Recently I am rarely using my webside, I am posting mostly at facebook or using other social media.
I want to change it and write more about cosplay at my blog.
I started cosplaying 2006. I was a beginner like everyone and needed to learn beneath sewing a lot of things. Even after nearly 10 years of cosplaying, I still need to learn a lot and are struggling with the “cosplayerproblems” everyone has.
I am not perfect but I want to learn and to continue having fun at cosplay.
Recently a lot of people asked me for advices for cosplay shootings.
Thats also why I was thinking about starting to write about cosplay.
I wasn’t quite sure if I should post these advices, because I don’t think I am really fit to give them. I am also just a cosplayer who loves her hobby. But I decided to write this post in order to give you a view of my way of “cosplaying”.
I also want to state that this is my way of doing things. It does not mean they are right or the only way. I am also still learning (that’s why I am not sure if I am fit for this post…).
In these pictures you see the same cosplays with the same wig and accessories! (Only the wig of the first cosplay is new, I lost it…).
I decided to reshoot these cosplays and realized that I made a huge step.
When I was a beginner, I only cared about the “clothing”. I didn’t pay much attention to the wig, the make up, facial expression or posing.
I just cared about the “wearing part” and forgot the whole “being” part. Since I started to make more and more photo shootings I realized that cosplay is not only about the “costume”, it is also about the “play”. I love the characters I am cosplaying so it became more and more important for me to “play” this character.
(Btw: I am speaking about a male photographers and female cosplayer, that is because I am working mostly with male photographers. It does not mean it couldn’t be a female photographer )
–> Before the shooting:
1. Find a photographer
A lot of people told me, that the main problem is to find a suiting photographer.
It is not easy, but it’s up to you!
Choose your favorite photographer based on his pictures (do I like his style?) and ask them via direct message or at conventions.
The typical way is to make a small shooting at a convention and event before having a private shooting.
Make clear what for a shooting you want to do, when and where, which cosplay?
If you have pictures, show them! The photographer can get a better picture of you and your way of cosplaying.
It’s not easy, time consuming and I got declined a lot of times.
But I didn’t gave up and found some photographers which I really like to work with on a regular base.
2. Speak with your photographer
What cosplays does he like? Does he have preferences? Where and when do you want to meet? Outdoor or Indoor? Do you need a special location?
Does he need any assistants? Does he edit the pictures or do you need to edit them?
Speak with him and plan. This way you can prevent a lot of miscommunication.
And again check his pictures before to get an idea of his style and preferences.
It’s also a chance to become acquainted with your photographer.
The cosplayer knows the most things about her character, also which location is the most suited one. I am normally doing the location scouting and asking for permissions. The photographer does not have much knowledge about your character and the anime. He maybe can give you a hand but that’s all.
If you are going to shoot in the city of your photographer, he might know some good locations. But he just can give you advices, not more. (Of course it is different if he knows the character).
Normally I am thinking about the character I want to shoot, speak about it with my photographer and look via internet for a good location.
If I found something I mail or phone them and explain what I want to do at this location.
You might pay a certain fee, to be able to shoot at this specific location.
4. Be nice to your photographer
He takes his time for you and maybe traveled a long way only to shoot you.
Most photographers are shooting you for free and are doing this next to their 40 hours a week job and private life.
Don’t forget that they are shooting you volunteeringly. Don’t take it for given!
Give them time to finish the pictures. Alone to select the pictures can take hours! Also editing is a very time consuming task. Just wait and be patient.
Talk with him about the rights. Is it okay to use them at Facebook? To make Coscards or to post them at Worldcosplay? Be aware that you are giving Facebook the right to sell the pictures if you upload them!
If you need pictures without watermark or want to “erase” your dark circles. Ask them!
I never had any problems; they all allowed me to make small corrections or to use the pictures.
Just ask, I am sure they don’t mind and It’s a matter of respect!
–> The Cosplay:
1. Prepare your cosplay properly
Finish you cosplay in time and wear it the way you want to see your cosplay in the pictures.
Of course your photographer can change the hair color, eye color or edit small mistakes away. But be aware that these things are taking a lot of time and most of the photographers are editing the pictures next to their main job and private life.
Don’t take it for given that he will edit the pictures for you. Give him a hand and make it easier for him!
Pay attention to your wig. If you are buying a wig you get the wig unstyled.
You mostly need to cut and style the wig, especially the bangs. If you transport your wig in a plastic bag restyle it before a shooting.
If you are taking pictures, tell your photographer how the wig should look like. He can help you to keep your wig in place even if you don’t have a mirror.
If you are wearing a long wig, brush, brush, brush!!
3. Make up
I tended to wear no make up or always the same for cosplay.
I realized that you really need to pay attention to the facial features of your chosen character. Face shaping is a very important thing, especially while crossplaying. Flashlight takes away all you facial contours. So point them out with make up.
And don’t forget your eyebrows! They are very important for changing your face.
Also be aware, that colorful wigs will “eat up” your eye shadow and blush.
It might looks overdosed at the first glance, but with your wig you will have a natural and balanced look even if you have tons of color in your face.
For shootings its much more important. Your make up might look exaggerate in the mirror but will look totally natural at the picture. Don’t underestimate how much the camera, flashlight and wig will “eat up” your make up.
I recommend circle lenses and fake lashes.
—> While taking pictures:
1. Posing and facial expression
Every character is different; every character has its own vibe. The more you know about your character the merrier you can “play”.
Make researches about your character; does he have typical poses? Is your character more the arrogant or cute type?
Think about it and try poses and facial expressions in front of a mirror! Not everyone can make the same poses. I always need to lower my chin, because I have a chubby face and want to make it appear more “longer”. I also cannot smile too much, because I am showing too much teeth ridge. And yes… I needed a loooong time to realize that.
So be aware of you positive features and use them as much as possible.
I also tended to make poses, which hid my cosplay. You spent hours to make that cosplay so show it! It would be sad if you only have pictures, which are not showing you hard work.
Practice, practice, practice! I always though that I cannot crossplay or cosplaying arrogant characters, because I am not able to mimic them. I still struggle with arrogant or manly characters but are trying to improve my posing and facial expressions.
Don’t give up. No one is born as a perfect cosplayer!
2. Speak with your photographer.
Do you have ideas? What pictures do you would like to make? Check the pictures, speak about them and try it again.
You will be more satisfied with your results and have more fun.
Trust me, if you are making shootings communication is the key!
Tell him about you preferred poses and your “positive features”, remind him to lighten up your face properly and not to make pictures in the direct sun.
You are also responsible for the results.
Check the pictures and speak about them during the shooting with your photographer!
3. Have fun.
Cosplay is not about others! Cosplay is about you!
You don’t need to prove anything; you don’t need to force yourself!
Do it to have a great time, to have fun, to make new friendships and great memories.
If you feel uncomfortable, just don’t do it. But don’t forget and respect the wishes of your photographer!
The most important thing is that you are happy and satisfied with your work.
Don’t force you to something you don’t want to do and don’t force others.
If you are doing cosplay with fun, the results will show it.
I am not even near to be a perfect cosplayer and still have to learn a bunch of things.
I just wanted to give some advices, because I needed a lot of time to realize these things.
This is my way of cosplaying, it doesn’t mean it’s the right or the only way.
It’s just the way I chose and I am happy if I can help you in some small points!
I wish you a lot of fun for your next shooting!
Thanks @yukan-graphy, meermiau, Silvermillenium, manga Box, chiko-chan for the pictures!