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View Full Version : Basic face tips (for photos/photoshoots)


XxSora145xX
04-22-2012, 06:44 PM
Although pretty new to cosplay photography (I've only had 3 photoshoots), I was obsessed with modeling for a few years so I've come up with a few things to keep in mind that help people look good in pictures.

Your face
Let's start with the basic and (in my opinion the most make-or-break) part of photos.

Your eyes

1. One of the first things to keep in mind is that if you're supposed to be looking at someone close up, do not actually look at them. Doing such will make you look cross-eyed. Instead, look past them.

2. Avoid the 'deer-in-headlights' look, unless that's in character. Keep your eyes relaxed. If you want to avoid looking like your eyes are closed, look up. It will naturally make you open your eyes slightly.

3. Narrowing your eyes very slightly will help you look focused rather than like you're dazed. It can also reflect passion/anger/ect without making you furrow your brows or something.

4. Think of something. It sounds cliche but it's the whole 'windows-to-the-soul' thing. ]

5. A smile looks more real if you squint your eyes slightly. However, tilting your chin down and looking slightly up at the camera will make you look a bit devious.

Your mouth

1. If you're trying to portray a soft character or a soft emotion, part your lips very slightly and only in the middle.

2. If you're trying to portray a hard/strong character or an intense emotion, keep your lips together.

3. If you're trying to give a very small smile, bite the insides of your cheeks while you smile. It will keep you from reflexively smiling too wide.

Overall

1. Think beyond looking straight at the camera. If you want to look at the camera, you can look with your eyes while turning your head slightly, or tilting it (either up or down), or a combination of both. I suggest looking at the mirror and pairing different expressions and head positions to see what they look like together.

2. Try to keep some sort of tension in your face. Don't just be blank. Even with deadpan characters, do something very subtle with your face.



I hope I helped in some way, and I'm in no way criticizing anyone who does things differently. These tips are guidelines and not rules, so there are things I may be wrong with. These are just things that I find useful.


EDIT:
"And remember, GUYS, don't be above makeup for photoshoots. Even the toughest bad@$$ in the movies wear it."
-tfcreate

This is more of an overall appearance tip than a modeling one.
Why should you wear makeup for photoshoots?
Plenty of reasons:

1. Wearing foundation/concealer ect will keep you looking awake (when used under the eyes), keep you from looking red, make your skin look smoother, ect. Speaking at least for anime and manga, this will most likely make you look more like the character.

2. It will bring out features that might be lost with bright lights, editing, ect. For example, my eyebrows aren't very thin, so I thought I could go without darkening them (my character and I had the same eyebrow color). The guy I was posing with was in the same situation, but darkened them anyway. After the photographer edited the lighting, I ended up having teeny tiny eyebrows that almost disappeared. My friend's eyebrows looked fine.

(the picture in question: http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3198157/ )

3. It will give your different cosplays distinct 'faces'. For example, your glamorous female heroine won't look like the long lost twin of your creepy male villain.

Blood_Sword
04-23-2012, 05:14 AM
Thank you, this is helpful!

Surfsama
04-23-2012, 04:51 PM
Excellent tips!

Since weíre on the subject of faces and if itís important to you:

The single most common post-processing adjustment I perform is fixing dark rings under the eyes. I donít know if itís sleep depravation or hereditary but resting-up for the convention wouldnít hurt.

Moisten your lips. Carry a moisturizing stick (especially during the summer months).

On the subject of moister, stay hydrated. The heat will just drain you and it will show in your face so keep water or sports drinks (watch out with some of the dyes unless a blue tongue fits your character) handy.

If you can swing-it carry some blotting sheets if you tend to have oily skin. It can be fixed in Photoshop but most photographers donít bother. If you can carry a small mirror that will also help make sure everything is as it should be.

After the shot, ask to look at the picture. Donít worry if itís a little dark or bright thatís easily fixed but look at yourself and how the overall composition looks AND REALLY LOOK AT IT! This is your opportunity to collaborate with the photographer so step-up and take the time to look at what might be posted for all the world to see. If it doesnít look right to you then ask for a do-over. I canít speak for all photographers but imo any photographer worth his/her salt will only want to present the best shot(s).

MoradoFlower
04-23-2012, 08:10 PM
Great tips, thanks!

tfcreate
04-25-2012, 03:52 AM
And remember, GUYS, don't be above makeup for photoshoots. Even the toughest bad@$$ in the movies wear it.

