I was at AFAmy over the weekend, spent an hour there or so. 🙂 My purpose was to give Cosplay photography a try.
In this article, I’ll try to give some pointers on how to get decent photographs during cosplay events!
Before we begin, let me start by saying this – I’m not a portrait photographer, though I can do pretty decent portraits. 😀 And this is my first time photographing cosplayers!!!
This article is aimed for absolute newbies, and people who have absolutely NO CONTACT with cosplayers. Meaning, you don’t get the opportunity to have a private session with them at the park or whichever location you fancy.
goldfries’ newbie tips to newbies
Let’s begin with my haul of the day. I took only 1 shot of each player, 2 if I requested a different pose. I had only an hour or 2, and I had to find decent looking cosplayers at locations that allow me room to take a photo.
I was using Canon EOS 60D and a 50mm f/1.4. We’ll talk about all this later. Only brightness adjustments were done on some of the photos. Sharpening was done on all.
1. Keep an eye out for subjects that look nice to photograph but avoid having repetition. During events, you’ll see some characters are more than others, eg Hatsune Miku. 🙂
2. See a cosplayer that strikes your fancy? Be friendly and just ask them – can I take a photo of you? They’re are likely to oblige.
3. When they do so, please respect their time as they’re also attendees of the event. As mentioned earlier, I only took 1 photo each. I didn’t even review whether it’s sharp or not. 😛 That’s not to say you can’t do that but always just keep them in mind. When done, say THANK YOU!!!
4. I avoided directing them on where they should stand and how they should pose. That’s not to say you can’t but I decided not to as I’m the one who requested to photograph them, I felt that I shouldn’t be picky. 🙂 It’s all up to you actually but for me, I let them pose so it brings out their character. I did try to pose a few but I think they don’t look that natural. Notice how they like to cuddle each other? I have no idea why, I got sooooooooo many CUDDLY pics that I had to ask the girls in cat-ears to not cuddle 😛
5. For those who feel shy to approach people to take their photos, you could keep an eye out on the occasional cosplayers that are already being photographed. Just jump right in!
6. The poses can get repetitive. eg V-sign, hug, reach hands out to you, pointing their staff / wand / flower / gun / whatever at you. If you have too many of those, perhaps consider getting them go for a different pose.
7. Equipment – Any camera body will do, a cheap old junk DSLR with a low-end 50mm lens would work just fine, eg the EOS 350D and EF 50mm f/1.8 II. Flash is not necessary, I brought my flash along but I didn’t like the output so I went with ISO + Aperture.
8. Camera settings – use high ISO (lighting is often low) and wide aperture. I used f/1.4 – f2.8 range. The reason for high ISO and wide aperture is for you to get decent shutter speed, while wide aperture also helps in separating the subject from the messy background, as you can see from the photos above.
Unfortunately this event was held in Putra World Trade Centre and there’s no natural lights around. If this was KLCC or some campus, you’re likely to have natural lights around and the output could actually be nicer, considering natural lights are often from the side rather than from the top, as the ones in a convention center.
9. Composition is entirely up to you, as for the orientation – Use PORTRAIT. Landscape orientation wouldn’t be enough to cover most part of their body, furthermore in landscape orientation you would be capturing the distractions at the side.
10. Your focus point should be set to the sides where it locks on to the face, that’s the most important part of the subject. 🙂 Unless you like boobs or something.