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Unread 11-05-2015, 03:39 AM   #1
ZATZAi
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First Time Shooting Cosplay @ Comikaze

So got to shoot some Cosplayers for the first time at Comikaze this year. Actually, this was my first time using a "Pro" camera (The Panasonic G7). Picked it up to record a panel a friend and I were doing, went really well. But went with the DSLM over a Camcorder because I wanted to get into photography and Cosplay seemed fun!

Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots. I suppose you'd call them hall shots since I didn't set up a backdrop or anything like that. I did process these photos in lightroom, tweaked the exposure, saturation etc to get the look I wanted (Removed some acne on some shots etc). Though I tried to get it right in camera with each shot as much as I could. I have a few ideas for how I'd like to improve on them, but I'm open to any critique.

I'd love to know what you're favorite shots are, or what style you like to go for an why. I'm still new to this and learning, but it's a lot of fun.


Tinker Smirk (P.2015-10-31.00013) by ZATZAi, on Flickr


Tick Tock (P.2015-11-01.00014) by ZATZAi, on Flickr


Shy Espeon (P.2015-11-01.00008) by ZATZAi, on Flickr


Look, Over There! (P.2015-10-31.00021) by ZATZAi, on Flickr

I guess the biggest thing I could do to improve my shots would be to have more time with the subject. Each time I only had 5 or 10 minutes because it was a hall shot or it immediately followed a video interview. I would love to be able to spend 30 minutes with a Cosplayer in a better setting experimenting with different shots. I also didn't have any lighting for my shots, had a speedlight with me but didn't use it. I think I'd prefer a continuous light in the future as that would work better with my camera cage than the flash.

Are there opportunities to shoot Cosplayers between cons? Or do I have to wait for the next convention. I would love more opportunities to shoot in the coming months.
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Last edited by ZATZAi : 04-10-2016 at 07:36 AM. Reason: Fixed Formatting
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Unread 11-08-2015, 05:07 AM   #2
TykeJack
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Try taking pictures from different heights, like crouching, instead of just standing straight up.
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Unread 11-14-2015, 01:30 AM   #3
StarsOfCassiopeia
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ZATZAi-- those are pretty solid hall shots, especially for your first time! If I got a hall shot like that back, I would definitely be pleased.

If you're normally in California, you're super lucky-- there are TONS of events going on in that area. Cospix's Map Tool should get you started, and definitely look at Animecons.com for events near you as well.

Also, poke around on Facebook for area cosplay groups-- I know many cities have groups where people post gatherings, and cosplayers generally love having talented photographers around when they've bothered to get all dressed up!
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Unread 11-17-2015, 07:30 PM   #4
cosplaycentric
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TykeJack View Post
Try taking pictures from different heights, like crouching, instead of just standing straight up.
Totally agree with this point.

Also - depending on how comfortable you are with approaching cosplayers, see if you can bring them to a specific area (outdoors, certain walls/windows, etc...) for a change in background. I also see that most of the shots are from midsection-up. Try zooming out or standing back or getting closer to the subject to create different depths.

I am also curious about what you had in mind for a continuous light - I am not sure about all cons, but some don't allow a "studio set-up", i.e. light stands, backdrops, etc... Try getting a diffuser for your speedlight if you want to soften it. That, or maybe a reflector that is easily collapsible.

Best wishes on the beginning of your cosplay photography! It looks like you have a solid start And I love the Tinkerbell photo.
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Unread 11-22-2015, 03:06 PM   #5
ZATZAi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TykeJack View Post
Try taking pictures from different heights, like crouching, instead of just standing straight up.
That's a very good tip. I only took a few shots at different heights at Comikaze, I need to get more liberal with my camera movement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarsOfCassiopeia View Post
ZATZAi-- those are pretty solid hall shots, especially for your first time! If I got a hall shot like that back, I would definitely be pleased.

If you're normally in California, you're super lucky-- there are TONS of events going on in that area. Cospix's Map Tool should get you started, and definitely look at Animecons.com for events near you as well.