XxSora145xX
04-25-2012, 07:58 PM
And remember, GUYS, don't be above makeup for photoshoots. Even the toughest bad@$$ in the movies wear it.

Can I like this a thousand times?
We mean no offense to you or your face. It overall will help you get the look you want. (Although I'm not saying that you should whip out false eyelashes and lip color when your character is a masculine guy)

ashe2kawaii
04-26-2012, 12:06 AM
Thank You so much! This is very helpful (>w<)bb

ajisaiareku
05-17-2012, 04:33 PM
Totally agree with the makeup tip, even a soft eyeshadow to match your cosplay for female characters goes a long way and it helps not being washed out by bright colors. When I do Madame Red or Eternal Sailor Moon make up is a super must for me because the colors completely wash me out but some color here and there really make my face more balanced with my outfits and makes it look more finished. Also if you live in warm climates like I do in Florida it will help not make it seem like you ran a marathon before a photo with sweat

MotherSilver
05-21-2012, 04:34 PM
I actually need help-I'm going to be doing Vanessa from Luminous Arc, and as a character, she's a bit flirty. I need help with posing with winks and maybe even blowing a few kisses. :( I've been doing photoshoots with a friend but I've never had any practice with these kinds of faces, as my characters are usually very stoic and have serious faces. This is my first 'fun' character, and I want to widen my range of emotion when doing the modeling. Does anyone have any tips for these two in particular?

XxSora145xX
05-22-2012, 12:52 PM
I actually need help-I'm going to be doing Vanessa from Luminous Arc, and as a character, she's a bit flirty. I need help with posing with winks and maybe even blowing a few kisses. :( I've been doing photoshoots with a friend but I've never had any practice with these kinds of faces, as my characters are usually very stoic and have serious faces. This is my first 'fun' character, and I want to widen my range of emotion when doing the modeling. Does anyone have any tips for these two in particular?

First off, don't be afraid to go out there! It's better to be overdoing it than to be subdued. Can you lift one eyebrow at a time? You could try lifting one and pouting your lips. If you wink, really focus on keeping your other eye open.

animetears4
06-26-2012, 11:34 PM
This is so helpful! I have really squinty eyes when I smile so the technique that you said about looking up slightly makes perfect sense when my friend and I do a photoshoot we will test this out X3 Thank you!

Creative Genius
08-07-2012, 12:41 AM
any tips on girls who have kind of ...chubby cheeks? i dont know what the term would be. but when i smile i have lines around my mouth because of my cheeks. how should i work around this problem? i dont like looking at my pictures and seeing only the lines on my face! rawrrawrrawr!

and they arnt laugh lines. im not quite old enough for that and they arnt there permanently

RoseButterfly
08-13-2012, 10:42 PM
Thank you for the tips! Do you have any advice for not looking angry? XD I always do without trying to! @-@

sunseenli
08-14-2012, 11:03 AM
Thank you for the tips! Do you have any advice for not looking angry? XD I always do without trying to! @-@

I do that, too--or else, I look like I'm pouting about something. I've learned to try to relax my face as much as possible--since my "neutral face" is apparently a little frowny, I'll try to think about something pleasant, smooth out my forehead as much as possible, open my eyes a bit wider than natural, and put on the barest hint of a smile--it won't come out as a smile, so much as just "not a pout".

RoseButterfly
08-15-2012, 11:32 AM
I do that, too--or else, I look like I'm pouting about something. I've learned to try to relax my face as much as possible--since my "neutral face" is apparently a little frowny, I'll try to think about something pleasant, smooth out my forehead as much as possible, open my eyes a bit wider than natural, and put on the barest hint of a smile--it won't come out as a smile, so much as just "not a pout".

Thank you! I'll try that.

trmbngrl
01-05-2013, 10:24 AM
any tips on girls who have kind of ...chubby cheeks? i dont know what the term would be. but when i smile i have lines around my mouth because of my cheeks. how should i work around this problem? i dont like looking at my pictures and seeing only the lines on my face! rawrrawrrawr!

and they arnt laugh lines. im not quite old enough for that and they arnt there permanently

I have those laugh lines as well and I'm not even old!!! *cries*
Photoshop might be your friend to fix otherwise good pictures, as might putting super sensitive moisturizer before your concealer so they are slightly mixed and won't dry your skin out. That shows cracks in the makeup which make them look even worse I've found. ;A; So I always start with the dry parts of my face when putting on foundation. Also taking shots from slightly above the cosplayer seems to help. Not too much or you get like a creepy face or a huge neanderthal forhead look. lol

