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staereo
11-19-2005, 08:24 AM
I was just sitting here at work, somewhat bored, letting my mind wander.

I was thinking about cosplay photography, and it seems like low key cosplay photography is very rare. I guess I found this somewhat odd, because while much of anime is light hearted and fun, there is a lot of intensity that can be conveyed through cosplaying a character. Low key photography can really portray an intense image, and I'm surprised that you don't see more of this in the galleries.

I suppose that cosplaying isn't meant to be so serious, but many of the poses you find carry a very serious look on the cosplayer's face, so why not match that mood with a more low key style of photograph to complete an image.

I've read a lot of threads where debates occur concerning a lack of smiles. You have one side saying that smiles are more photogenic, and the other saying that a smile doesnt fit the cosplay. Well, why not fit the photo to the cosplay, instead of the facial expression to the photo?

I just think it might be another way to make the puzzle work.

Ideas? Comments?

-I'm so verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic. Low key. It's neither low, nor is it a key.- (SNL reference. Ignore it if youre not laughing)

Bruce

kabuki_KILLER
11-19-2005, 01:40 PM
I was just sitting here at work, somewhat bored, letting my mind wander.

I was thinking about cosplay photography, and it seems like low key cosplay photography is very rare. I guess I found this somewhat odd, because while much of anime is light hearted and fun, there is a lot of intensity that can be conveyed through cosplaying a character. Low key photography can really portray an intense image, and I'm surprised that you don't see more of this in the galleries.

I suppose that cosplaying isn't meant to be so serious, but many of the poses you find carry a very serious look on the cosplayer's face, so why not match that mood with a more low key style of photograph to complete an image.

I've read a lot of threads where debates occur concerning a lack of smiles. You have one side saying that smiles are more photogenic, and the other saying that a smile doesnt fit the cosplay. Well, why not fit the photo to the cosplay, instead of the facial expression to the photo?
I think a lot of cosplayers either do or attempt to appear in character in their pictures. And I don't think smiles are necessarily more photogenic. They make me look fat and my face look huge (at least from the front). Also, if it doesn't come naturally, you're just going to look constipated or at least it'll look fake.
I dont' know where you've been looking, but I always find a lot of smiley people (or not so serious) in pictures. They don't have to smile for every single picture though. Make all the face muscles sore. Lol.

staereo
11-19-2005, 01:53 PM
I think a lot of cosplayers either do or attempt to appear in character in their pictures. And I don't think smiles are necessarily more photogenic. They make me look fat and my face look huge (at least from the front). Also, if it doesn't come naturally, you're just going to look constipated or at least it'll look fake.
I dont' know where you've been looking, but I always find a lot of smiley people (or not so serious) in pictures. They don't have to smile for every single picture though. Make all the face muscles sore. Lol.

Right. What I was saying was that many of the smiles that you find dont necessarily fit the picture, and that often a serious look is more proper.

THUSLY a low key photograph of the cosplay; keeping the serious expression would be more fitting than either a smile on a fun picture of a serious cosplay, or a serious expression on a fun picture or a serious cosplay.

This way the serious cosplay retains both a serious expression and a serious, or intense style of photography.

Keeping all the aspects congruent. The same feeling throughout the cosplay, the pose, the expression and the photography style.

I think it might make for a more powerful picture of the cosplay, more pleasing for the eye.

jtnishi
11-19-2005, 05:49 PM
If I haven't gotten my terms mixed up, the problem with low key photography, just like high key photography, is that it's difficult to do unless you really have control over the camera and lighting, or have good control over photo editing software like Photoshop.

Not to say that I wouldn't like to take a shot at it myself. There are some characters that only look right with grit (eg: every single male character in Cowboy Bebop). The problem is that I'm really bad at finding the right type of light sources to do that type of photography. I happen to like both high-key and low-key looks, when done right, but it's difficult to do to say the least!

staereo
11-19-2005, 06:16 PM
Wow, great points Jason. I couldnt agree with your points more. And good example with cowboy bebop!

Both high and low key photography is pretty hard to work out when youre at a convention or some such happenstance gathering. I suppose a way to try it would be to really crank your shutter speed up and use a harsh flash to get a low key look to the photo, then finish it off in post processing. It's a stretch, but a start, I would have to play with it. Definately not something for a merchandising room, but maybe a darker hall, or outside at night. That way the ambient light isn't captured as much with the high speed shutter, and the flash really highlights your subject. It would take work, I imagine.