Also, poke around on Facebook for area cosplay groups-- I know many cities have groups where people post gatherings, and cosplayers generally love having talented photographers around when they've bothered to get all dressed up!
Thanks, it really is a lot of fun to take these pictures. That's a neat site, I will definitely use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cosplaycentric View Post
Totally agree with this point.

Also - depending on how comfortable you are with approaching cosplayers, see if you can bring them to a specific area (outdoors, certain walls/windows, etc...) for a change in background. I also see that most of the shots are from midsection-up. Try zooming out or standing back or getting closer to the subject to create different depths.

I am also curious about what you had in mind for a continuous light - I am not sure about all cons, but some don't allow a "studio set-up", i.e. light stands, backdrops, etc... Try getting a diffuser for your speedlight if you want to soften it. That, or maybe a reflector that is easily collapsible.

Best wishes on the beginning of your cosplay photography! It looks like you have a solid start And I love the Tinkerbell photo.
At Comikaze I was pretty rushed as the shots were taken between interviews and events my friend and I were doing. But I've gone to one other event since then and still sorta did the same thing with the "Hall Shots". I need to get more comfortable taking my time with the Cosplayers. Right now I feel like I am keeping them from something so I try to get a few shots in over just a couple minutes before letting them go.

I do think that can be good for people who are in a rush, but I guess I need to start asking if people are willing to do a mini photo-shoot (Is that right?). Where we do a bunch of shots over time at a different spot or some such. At the last event I went too (Cosplay Expo) a friend who Cosplays went with me and I did many many different shots of them in different poses and in different places over the course of the day, and I'm pretty happy with how those are turning out (Still editing them though).

Regarding continuous light. I was thinking like a on camera Rotolight or Rotolight Neo. Maybe even something on a magic arm that I can swivel around. Just to use as a fill or key light as needed.
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Unread 11-22-2015, 04:01 PM   #6
ZATZAi
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Huh I coulda swore I posted a reply a bit ago. Maybe my posts are still getting auto-moderated? Well I'll just write up my reply again and if it becomes a double post I'll delete this.

Taking pictures are different heights is a great suggestion. I took a few like that but not many and rejected a lot of them in Lightroom. I definitely need to get more comfortable moving into different spots and positions. Get the camera off the monopod and into my hands and all that.

Regarding continuous lighting, I was thinking like a Rotolight or a Rotolight Neo. Something I can put on a coldshoe on my camera cage or on the end of a magic arm. Something I can use to fill in someone's face when the lighting isn't ideal. So far I have been relying on my f1.7 lense for that and it works but would like to get more options. I have a external flash but I am still learning how to use that.

I feel like my biggest hangup is feeling rushed...

At Comikaze the shots I took were after an interview, between events or when the con was over. But I always had to keep moving as we had a full schedule. So I would only spend 5-10 minutes at most taking pictures. I've been to a second event now (Cosplay Expo) and this time I was not rushed but I still felt rushed. I felt like I didn't want to hold the Cosplayer up for too long, so I would get my shot and move on.

That's something I feel I need to work on. Though it's good to get some quick shots, I don't want all my pictures to start feeling the same because of that (And I can see that happening if I don't evolve). Maybe I should start asking for mini-photo shoots or however one puts it where I spend 20-30 minutes with the Cosplayer doing different things.

One thing new I did that I liked a lot is at Cosplay Expo a friend who Cosplays went with me. I was able to spend the whole day with them getting lots of different shots in different places with different lenses and filters etc. That was really great and really let me practice some different types of shot with the camera. Those photos I am still editing but I'll put a few up later for further critique.
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Unread 12-22-2015, 05:38 PM   #7
cosplaycentric
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Quote:
I need to get more comfortable taking my time with the Cosplayers. Right now I feel like I am keeping them from something so I try to get a few shots in over just a couple minutes before letting them go.
I completely understand what you mean. A way I try to work around that is ask them for a couple of photographs, and then agree to meet up again later at a specified area. The more you photograph the more comfortable you will get so just keep it up!
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