My eyes are recessed and having just a bit of light on my face also helps make my eyes look brighter. Straight on light or diffused light from the area does this without a harsh flash. Taking pictures when it's overcast (yay for living in Washington lol) and in a room next to a window but not in the window can help.
I dunno just what I've found.

toughtink
02-10-2013, 04:06 PM
I have those laugh lines as well and I'm not even old!!! *cries*
Photoshop might be your friend to fix otherwise good pictures, as might putting super sensitive moisturizer before your concealer so they are slightly mixed and won't dry your skin out. That shows cracks in the makeup which make them look even worse I've found. ;A; So I always start with the dry parts of my face when putting on foundation. Also taking shots from slightly above the cosplayer seems to help. Not too much or you get like a creepy face or a huge neanderthal forhead look. lol

My eyes are recessed and having just a bit of light on my face also helps make my eyes look brighter. Straight on light or diffused light from the area does this without a harsh flash. Taking pictures when it's overcast (yay for living in Washington lol) and in a room next to a window but not in the window can help.
I dunno just what I've found.

this help sooo much!! thanks! i also have chubby cheeks and deep-set eyes. makes posing for pictures a real toss-up sometimes. XP

epicserendipity
02-12-2013, 12:58 AM
This really helps. :)
I have always had a major chipmunk cheek issue due to having a small mouth (my orthodontist hated me). It's the one part of myself I hate the most. I abhor photos taken of me, but I always have to have the spot light.

I'm not overweight (workout program got me to 138lbs! Woohoo! 3lbs to go to reach my fighting weight! --literally. I weighed 135 while taking Tae Kwon Do.). Yet, I can't get rid of these cheeks! Any opinions on using some kind of tape to pull the skin back ever so slightly to tighten the skin?

qiancen
02-14-2013, 10:14 PM
useful

thanks

kaligoddess
02-18-2013, 07:34 PM
This really helps. :)
I have always had a major chipmunk cheek issue due to having a small mouth (my orthodontist hated me). It's the one part of myself I hate the most. I abhor photos taken of me, but I always have to have the spot light.

I'm not overweight (workout program got me to 138lbs! Woohoo! 3lbs to go to reach my fighting weight! --literally. I weighed 135 while taking Tae Kwon Do.). Yet, I can't get rid of these cheeks! Any opinions on using some kind of tape to pull the skin back ever so slightly to tighten the skin?

I'd use less mechanical means. How are you with makeup application? Are you familiar with contouring?

Scathefir3
03-14-2013, 09:21 AM
Two problems for me......
1. I don't wear make-up, so I don't know how to put it on :S I want to start for cosplay photos but don't even know where to start or what to get/use.
2. I've tried looking into the mirror and practice posing before cons or shoots...But I feel too awkward, nothing I do feels right and it feels the same way during photos until I begin to open and losen up (This usually happens half through or close to the end)

Suggestions?

nathancarter
03-14-2013, 10:03 AM
1) On makeup:
You can get a lot out of Youtube tutorials, but there's nothing like an in-person consultation.

You might make an appointment with a makeup artist for some techniques and training. The artists at some of the makeup counters in department stores will often be familiar with makeup techniques for costuming and theatre - for instance, the MAC counter in a Macy's or Dillard's will almost always have a couple of very skilled makeup artists who will be happy to give you some tips.

Bear in mind that it's part of their job to sell products. The mid-tier and higher-end products like these will be somewhat more expensive than the off-the-peg stuff from Walgreens, but will cover better, look better, and last longer. However, if you only use it on rare occasions (e.g. costuming), I don't know about the shelf life.

Why don't you swing by a MAC counter, ask around, see if any of their artists are versed in costume and stage makeup, and would be willing to chat with you about what you need and how to use it? .. Make sure you tell them you're specifically looking for products and techniques suitable for costuming, that you probably want some basic/universal things that will work well with your skin, and maybe a couple of other items specific to the costume you're pursuing. Bring reference images. ...and if you're on a tight budget for products, let them know that up front.

2) On posing.
The "comfort" in posing just comes with practice and experience, but there are some things you can do to improve in the meantime.

Before the photoshoot, get yourself into the mindset of the character. Be the character, not yourself.