There are many cosplay shots outside the cons, and I imagine you could set up your lighting, even without studio lights. Perhaps during the day, in an alley with reflectors?

I can't say as if I've done it myself, for the same reasons as you say, Jason, but I think I want to now.

Excellent points!
Bruce

sneakers
11-19-2005, 07:07 PM
I think a lot of cosplayers either do or attempt to appear in character in their pictures. And I don't think smiles are necessarily more photogenic. They make me look fat and my face look huge (at least from the front). Also, if it doesn't come naturally, you're just going to look constipated or at least it'll look fake.
I dont' know where you've been looking, but I always find a lot of smiley people (or not so serious) in pictures. They don't have to smile for every single picture though. Make all the face muscles sore. Lol.

I think expressions are great, but a photographer should try to show the subject/model natural emotion. Usually I photograph the model and ask them for several different gestures, and you will find alot of people can't do a certain 'type' of emotion, such as 'diva', 'goofy' 'dramatic', 'sadden' look. Some people can pull it off some can't.

I try to find what works best for the person not necessarily what character they are trying to portray.

i find that some people with jet black stares work well, especially in a goth outfit.
others in a comedic costume, usually can pull off a laughing gesture in a snap.

Cicada
11-21-2005, 12:53 PM
i like candid photography because you capture a more 'natural' image. not a necessarily better-looking image, but more natural in that people are acting like themselves as opposed to in-character.

but then there's a question of privacy when it comes to candid photography. then agian if you're in a public place, i dont see the problem, but it would be [morally] right to mention it to the subject after the fact. [mention before, and you dont get the same 'feel].]

staereo
11-21-2005, 03:08 PM
O.o

I like candid photography too. But Low key is hard to do when being candid. It would take an environment that was already directly suited to low key photography, and an intent on taking snaps with settings already designed to capture in the light available for a low key picture.

The idea is to capture the emotion of the serious cosplay using a photographic low key style picture.

Bruce

Anovas
11-21-2005, 03:51 PM
Meh, depends on the person. I know that there's some people that make the costumes simply because they love them (sometimes they haven't even really watched the series or read the mangas/comics/whatever), so it's more of a "love at first sight" instead of actual love for the character itself. If so, most Cosplayers who go merely by the appearance of their costume probably wouldn't bother attempting to be properly in character or anything. ^^; But as for the others that do love the character, perhaps they just...want the character to seem happy? =/ Haha, no clue as for them...but meh, there's always the possibility as I said above.

ps. Or maybe they're smiling or being out of character-ish because they only took those pictures to show off their costume. I find that a lot of times people have their in character pictures in their accounts that organize their costumes (if they have one, that is) and usually just submit tons of OOC pictures to the member galleries for critique. That's just what I've seen, though.

jtnishi
11-21-2005, 05:04 PM
O.o

I like candid photography too. But Low key is hard to do when being candid. It would take an environment that was already directly suited to low key photography, and an intent on taking snaps with settings already designed to capture in the light available for a low key picture.

The idea is to capture the emotion of the serious cosplay using a photographic low key style picture.

Bruce
Again, drawing from a certain set of assumptions that I'm remembering correctly what low key photography is like, of course it's going to be difficult to get a low key shot that works without some sort of posing, if for no other reason than the importance of where/how lighting hits is important. That said, one can obviously somewhat get the look of making a shot "look" candid, while the shot is actually relatively posed.

Unfortunately, again, low key is not easy to do without controlled lighting, like you'd get within a studio setup. Though I suppose with a spotlight lamp and a dark room (or maybe the perfect street lamp?), the right person, good camera control, and a willingness to do post editing work, it's relatively doable.

dmk26
12-12-2005, 07:53 PM
Hmm... you have me intrigued. You're right, I haven't seen any lowkey cosplay shoots. Hmm... I'll try something out next month, and post a link here once I'm done. In the meantime, if anyone else tries this out, please post a link in this post as well =)

jtnishi
12-13-2005, 08:38 AM
Hmm... you have me intrigued. You're right, I haven't seen any lowkey cosplay shoots. Hmm... I'll try something out next month, and post a link here once I'm done. In the meantime, if anyone else tries this out, please post a link in this post as well =)
The only shots I really remember being low key style in the c.c galleries I saw were these shots that Asuma'sFire had in his gallery (http://images.cosplay.com/gallery.php?member=34138&cat=500). I don't think it fits the full technical definition of low key, but the style is, and I'd interpret it as such.

staereo
12-13-2005, 10:04 AM
Good call jtnishi, there are quite a few low key type photos in there!

Very refreshing to see!