILL wake up with a puffier face.
- Eating high sodium level foods will also cause a puffier face and drier skin! MSG causes hair loss too…
- Preparing your skin the night before: Wash, exfoliate, cleanse, mask, serum then finally, moisturise. I highly recommend products that moisturize to everyone. You will have a brighter complexion in the morning. Try sleeping on your back as well, so that the products don’t rub off on your pillow. (Plus gravity gives you a bit of a facelift)
4.5. Preparing your skin ON THE DAY. Wash, cleanse, toner, sun-cream on your neck and face, moisturize and then start makeup.
- Doing make-up trials way before you shoot is another thing. You want to look as much as the character as humanly possible? There are a lot of YouTube makeup tutorials for cosplay. I tend to rely on YouTube more than a screenshot or fan art, as animated characters don’t really have realistic facial features.
- You should discuss the location, poses, and ideas with your photographer. Use Google images and SAVE ideas IN YOUR PHOTOS on your phone. This is a good idea because the location of your shoot could be in the middle of nowhere, which means NO internet.
- The DAY BEFORE. MAKE SURE you check that your entire cosplay is perfect? Give yourself A LOT of time to fix and give touch-ups if necessary. Make sure your props are secure. If you’re doing the photo shoot in a studio make sure to bring your glue gun with you. If you’re doing a photo shoot outdoors then bring super glue! Things WILL inevitably fall apart.
- So in terms of poses. (Long read for no.8!)
You need to know your character well! Gather screenshots from the series, fan art and even other cosplayers who have done your character, to give you a better range of ideas. Practice poses in the mirror with your FULL cosplay on. It sounds weird I know but it will help.
Facial expressions are SOOOO important! I’ve seen really cool photos from other people, with AMAZING poses but the facial expression remains the same throughout the whole portfolio…. It’s VERY noticeable and it’s boring. People tend to look at your face first as well.
Remember you’re character has emotions, they can get angry, sad, shy etc. All that can be practiced in the mirror.
Tools can also be used for poses, these are mainly used in the studio as sometimes you can’t bring excess baggage with you on outdoor photo shoots. You can do still shots, actual moving shots (Like jumping etc.) or FAKE action shots (Where you use tools to make it look like you’re moving but in reality, you’re actually standing still)
So let me break it down for you:
Here’s an example of a FAKE action shot: You can lean on chairs to create a ‘leaping affect’ But really you’re actually standing in one spot. I leaned on the stool using my knee, balance and leaned forward more to make it more natural looking, then all the photographer needed to do is edit the stool out. This style relies on editing
Then you have the actual ACTION shots. This is when you actually jump or leap and the photographer will catch you in mid-air. You will need to do this a few times to get it right. Just be aware…this is a cardio workout!
Another example of a FAKE action shot is my Chun Li photo! This is really easy but still gave that desired effect. So you can use something that’s on you to create an ‘action shot’ or just create movement. Ribbons, hair, your clothing, all these things can make your pose look more interesting. For Chun Li, I laid low and used my backhand to swish my skirt up. Along with the editing of the smoke around my feet, this pose made it look like I was hit and skidded backward but really, I was just crouching there. It’s all about timing!
I get that sometimes you can’t ‘swish’ yourself and you need help because your cosplay is too bulky and is hard to move in. Bringing a friend can help GREATLY and he/she can ‘swish’ for you but if a friend isn’t possible, mother nature can lend a hand but only if you’re patient and if the item is light enough to flow. My ‘Energy Ball of death’ Chun Li photo really relied on the wind to bring my ribbons, hair and skirt up. We waited a patient 15 minutes before getting this shot! SOO worth the wait though.
- Location for cosplay photoshoots for outdoors
For the cosplay Photoshoot tip. First of all, you need a location that MATCHES YOUR CHARACTER. Knowing the series and genre of your character is very important when it comes to location. You don’t want Juxtaposition here! It sounds easy but it’s more so getting permission to shoot in places. I would give about a week before the shoot to ASK AROUND for permission by emailing or calling the premises. You want a good reputation in case another cosplay needs the same location! Let’s not get into trouble!
Your game/anime series should give you plenty of ideas of what you need. Editing from your photographer is JUST as important but that’s not really for YOU to think about. Keep up the communication with each other and things will go smoothly.
- TAKE NOTE! Depending on your photographer, they may NOT know the series in which your cosplay is from! And if that’s the case then they won’t know how to edit! Make it easier for them! Show them examples and express your ideas! Tell them your characters abilities and skills. Every little helps!
AND THAT’S ALL FOLKS! (I Think…) It’s a long read but I hope this helps you!
Thanks to Peacock Photography for all my example photos and editing! P.S I highly recommend this photographer. Peter is my main man for ALL my cosplays! Check him out!
Carmello-Cosplay out! <3