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Unread 02-20-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
LarryMHolder
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New To Cosplay - First Studio Shoot Feedback

Hey everyone, I've been photographing for some time now and I've finally come across the chance to work with a cosplay designer and move into providing service this community that I've been trying to get into for some time now. I completed my first studio shoot a few weeks ago and was just looking for some feedback from my peers. This lighting technic was developed for my portrait work and I think it translates well into cosplay photography. This shoot was done partially as a test and partially as a way for the designer, Bronwen Robbins, to document her work. Looking forward to your critiques, I'm hoping to move out of the studio into location as well with a version of this technic.

http://pollmh.blogspot.com/2012/02/cosplay.html
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Unread 02-21-2012, 04:59 AM   #2
Ashurachan
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Using gelled lights is okay for the background, but don't light the cosplayer with them if the aim is to showcase the costume. The reason for this, is that cosplayers spend an awful lot of time finding the right colors for their costumes, and you don't want to ruin that effort. So if you want to use a rim, use it bare or with a more natural looking color (CTO works fine in my experience).

In general, this kind of shot is okay to showcase the costume, but the poses are way too generic IMO. Cosplay photography is not fashion photography, it's not just about the costume : it's also about the character. If you don't know the character, you should talk with the cosplayer a bit about who he's portraying, and decide on a set of traits you want the photos to reflect, then improvise from that point. If you planned the shoot beforehand, you can search for reference pictures in order to get an idea about the character's general attitude and body language.
I know studio makes it harder, but try to be creative with your angles. Cosplayers appreciate this, and your shoots will look less repetitive.

What I said about using gelled lights is less valid if you go for the 'in character' shots rather than fashion type. You can mix types in a shoot though, here's a studio shoot I did last year (twas my first studio shoot at home, so it's far from perfect, but I think it's a good example of what I like to do in a shoot) : http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashurac...7626687553207/

Last edited by Ashurachan : 02-21-2012 at 05:07 AM.
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Unread 02-21-2012, 09:38 AM   #3
brucer007
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I think your lighting showed the colors of the costumes just fine, especially on the white costume. The skin tones looked very natural. I don't necessarily agree with Ashurachan that is the inherent job of the photographer to use color-accurate lighting. That is mainly important in product photography so the costumers gets what they expect. In a creative field like cosplay photography, go with what you choose, unless the cosplayer is paying you to do it a certain way.

The magenta light on the background, combined with the slightly cool spot of light had a nice background effect. It looked especially good with the white costume, but the dark costume seemed it could benefit from something different; darker perhaps. Also, it seems you had a space limitation, causing the model to get bathed in that magenta light. If she is going to be in that light, I think a neutral, colored rim light would have a better effect to separate from the background. A contrasting color should also work well.

The straight-on back shots and close ups seem like product shots, rather than cosplay. It helped a lot when you had the cosplayer turn her head to a profile, showing her character. A full-on back shot would work better on a location, when we can see what the cosplayer is looking at. The back shot in the dark costume has an odd angle on her left wing. It seems like she got stabbed by an arrow, rather than it being one of her wings.

There is one shot when I can see part of the cosplayers real hair, in the dark costume photos.

Your photos do have an over-all feeling of professionalism. Try to experiment more with the lighting on the people and the backgrounds. Work on more poses and expressions that fit the character.

Last edited by brucer007 : 02-21-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 05:00 AM   #4
Ashurachan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucer007 View Post
I think your lighting showed the colors of the costumes just fine, especially on the white costume. The skin tones looked very natural. I don't necessarily agree with Ashurachan that is the inherent job of the photographer to use color-accurate lighting. That is mainly important in product photography so the costumers gets what they expect. In a creative field like cosplay photography, go with what you choose, unless the cosplayer is paying you to do it a certain way.
My point was that with the rather plain looking poses, this shoot looked like product shots of the costumes. All cosplayers want some photos that just show their work, and this seemed the main reason behind these shots. When I shoot a cosplayer in studio there's always at least a few full body shots to show the costume, because it is simply expected.

