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Unread 11-05-2013, 08:24 PM   #1
banditsspurs
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Seeking tips, first time Photo shoots

I would like to arrange a photo shoot for my Princess Zelda costume, however I have never done a photo shoot or even seen one taking place, so I'm at a loss as far as what I should expect. This has led me to turning to you, the informed cosplay community, educate me please.

I have a photographer in mind, but I know that she has not been part of a " cosplay" shoot before either. So as the subject, what are my responsibilities, what are the responsibilities of the photographer? How long should it take? Any tips on things I should bring? Whatever advice you have would be great.

Also to put this out there, I feel incredibly photo-shy! Does anyone have an tips on overcoming shutter shyness?
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Unread 11-05-2013, 09:08 PM   #2
WonJohnSoup
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Photoshoot times vary greatly and I wouldn't suggest to expect any real time. Depending on what you're going for, it can be 30 minutes if everything is in a studio all ready to go for you to the entire day if you plan to hike out to the woods and do an epic shoot with a narrative and other people in the shoot. At cons I do 30 minute slots with the declared expectation of going for 3-6 great shots. Even in an hour long shoot we may only hit 6. But I go for particular shots and you can see the samples in my sig. For my last environmental shoot for a "James Bond" shoot, we spent 6 hours in a parking lot and got two images we were proud to display. I declared from the get go that we were probably only getting two shots, so everyone knew that going in, and everyone LOVED the shots.

For your responsibilities I would highly highly highly suggest getting sample images of your character and saving reference photos of the poses on your smart phone to show the photographer. You don't have to mimic the exact pose or shot by any means, but it's incredibly helpful for the photographer to understand the personality of the character and to get general poses that fit that character. Even if when try to mimic a drawn picture, we end up seeing opportunities to do much more and the final shot diverges so greatly it becomes its own image.

If this is all planned, the photog should preferably be at the location with the lighting all set up for at least the initial shot and should have a few more ideas ready to go. If you guys are meeting up and winging it, expect your shoot time to be 3x normal and not nearly as smooth. You should be partially in costume (especially makeup if you're doing this outside a studio) and be able to get into full costume quickly. Be on time, because if its outdoors, 15 minutes difference can literally mean the entire shoot is undoable. If its a studio rental, 15 minutes can mean big bucks.

As for shyness, there's no real way other than to have a good director and to have the right attitude that you're going in this all out. I consider myself a very good director for total beginners and one of the biggest things I do, especially with cosplayers, is to really encourage them to "go big." As in , OVER ACT. It's really hard to overact so much in a cosplay shoot that it actually looks awkward. If you're a creepy zombie with her neck dangling, bend your neck will it almost hurts. If you're supposed to be slashing an enemy with a sword, open your mouth and get your rage face on times 300%. It'll barely look "enough" on camera, haha.

Probably the most important rule though is.......just have fun Nobody looks good when they don't want to be there and hey, you're paying to have a good experience so why ruin your own shoot? Good luck!
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Last edited by WonJohnSoup : 11-05-2013 at 09:19 PM.
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Unread 11-05-2013, 09:12 PM   #3
banditsspurs
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I made this little photo collage so show all'a y'all just how photo awkward I got when doing a mini photo session at a con this summer. I think I do the exact same thing with my mouth in most of the photos, I call it the "awkward turtle" lol
So as you can see, I'm desperate for tips

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3449007/

Last edited by banditsspurs : 11-05-2013 at 09:27 PM. Reason: Broken link
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Unread 11-05-2013, 09:15 PM   #4
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Wow thank you wonJohnSoup! This is all great advice! I absolutely love the idea of saving reference images to my phone.
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Unread 11-05-2013, 09:21 PM   #5
WonJohnSoup
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banditsspurs View Post
Wow thank you wonJohnSoup! This is all great advice! I absolutely love the idea of saving reference images to my phone.
No problem!

And your link is blocked =)
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Unread 11-05-2013, 09:28 PM   #6
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Oh dear, thanks for the heads up, I believe I've fixed it.
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Unread 11-05-2013, 10:55 PM   #7
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Oh I totally know how you feel banditsspurs! I always feel like my facial expressions in photos are awkward but no one else seems to think so! MY advice is to not think to hard about your expression and to just act as natural as possible. I know this is hard as I am also awkward and camera shy. What I've found helpful is asking the photographer for tips or suggestions. Most advanced photographers I have worked with already do this but a lot of ones don't pose me at all and I tend to get flustered. In that case I'll just ask if I should be looking at the camera, or away? Or ask if a certain pose is good or not. Also asking to see the photos or if the photographer thinks your expression is okay is totally possible! I've done this several times recently as I get used to modeling and lots of them will make note of which photos you like. Above all have fun with it!
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Unread 11-05-2013, 11:23 PM   #8
WonJohnSoup
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banditsspurs View Post
I made this little photo collage so show all'a y'all just how photo awkward I got when doing a mini photo session at a con this summer. I think I do the exact same thing with my mouth in most of the photos, I call it the "awkward turtle" lol
So as you can see, I'm desperate for tips

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3449007/
When I see something unflattering for a particular subject, I often try to encourage the subject to do something that fixes it without telling them my true intentions. Say, if I see an underbite, I may ask them to smile big and it might end up eliminating it. Then I casually let them see the LCD screen a few shots later and ask if they see anything they don't like about it without pointing out the underbite itself (I might say, "do you see any hair that needs adjustment or anything on the face or anything?"). The key is to not make the subject conscious about it and to keep everything on a fun positive note. Because what I think is aesthetically unpleasing on a subject, that person might actually see it as a really positive and personal aspect of themselves. If they don't notice that we've eliminated the underbite, I continue doing with what I'm doing because I've confirmed that they like the smiling photo and my guess is that others would also prefer the non-underbite photos. So everyone wins.

In your case, since you're saying you feel self-conscious about it, I would without hesitation let the photographer know that and request that they keep an eye out for it and to remind you to smile with lips closed or whatever remedy whenever they see it. I've found it helps to just make light of it and keep it as a casual aside. Cuz otherwise the photog might freak out and focus on that TOO much and lose focus on other parts of the image. Unless, ofcourse, it's very important to you and eliminating it is a top priority.

For what it's worth, I saw your smile as a cute thing and either with or without the "awkward turtle" works for me
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Last edited by WonJohnSoup : 11-05-2013 at 11:29 PM.
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Unread 11-06-2013, 07:09 AM   #9
banditsspurs
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Thank you both, I have found your insights incredibly helpful and I'm feeling more relaxed about this shoot. You people are fantastic, thank for sharing your experience with me!
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Unread 11-13-2013, 05:17 AM   #10
cadyantram
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hi.....
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