Storytelling With Cosplay Photography

Fate Grand Order Cosplay
Fate Grand Order Cosplay
Fate Grand Order Cosplay Cosplay by @wildsevenblue @lightningninja08 @sydneydestella

Taking pictures like any hobby or profession requires talent. There’s a certain art and creativity that goes into developing your own personal style. Everything from who you are going to shoot to where you are going to shoot is extremely important. Each cosplayer is unique and brings a certain set of skills to the table. As a cosplay photographer, it’s your job to make an amazing story with this skill set. Whether you want to emphasize colors or poses, it all should be aimed at developing a story that everyone can understand. This is because images are universal and humans are capable of understanding others without speaking a single word.  

Dragons Maid Cosplay
Cosplay By Theolivecatcos and Wild_mewtwo

In order to assist with your cosplay photography journey, I believe a photographer should aim to tell a story with their pictures. They should plan the entire shoot long before its due date, be original, capture emotion and engage in a wide variety of other behaviors that help tell your cosplay story. With today’s post I want to focus on how to emphasize your cosplay photos and generate a story that nearly everyone can understand. 

Plan, Plan and Plan 

The Evil Dead Cosplay
Cosplay by @the_resident_workhorse

Being prepared and planning a session is one of the most basic steps of any shoot. You have to not only decide which camera and lenses you will bring to the session, but also the location and what poses the cosplayer should do. Trying to decide upon all of these factors the day of can be extremely taxing or daunting. If you know you are shooting a character such as All Mightor Tanjiro Kamadothen you have to plan the shoot accordingly. You might want to do an all close-ups shoot. This would involve lenses such as a 50mm or 85mm prime lens. You also need to decide on the location. Will you do it at the convention or a location away from the convention? All of these factors must be considered before shooting that day. 

Be Original 

The Evil Dead Cosplay
The Evil Dead Cosplay by @the_resident_workhorse

Being original not only helps you develop your own cosplay story, but it also helps you grow and become recognizable in the cosplay community. I wrote an entire post dedicated to developing your own style which can be found HEREMaybe you will be known for your unique style of editing or your crazy angles. All of these elements come together to make your own cosplay story and also eventually help you develop better photos. Another aspect to consider with regards to originality is using unique items for shoots. Maybe you want to snap a few abstract pictures with a crystal ball lens or a prism. These, of course, would not be your primary images but are extremely original and will help you become known as a photographer that thinks outside the box.  

Shoot In areas conducive to the cosplay 

Dungeons And Dragons Cosplay
Dungeons and Dragons Cosplay by @shaucatcosplay

I really wish shooting outside of a convention was easier to do but I know how difficult aligning times schedules and locations can be during convention weeks. But still, shooting in an area that amplifies the cosplayer’s costume is very important. As mentioned above with All Might, urban or large cities will be very photogenic for this character as he is commonly seen in these areas throughout the series.  A character such as Tanjiro, on the other hand, would look much better in a forest setting. Once again because this is where the character is commonly portrayed. I personally prefer to try and shoot in these areas as much as possible as its great practice and definitely helps you develop the story of the shoot.  It also cuts down on the necessity of changing the background later in photoshop. 

Shoot The Area 

Heroine From Amnesia Cosplay by Chibi-Juice Photo By Zweit

Not a necessity but shooting the areas you want to revisit can come in handy when you can’t decide on which area to go to next. As shoots proceed, its normal to develop new ideas and to want to implement these ideas into the session. It’s also easy to forget about which areas you originally planned to use for a shoot. To help prevent this lapse in memory, snapping a few pictures of all the locations you plan to take the cosplayer can come in handy. It’s ok if you do not use all of the areas but having some backups just in case your favorite area is taken or the cosplayer arrives in a totally different costume than originally planned is always great. This way your story can proceed as planned and panicking and scrambling for a location will not ensue.  

Burst Shot Mode 

Falcon and Black Widow Cosplay
Falcon and Black Widow Cosplay By @therealmikalmosley

This is a simple method to make sure you do not miss a moment but can lead to photography overload. You will have so many photos at the end of a shoot you may be a bit overwhelmed. But this is a double-edged sword as you will also have a wide array of poses to choose from meaning you’re sure to have some great images to present to the client. A great idea for developing your cosplay story is to ask the cosplayer to do one continues motion as you snap pictures as they move. This will create some unique angles and photos once again allowing you to selectively choose the best. If you have acrobatic characters such as Ty Lee or Black panther, see if they can do backflips or cartwheels as these pictures are always extremely energetic and look great in post. 

Capture Emotion 

Raphtalia  Cosplay
Raphtalia Cosplay by @battyneko

Last but not least in the developing your story series we have capturing emotion. Sometimes tons of editing along with amazing locations are all dwarfed by a cosplayers emotions. Being able to portray overwhelming joy or profound sadness is all it takes to create a great photo. Usually, this is portrayed with a portrait lens such as the 85mm lens. By taking an up-close and personal picture you eliminate many of the distracting elements commonly seen in pictures forcing the viewer to focus on the cosplayer’s expression. This can instantly tell your cosplay story without any captions or explanations necessary.   

Golden Kamuy sugimotocosplay Cosplay
Golden Kamuy sugimotocosplay Cosplay Cosplay by @cospartyer

These are just a few methods you can use to help others understand your cosplay story. Pictures are able to tell so much when a clear goal is decided upon and actions are taken to ensure that idea is expressed. I’m always trying to improve my photography and will definitely be working on improving my photos so the goal is clearly expressed and the story screams from the image. Thanks so much for checking out my post. For more awesome cosplay news click HereThat’s going to do it for today, stay tuned for more awesome cosplay posts and as always, stay BOUNDLESS!!! 

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