One thing I forgot to talk about is post-processing, I find it to lack a bit of contrast, especially for the Paine costume - deeper blacks would look nicer.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 08:24 AM   #5
LarryMHolder
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Thanks for the feedback, both of you have given me good ideas on where to go next and those are awesome shots Ashurachan, what a great costume and a nice use of gels.
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Unread 03-03-2012, 02:03 AM   #6
Over9000images
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashurachan View Post
Using gelled lights is okay for the background, but don't light the cosplayer with them if the aim is to showcase the costume. The reason for this, is that cosplayers spend an awful lot of time finding the right colors for their costumes, and you don't want to ruin that effort. So if you want to use a rim, use it bare or with a more natural looking color (CTO works fine in my experience).

In general, this kind of shot is okay to showcase the costume, but the poses are way too generic IMO. Cosplay photography is not fashion photography, it's not just about the costume : it's also about the character. If you don't know the character, you should talk with the cosplayer a bit about who he's portraying, and decide on a set of traits you want the photos to reflect, then improvise from that point. If you planned the shoot beforehand, you can search for reference pictures in order to get an idea about the character's general attitude and body language.
I know studio makes it harder, but try to be creative with your angles. Cosplayers appreciate this, and your shoots will look less repetitive.

What I said about using gelled lights is less valid if you go for the 'in character' shots rather than fashion type. You can mix types in a shoot though, here's a studio shoot I did last year (twas my first studio shoot at home, so it's far from perfect, but I think it's a good example of what I like to do in a shoot) : http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashurac...7626687553207/
I'm pretty much in full agreement with everything Ashura said. So +2 for that one.
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Unread 03-17-2012, 08:22 AM   #7
brucer007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashurachan View Post
My point was that with the rather plain looking poses, this shoot looked like product shots of the costumes. All cosplayers want some photos that just show their work, and this seemed the main reason behind these shots. When I shoot a cosplayer in studio there's always at least a few full body shots to show the costume, because it is simply expected.

One thing I forgot to talk about is post-processing, I find it to lack a bit of contrast, especially for the Paine costume - deeper blacks would look nicer.
I agree that the poses could have been more interesting. It depends on what the objective is, and/or how they will be used. For a movie poster shoot, some of those poses could work out fine, especially if it was a lighthearted story-line, like a comedy. He did get the full body shots covered.

The gelled lights hit only a small part of the costume, so the true color is revealed, if that was important.

When I do cosplay-type studio photo shoots, sometimes the seamless background is there merely to aid in easy cut outs in photoshop later. Then I add the cosplayer into a composite photo with a photo-plate background. Gelled lights can enhance the editing process to make the lighting better match the scenery the cosplayer will be edited into.

I know, we are judging them as finished products, which is, of course valid. Knowing the intent of the photos would be helpful to make more useful, critiques and recommendations.

Last edited by brucer007 : 03-17-2012 at 08:27 AM.
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Unread 04-14-2012, 12:32 AM   #8
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Nice
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Last edited by errido : 04-15-2012 at 03:08 AM.
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Unread 04-14-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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Because the shoot was meant for documentation, I'd give you a thumbs up. Well lit, whole costume shown off, yeah, these are good. However, they wouldn't cut it for in-character poses, so keep that in mind if you're ever doing those sort of shoots.
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Unread 04-16-2012, 01:16 AM   #10
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I agree with all said above. The photographs aren't bad at all. There could've been more creative posing. And each shot is centered. Play around with the rule of thirds. Angle the subject of the shot a bit to the left or right. It makes the picture more interesting and to me atleast, the subject stands out a bit more. But yeah..all in all, great shots! :3
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Unread 04-29-2012, 07:57 PM   #11
LarryMHolder
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Took all the advice in, thanks, I'll be posting new studio work soon, as well as one I did on location. Been pretty busy so I haven't had time lately to be on the forum.
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