ColossalCon 8 Live Blog – Cosplay Photography

First off, some of the cool cosplays I’ve seen – Rorschardt, Shy Guy, Prinny, and the turtle from Love Hina.

This talk was given by Elemental who does both cosplay and photography.


One of the first things is the rule of thirds. Where the lines cross is where the points of interest are. You can focus on the face to get the distance correct and then recompose the picture so the face is at the top of the image.

In the middle of the panel there was a Bleach photoshoot which Jon and his girlfriend Emily was in.

When I got back she was showing off some pictures that she took, which were really well taken. Some of the photos are taken from extreme angle such as kneeling or climbing on something. You can also take a picture from the ground. Some pictures can have lines which will draw in the viewer such as using rails and walls.

One important piece of advice that she gave is to practice a lot. If you only go to five cons a year and only take pictures at cons that means you are only getting practice about five times a year. Sometimes it is useful to just go out with friends and practice. The speaker said that she gets a lot of opportunities to take pictures of people since she is from Toronto which has a really big cosplay scene.

Wide angle vs telephoto (Stand back, zoom in).

To take a better flattering shot you should stand back and zoom in. If you are close that means the face might be 6 inches away from the camera while the ears are about 9 inches away. At this scale the ears will seem much larger than if it was taken from a farther distance. Sometimes the wide angle shot is better, while other times the distortion is not good. The wide angle shot might be good to accentuate some of the things such as a longer arm. If you walk back further and zoom in you can sometimes eliminate the background. Hotels are wonderful locations to get a picture of a subject alone if you just walk 15 feet away.

Posing People

If you will be doing a photoshoot as opposed to just snapping a quick picture, the first thing to remember is to not touch the person. You can give verbal instructions which are just as useful. For guys, make sure to explain properly when using the rule of thirds. Focusing on the face and then moving the camera down can be misconstrued as taking a picture of something slightly lower. Sometimes people who hold bags might lean a certain way in which case you should ask them to put the bag down first. If people stand in a very static pose then it would be good to ask them to maybe shift around or move their hands into a better position. Having the hands straight down sometimes results in an unflattering picture, but if you can actually see the hips and arms there is more of a contrast and the picture will come out better. Even putting the arms on the hips or crossing their arms will be dramatically differently. Getting someone to pose by taking one foot back (so they are at an angle) will make their midriffs thinner while tilting their shoulders is useful for the aesthetic curve seen a lot in Greek sculpture. Action shots are also good, but there are sometimes pitfalls associated with having a weapon. A long staff should not be pointed directly at the camera, but if ther shoulders are dropped or raised a bit it can result in a much better picture. The facial expression is also sometimes important since it should look at least somewhat menacing. Another tip is for long swords to be slung across the back, but make sure they are not grasping the blade of the sword with one of their hands. For facial expression you can have them look towards the camera or towards your shoulders. You can have them look off to the side, but make sure the eye is still visible. Having the subject not look at the camera will make it look less like they are just posing.

Don’t take a picture of someone making out. It looks better if you take the picture of it before or after, but the actual action will never really work.

One last piece of advice is respect the subjects and don’t just batch upload all the photos. The photographer should go through all the images first and sort out any bad images.

Overall this was a really interesting panel especially since I want to start getting into photography. Making the picture interesting is one of the key things about taking better pictures. Taking a straight picture of someone just standing there will often look old and boring so change it up with better image composition, a variety of angles, and working with the subject for a better pose.

I kind of want to stay for the next one which is working with the subject, “Posing and Cosplay Photos” but I need to go back and cook curry so I can make it to the 7 PM Photoshop panel and Cosplay: Friday Edition.

Posted on June 5, 2009, in ColossalCon 2009, Conventions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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