Taking photos of your cosplays without professionnal equipment ! How to install your home studio.
If you are a cosplayer, you probably like to share the result of your hardwork with other people. The easiest way to do it is to post photos of your costume over the internet. But getting nice pictures might be difficult if you don’t know any photographer or don’t own any professional camera.
I started photography (selfportraits) when I was 14, I was using my parents camera (a very small one). Now I have a reflex camera, a tripod, as well as nice lenses, but I don’t use a lot of equipment and worked without it for years, so I thought I could give you some tips to take your own pictures with minimum equipment.
» I don’t have a reflex camera, I can’t take good pictures »
First, now you can find good cameras that are not as expensive as a reflex camera. But nowadays, even your smartphone might do a better job than my old camera back in the day. If I don’t have my Canon 650d, I feel very confident taking pictures with my phone. It is a samsung s6, it is still quite expensive but you can find refurbished phone that are cheaper.
Yes, professional camera do take good pictures. But a good picture isn’t just about the quality of the photo. It is about lighting, angle, composition… You can edit a phone picture and make it look really good, better than some reflex pictures that have poor lighting and composition (believe me, I’ve seen many of those… expensive equipment doesn’t make someone a good photographer).
« How do I take pictures of myself ? »
The easiest way to do this is to ask someone to help you : your mum, your boyfriend, your cat (ok your cat probably doesn’t care :p). If this is not an option, you can buy a tripod. You can find some on amazon for less than 20£ ! There are also tripods for smartphones.
And if you can afford a tripod, get creative ! You can put your camera on a pile of books on a chair, make your phone stand on a shelf… Once I even attached my camera on a rope between my window and my wardrobe to get a specific angle !
What I would absolutely recommand if you are alone is to buy a remote control for your camera or your phone. I’m not sure they exist for smaller camera, but if you have a reflex it is a must have. Running back and forth to take a picture isn’t fun, especially in cosplay. For your phone, you can find bluetooth remotes and it’s very cheap (I haven’t tested them though)
« Where do I take my photos ? »
If you don’t own professional flashes or light, the best thing to do is to have natural light and to get it you need to be outside. Find a park, a forest … (this is why it is best to have a tripod).
If you want to take pictures inside, make sure that you have direct light, it is best to have the light coming in front of you and not on the side.
If you are inside, try to find a white wall. If you are tired of always having a white background, you can use a piece of fabric (I’m sure you have some laying around !). The tricky part is to hang up the fabric. I used to pin it into the wall, but if it is not possible you will need to attach it to the door etc. Last time, I used a drying rack !
You can get different fabrics so you can change your background color. I usually use black fabric if I want to do a composite picture (photoshop a different background) as it is easier to blend a picture in a black background in my opinion.
« I don’t have photoshop »
If you plan on taking loads of cosplay photos, I would heavily recommend that you get a photoshop subscription. It is not very expensive and it is very useful. But if it is not possible, you have other softwares like GIMP that are free.
You also have amazing phone apps like snapseed that allow you to edit your pictures really quickly – it is really convenient if you take your pictures with your phone. You won’t be able to do magical effect or crazy FX but you will get a picture with a nice light, very clean etc. There are other apps out there, I haven’t tested them but maybe some allow you to make some fun effects
« I don’t know how to take photos »
The best way to learn is to practice. Maybe you won’t be satisfied with the result at first, but you will learn from your mistakes and improve. Everybody has to start somewhere !
My advice is to look at other cosplayers pictures and analyze why you find them great : is it the composition ? the colors ? the light ?
Here are some cosplayers that also take beautiful pictures !
- Ginny Di : she’s the queen of composite pictures and she has very good ideas ! Just look at her Harry Potter pin ups pics *_*
- Starbit Cosplay also has a photography page : I love the atmosphere in her pictures
- My friend Phobos Cosplay takes beautiful photos! When I’m with her, I know I will have beautiful pics of my cosplays 🙂
- MattEleven is an amazing cosplayer (Come on, you’ve seen his Newt Scamander and his Doctor Who EVERYWHERE :D) but he is also an amazing photographer
Before starting to take your pictures, think about what you want to show to people : are there details on your costume that are worth capturing ? are you proud of the paint you did on the armor ? is your makeup really special ? This will guide you for your composition, your posing etc.
What’s great when you are taking your own pictures is that you know what result you want to achieve and you can adjust your photos along the way to get that result. And you can also help your cosplayers friends by taking their pictures !
And if you start photography after reading this article, please send me your pictures ! 🙂