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Unread 07-16-2011, 02:06 AM   #46
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Photography tips for Beginners?

Hey world, so here's my dilemma.

Me and my friends aren't photographers really. We don't have awesome cameras and camera equips, nor do we have umbrellas and lights and all that jazz. We're not really aiming for super-awesome-spectacular-showcase-worthy pictures, just some decent pics we're purpose is mainly to frame the cosplay that we make in a fun and creative way.

Oh, and we're on a budget.

So I was wondering if you guys can give me some tips on amateur photography beyond the 'point, zoom and shoot'. My main concerns are:

1) What camera should I invest in? I need something that is fair for a moderate price (no more than 200-250) that I can use both at conventions and for snapping some personal photos. If it has video recording than bonus. If not then it's no big deal.
2) Is there anything that I can DIY for cheap? (Again, tight budget). I've seen those light reflecting white panels and they seem rather easy to make, but I'd like a second thought on that.
3) What are the major concerns I should focus on when preparing for a photo shoot either as the photographer, the assistant, and the model? (We're going to be switching off)
4) How do you normally find places to shoot?

Any tips will do. Anything would be better than that crappy 'blank white wall, yellowish lighting, in a rush convention photo'. (You know what I'm talking about =~=).

Thanks and with love.
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Unread 07-16-2011, 10:09 AM   #47
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First, do you know what aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and expsoure. If you don't, I highly recommend reading an inexpensive book, "Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera" by Bryan Peterson. It is a short and easy to read book. Once you understand the foundation, it will help you operate your chosen camera better.

Re: Camera
At a budget of $200-$250, your main selection will be point and shoot cameras. I would look into the Canon Powershot line of cameras.

Re: DIY stuff
You can find many tutorials on making DIY light modifiers, etc. here:

Re: Finding places
Read this thread http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=201263

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Unread 07-16-2011, 09:53 PM   #48
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I have absolutely no idea what those words mean, but I'll look them up. Thanks for the book title and the links.

I'm thinking to asking my friends if they want to pool together some money so that we can get a DSLR for our cosplay group, so maybe I'll be able to target the higher scale cameras, but for a personal casual camera I'll look up the Canon Powershot line.
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Unread 07-17-2011, 09:40 AM   #49
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If you are able to get your friends to pool money together, then you can get an entry-level DSLR. Canon and Nikon are the most popular brands, followed by Sony and Olympus. The cheapest entry-level camera from Canon and Nikon is about $500 plus tax. It will come with one lens, but you have to buy a memory card to save photos separately. The camera's packaging will tell you what memory card you need to buy.

Good luck!

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Unread 07-18-2011, 10:18 PM   #50
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For reading, I would recommend the Digital Photography School site to start with, its free and gives you a handle on the basics. Here a link to their beginner articles:


Also look at tons and tons of cosplay photos on Flickr and Deviantart. That will give you ideas on locations, posing and composition.

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Last edited by Rander : 07-18-2011 at 10:20 PM.
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Unread 07-20-2011, 02:15 AM   #51
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Taking better photos does not need a lot of expensive equipment. Start with something decent that is affordable, then learn to make it work. You might consider buying a used DSLR for a much lower cost than new. These cameras get "obsolete" when newer versions come out, but there are some very decent, older DSLRs available. A Canon 20D or 30D might be found in the $350 range. Try looking for some online on Ebay or Craigslist.

Lighting is important, so look and decide if the lighting looks good or not. If not, then move or turn to a different direction where lighting looks more flattering, or whatever effect you are going for. Shooting in the shade often looks better than direct sunlight in the middle of the day. Getting a silver and white reflector will be helpful to bounce light onto your subjects. I found RPS brand to be around $30. They come as a small disc, and fold out to a larger surface; very easy for portability.

Consider everything in your frame when you point your camera. Decide what you want and don't want in the photo. Different angles and different lenses will affect this. Learn about the different lenses and how they can affect your results. Some lenses are wide and show much scenery. Other lenses are like a telescope and concentrate on one or two people, and less scenery.

Aperture: A hole inside a lens that lets more or less lighting through by changing the hole's size. This hole size not only affects exposure of how much light; it also affects how much blur will be seen behind and infront of the subject you focus on.

Shutter: This is like a door opening and closing at different speeds. The faster you open and close it, the less light comes in. Also, a faster shutter will make movement more clear. If the shutter is too slow, camera movement and people movement will be smeared in the image.

ISO: This is the sensetively setting that becomes more sensitive to amounts of light as you choose a higher number. Higher numbers also cause more dots in your photo, so it will be less clear or more noisy looking. Choosing a higher ISO number will allow you to use faster shutter speeds and/or smaller Apeture holes for getting more focusable depth and easier focusing.

Exposure: This is about how bright your photo is from bright highlights, mid-tones(medium) , and dark areas like shadows and dark colored subjects. With different settings of Aperture, Shutter, and ISO, you can change the exposure to be brighter or darker.

Last edited by brucer007 : 07-20-2011 at 12:46 PM.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 07:31 PM   #52
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Winking for a photo?

So my cosplay is going to be the sassy pirate, Tetra from the Windwaker. Her signature pose is having her arms crossed and winking. I know she has some other poses, but how cool would it be to have a winking photo? So, anyone have any tips on winking long enough for a snapshot? And if my brother photographs me, it might take forever! :U
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Unread 08-19-2011, 03:10 AM   #53
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Honestly, all I can think is to practice it. It'd be an exaggerated wink on your part, and you'd hold in the most extreme part of it. One thing I notice I do personally when I wink is that I raise my cheek on the side where my eye closes, so when you feel that your cheek is at the highest it'll get, you're probably at the right place to just not move.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 01:00 AM   #54
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I can't imagine winking for a photo would be a problem. I know there is a slight delay when using a point-and-shoot camera as it focuses, but I would think most people can hold a wink for 5 seconds without much strain. If not, then wink just before the photographer is ready.
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Unread 08-23-2011, 07:18 PM   #55
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Just wear an eyepatch and say you were winking, lol.
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Unread 08-23-2011, 07:56 PM   #56
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@StarlightJumper: That's a good idea, I'll try practicing it in front of a mirror. Thanks for the advice!
@brucer007: I'll try! Thanks for the advice!
@Nighthawk871: Ohlol, good idea. xD
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Unread 08-28-2011, 03:10 PM   #57
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My dslr is a nikon, but with your price range, you are wanting a point and and shoot camera. IMO Canon has the best point and shoot camera, and on their website, they have a refurbished section you can buy from. http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs...10051_-1_12163 I suggest browsing around here.
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Unread 08-31-2011, 04:03 PM   #58
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Agreed. You really want to consider upping your price range or perhaps consider looking at craigslist for a steal deal.

If you are learning for the first time:
Canon's EOS Rebel line (most likely the T2i)
Nikon D40 (Which was my very first camera, easy to use and LEARN! and only 300 dollars)
Nikon D3000

You can try looking at these to see what you like and dislike of each camera.
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Unread 09-02-2011, 05:13 PM   #59
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Rule of Thirds, Golden Ratio helps your photos look more appealing.
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Unread 09-08-2011, 09:05 PM   #60
I can't wait to cosplay!!
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Hey any good tips for the starting cosplayer?
Can't decide who to cosplay as for my first try!!!!!!

Last edited by Jazzmin-anime : 09-08-2011 at 09:10 PM.
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