View Full Version : Alert: Newbie Photographer Wants to Get Better

Squatting Puppy
11-16-2010, 02:29 AM
I just recently decided that I wanted to try getting better at cosplay photography, but I'm still unsure if I even have any skill to start off with or if it's even worth it for me to continue.

So, while at Otakon 2010 with my friends, an idea struck my one friend and I to do an impromptu shoot in the parking garage...eh he. She was Claire Redfield from Resident Evil. Let me know if I'm doing it right? Thanks!


11-17-2010, 01:49 AM
you need tighter crops/angles to emphasize your subject.

for example, #1 you could've shot from the side to be more dramatic
(example): http://winterwish.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=4538

#2 you could have cropped more or used angle to emphasize her action which was definetely not static
(example): http://winterwish.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=3289

good luck!

11-23-2010, 10:24 AM
Congratulations on wanting to get better! We're always happy to help, and photography is a fun way to enjoy cosplay.

You've found an interesting location for this character. It looks industrial and claustrophobic, giving me the impression she is in the middle of a tense situation. Thinking about settings is a good start.

Now - Turn off your flash.

Do not use your automatic flash. It is flattering to no one.

In Photo #1, it nuked your subject, overexposing her skin and giving her red-eye. It also cast all sorts of weird shadows and reflections (see the car taillights in the background? They're red because of the flash.)

In Photo #2, her skin and clothes are still washed out. The bar shadows are too tight and make the image confusing.

Turn it off. If the area is too dark to shoot, pick a different location or find a light source. In a parking garage like this, you would probably have to use external flashes (called "strobes") to get the setting to work.

Here's an example of a parking garage shot with strobes. The photographer, Elemental, used off camera flashes to make interesting shadows and give her camera enough light to take the picture.

This is just to give you an idea of something to work on. Definitely keep shooting! Try taking photos away from convention halls, and look for brighter lighting. You don't need expensive equipment or full sun, but it can be easier to start outside.

Good luck!

11-23-2010, 02:50 PM
#1 Your composition is mostly good, you got the subject looking in to the frame which keeps your viewer's attention.
However, consider your shooting height, you can make your pictures look more dramatic and give an overall different feel by changing the height you are shooting from.

11-23-2010, 07:34 PM
1) I am not too keen on the composition. It is nice that you left more room in the direction the cosplayer is looking, but the wall has too much prominent and has a lot of "negative space". If there were shadows to break up the wall, it would vastly improve the composition. You could add shadows on the wall, using software like Photoshop.

I agree with ByeByeBeautiful, that direct flash destroys potentional for dramatic lighting by washing out shadows that could add a more tense mood. You don't necessarily need to turn off the flash, if you can re-direct it to bounce off ceilings and/or walls. Grey concrete is great for this. You can bounce your flash, if your flash has a head that rotates and can be aimed upwards. If your flash can only fire forwards, you can put a white card or other reflective material in front of the flash at a 45 degree angle so it hits nearby walls or the ceiling, instead of the cosplayer.
Flashlights, and other portable, continuous lights could be helpful. I use car headlights sometimes.

As Blasteh mentioned, a higher or lower angle may be more interesting, and give you more selection of what is in your background.

2)Your cropping seems fine. A lower angle would be more dramatic and show her eyes better. Her hair and white straps hanging down make the photo seem like a still pose. With flash, you can capture most any speed of movement. Try having the cosplayer move during the exposure. Avoid flat-looking direct flash and try bouncing it. Experiment with the angles you bounce the flash.

11-24-2010, 11:27 AM
Thats an awesome pic BBB

11-24-2010, 11:45 AM
Ah, that's not mine. It's one of Elemental's awesome shots. I needed a good parking garage example. ^_^

brucer007 is right, you can also bounce the flash on your camera. I just found it easier to turn off my automatic flash entirely. That way, I wasn't tempted to use it as a crutch and forced myself to find other light. Explore your options.

11-24-2010, 06:10 PM
Keep an eye out for distracting things in your photos. In the first picture, the subject seems to be T.B.M EL 6.459 Why do I think that?
* It's text. People like to read.
* It's in the middle of the picture. Claire is off to the side.
* It's bright orange.
* Claire is looking at it.
* Claire is pointing her knife at it.
Now you know five ways to attract your viewers' attention! The text thing is kinda hard to apply because most cosplayers won't let you write on them, but you can use color and framing and where people look and what they are doing to make your viewer pay attention to what is important.

Squatting Puppy
11-24-2010, 11:13 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, guys! They are helping so much at making me look at the photos critically. I've already started looking for more areas to do some more pictures and trying out the tips. This is so much fun!