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.
Let's start with the basic and (in my opinion the most make-or-break) part of photos.
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.
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.
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.
"And remember, GUYS, don't be above makeup for photoshoots. Even the toughest bad@$$ in the movies wear it."
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.