I don't think your photos look much the same. In the 4 samples you provided, I saw quite a variety of compositions, angles and tones.
#1 This pose didn't tell me a story, as your other shots did. The cosplayer is just sitting there, without any apparent emotion. Maybe looking up or down would bring something more.
The composition seems a bit too centered for such a side-angle. Leaving more room in front of the direction the cosplayer is looking would be a stronger framing. The shirt is blown out too bright.
#2 The low angle on Lightning gives a heoric feel. Her facial expression seems in-character. Her leaning forward adds interest to the pose and bring her hair forward in a very anime manner. Cropping her hands out feels awkward. I would like to see her hands. I love the background elements; nature in the bottom/left corner, and modern-looking metal architecture with tinted glass above her in the opposite corner. The diagonal of the metal works well with her forward pose.
#3 The high-angle over-the-shoulder angle is very effective to help convey the vulnerability in the pilot. The facial expression feel like a real moment. The black and white imagery give an older look, which goes well with the costume. The lighting looks fine, showing the face very clearly. Perhaps a more moody, shadowy lighting could add more drama to this scene, but I like it as it is too.
#4 The location, composition, and the poses have an epic feel. The modern buildings add a lot to this effect. The vertical composition shows the grandness of the tall buildings. I don't mind the city being blown out a bit bright in this situation, but maybe a bit darker on the city would be ideal. Moving the camera closer to the cosplayers would make them larger and would have a lower angle herioc effect, and would make their feet fill the lower part of the picture.
An off-camera strobe system would be a great way of controlling lighting. I use a camera flash put on a light stand, bounced into a white silk umbrella. Umbrellas can be great for wide spread, soft lighting, but wind can blow them down. Sand bags can help, but also add heavy bulk to carry around. Soft boxes are less likely to get blown down. Umbella softboxes might be the best solution. Plan out carefully the angle you think will give you a nice effect. I like to place my lights 45 degrees to 90 degrees to the side of the cosplayer to get a 3D shadow effect. The lighting will look flat if it is placed close to the camera.. That can be fine for standard or glamour portraits as it reduces shadow on your subjects.
Last edited by brucer007 : 04-08-2011 at 01:50 PM.