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Unread 06-11-2012, 09:30 PM   #1
skuggi
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The last cosplay pic I took.



I'll throw this one up as I don't know any other cosplay photographers around me. This was one of the last images I took this year at tekko. I still feel like I always should improve and work on my style in any form of photography I'm doing and now it's getting closer to otakon so any critique is welcome so I can work on it and formulate new ideas before hand.

All post work was in LR4.
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Unread 08-14-2012, 04:22 AM   #2
Aeviking
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Well, it isn't a bad photo. But I was wondering, how is the girl's guitar? Obviusly, she had done a lot of work on it, and the photo doesn't show it.
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Unread 08-15-2012, 10:32 AM   #3
Starflux
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I think thats a keyblade, but yeah it would've been nice to see it all as she probably worked hard on it.
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Unread 08-15-2012, 05:47 PM   #4
skuggi
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i agree, and I can't remember now, but this was one of two cases, 1st was it was when I was stupid and forgot my zoom so I was only shooting prime. or 2nd this was the girl with the drooping keyblade as it took some damage during the con... I'm thinking it was the first since this was outside and i didn't want to back up into traffic. (That's a good lesson to remember, know what's behind you).

Thanks for the comments I completely agree, I should have tried to work a better angle or attempted to get them to setup elsewhere but that is a part I have to work on, I'm always worried I'll be making someone feel pressured and delaying them from stuff they want to do at the con.
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Unread 08-15-2012, 07:59 PM   #5
nathancarter
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Come C&C:
Great job with the exposure. Settings look good. I snooped in the EXIF a little bit, and wow, that's about the best you can wring out of the ol' XTi. Really nice work in the noise reduction too, I would not have guessed it was 1600ISO on the XTi... that's really pushing that little guy to its limits.

Based on the catchlights in the eyes and the shadow on the wall, it looks like a hotshoe flash (maybe with a small diffuser?), mixed with a little bit of ambient/room light source - so nice job with that, it doesn't have that "deer in the headlights" look that one can get by trying to blow away all the ambient with the flash.

Good job getting the focus on the girl's eyes, but with the guy standing behind her, it looks like his face falls a bit out of the plane of focus. You MIGHT have been able to close down the aperture a stop and crank up the flash power a stop, but that's really pushing your mix of flash and ambient. A better solution might have been to give gentle direction to push her back a bit and lean him forward over her shoulder, to put their faces both in the same plane.

I would have really liked to see a more dramatic pose or at least some more intense facial expressions... but posing others is tough, especially giving direction to random strangers at a con where you only have fifteen seconds to build a rapport. It's also tough to direct "characters" that you're not familiar with, but they may have known some better in-character poses than just "stand there and smile."

If you're using a flash, don't forget you can "drag the shutter" to use a slow shutter speed and still freeze them with the flash. So you could have them moving, swinging their blades, etc, and when you pop the flash they're frozen. Set the flash to 2nd-curtain and you get a small ghost trail leading up to the frozen pose. So, you may have been able to get a more dramatic, action-y pose by doing that. But, if their props are falling apart, that might not have been feasible.

Anyway. Great work wringing the best you can get out of the XTi. Technically, it's quite good, but a more dramatic pose and facial expressions would have really taken it up a notch.
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Unread 08-15-2012, 08:33 PM   #6
skuggi
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Thanks Nathan! You nailed my camera down, and yes it was with a 430ex ii w/a stofen diffuser. This was at tekko where I finally decided I needed to upgrade my gear lol. I'm now running a 60d my only L is a 24-105, hoping to have a 16-35 f/2.8 before the next con.

I extremely suck at posing and positioning during a con, I really need to work on that or at least figure a way to take some of the poses I would normally setup and adapt them so they would be quick. No where close to knowing where to start on that.

I never thought of trying 2nd curtain like that for anything, awesome tip thanks again!

Last edited by skuggi : 08-15-2012 at 08:35 PM. Reason: forgot to put w/a stofen
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Unread 08-15-2012, 08:53 PM   #7
nathancarter
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The 60D is a really nice and competent camera, you'll get a lot out of it. 6400ISO is quite usable if you nail the exposure - but if you miss the exposure it's tough to recover anything. I started with the XTi, upgraded to a 60D, then three weeks ago I blew my entire annual bonus on a 5D3.

Directing and posing is tough. I'm finally starting to get semi-comfortable at it, and it's taken a lot of work. Study photos you like, study clothing catalogs and magazine ads, watch posing videos... and just practice. I'm usually pretty quiet and introverted, but I've had to really FORCE myself to come out of my shell to get better at directing and posing others.

For cons, maybe learn a few general-purpose poses that work for a variety of characters, and suggest them to any cosplayer who doesn't have a pre-set pose for their character.
- Have them hold the weapon/prop out toward the lens, but still focus on the eyes. See example one, below.
- For girls, flash the ol' V-sign (two fingers) and do an exaggerated wink. So cliche, but often works and can be very cute.
- For facial expressions, an extremely exaggerated facial expression usually looks great on a cosplayer, but you have to be watchful for any facial features that don't "play nice" with particular expressions: double chins, extra-wrinkled foreheads, etc. Different expressions work for different people and characters, there's no one-size-fits-all.
- One of my favorite tricks is this: "I'm going to count to three, and on three, I want you to open your eyes as WIDE AS YOU CAN, without moving your eyebrows or wrinkling your forehead" That'll usually get a fun, semi-surprised expression. See example 2, below.
- Do a Youtube search for Peter Hurley's "it's all about the jaw" - his advice is invaluable if you encounter a person who naturally has a little bit of double chin.

I find it helps break the ice and loosen them up if I demonstrate the pose or facial expression for them... especially if I'm demonstrating a "sexy pose" for a female model. That's good for a chuckle.




Example 1 - this is standing on the sidewalk outside our favorite comic shop, on Free Comic Book Day. I used the 60D's wireless flash capability to get the flash (430EXII) off-camera, and had him point the sword at my ear. If I remember right, I was holding the camera with my right hand and holding the flash at arm's length in my left hand.



Example 2 - this is at a staged photo session, but it's one of my favorite successes of the "on three, open your eyes real wide" face. Obviously, I had off-camera flash here, but just wanted to show the facial expression.

Circus.20120618.0747.jpg by nathancarter, on Flickr

Last edited by nathancarter : 08-15-2012 at 09:01 PM.
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