Practicing in front of a mirror definitely helps. Better yet, practice with a friend holding the camera and taking pictures - even if it's just a camera phone or point-n-shoot, you can get valuable experience in seeing what you look like in a photo. (it's not always the same as what's in the mirror)

An experienced photographer can help a lot too, with posing and facial expressions. As a photographer, I find it helpful to show off the pose that I want from the subject - this is almost always good for a few laughs, especially when I'm trying to demonstrate sexy or feminine poses. When searching for a photographer, ask if they're experienced in giving posing direction.

Tell jokes, or find some other icebreakers. It's not much different than any other social situation, really... except in a photo shoot, both you and the photographer want to make the best of it. Try not to feel self-conscious; nobody's judging you.

If all else fails, "fake it till you make it."

Angelg
03-17-2013, 09:48 AM
Thanks for the tips, I have a lot to learn...

StuckOnAsgard
03-19-2013, 02:27 PM
This is very helpful. I know I for one have problems with knowing what my face looks like when I am posing.

nathancarter
03-19-2013, 05:03 PM
Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention above:

Many poses that look good don't "feel right." Especially for feminine figures, the poses that are the most flattering are often the least comfortable.

Scathefir3
03-20-2013, 12:54 PM
Great tips thanks!
Another question.... What can I do about blinking. I have a bad habit of having to take 20 pictures before I can get one good one without my eyes closed of half closed from blinking.
I've tried staring off past where I'm looking or force my eyes to stay open but then it seems like they are too wide open and shows I'm forcing them to be like that.
What can I do to make it look more natural or just to stop the blinking during pictures all together?

Jonowxeno
03-20-2013, 03:10 PM
Blinking happens, that's why we take lots of photos haha.

If it happens a lot, your eyes might be dry or irritated from contacts/dust in the air. Eyes drops can help. Keep your eyes relaxed and have plenty of rest

I usually use this technique for group photos to have everyone's eyes open - get in your pose and be ready, let the photog make whatever adjustments. Then close your eyes, let the photog count down and open when he says for the shot.

Blue Leader
03-21-2013, 04:11 AM
What do you guys recommend for dark circles around eyes? The Italian in me makes my eyes dark all the time, and in convention lighting it makes me look like I'm dead or on drugs. Is there something I can do to help with that? >>

Example: The horrible picture of me on G4 TV (http://www.g4tv.com/images/4867/aots-star-wars-celebration-vi-rebel-alliance-and-empire-cosplay-pics/81617/).

ToroSonyCat
03-26-2013, 11:03 AM
Great tips thanks!
Another question.... What can I do about blinking. I have a bad habit of having to take 20 pictures before I can get one good one without my eyes closed of half closed from blinking.
I've tried staring off past where I'm looking or force my eyes to stay open but then it seems like they are too wide open and shows I'm forcing them to be like that.
What can I do to make it look more natural or just to stop the blinking during pictures all together?

I have this problem too, sorta. Especially if the sun even anywhere in view shining into my eyes, I literally CANNOT keep my eyes open. It's weird because everybody else usually manages it while I can't and it ends up with group shots of everybody else looking into the camera just fine and me squinting or blinking...

But maybe that's an issue for you, if you can't keep your eyes open due to the light or something then you should ask your photographer to help you move to a different location that works for them but doesn't strain your eyes. If that isn't the issue, just practice and get the photographer to take a lot of photos.

FlashBlitzen
03-26-2013, 08:29 PM
[QUOTE=Blue Leader;4635187]What do you guys recommend for dark circles around eyes? The Italian in me makes my eyes dark all the time, and in convention lighting it makes me look like I'm dead or on drugs. Is there something I can do to help with that? >>

There is probably concealer products that can help. Many people , including myself, have dark circles. You are correct about overhead lighting making it appear worse. Convention lighting is usually horrible.

Photoshop can fix it up pretty good but in candids, like in your example, not much you can do short of a little theatrical makeup, sorry to say. Or better lighting angles relative to the camera.

You can check Webmd or the like for common causes and remedies. In case it might be sinus problems or something like that.

I feel the same way about shots of myself. As a photographer, I try and get the best light I can on me if I'm being photographed. Sometimes looking up into the lens and light can help.
It's all about angles and shadows.

Hope some of this helps.

MehiraDeOro
05-19-2013, 09:50 AM
Can I like this a thousand times?
We mean no offense to you or your face. It overall will help you get the look you want. (Although I'm not saying that you should whip out false eyelashes and lip color when your character is a masculine guy)

My boyfriend had gotten mad at me because I've told him that I want to put a translucent powder on his face, just to take away the shine (he has oily skin). So I told him no one would be able to tell he was wearing it. He wouldn't let me do it. :(