Superhero Hype Cosplay: Practical Cosplay Photography
Note From the Editor: This week, cosplay photographer Pat Loika is back, and he’s sharing several pics as he explains his approach to cosplay photography, and how to get the most out of practical and studio environments.
Cosplay Photography is a really fun form of photography. It’s even more fun if you have a working knowledge of the characters you are taking photos of.
There is no right or wrong way to take a photo, as long as the photo is true to the character, and is flattering for your subject. Unless, of course, the intent is to present the opposite.
That being said, while I am mostly known for creating composite images that marry photos with photoshop, you can’t get to that point without a working knowledge of taking simple photos in the real world.
The most common place to encounter cosplay is at a comic convention, so we’ll start there.
This shot of Batman (@fanboybrandon), Batgirl (@XKiraKelly) and Robin (@Mauldalorian47) was taken outside of where DragonCon is usually held in Atlanta, at a nearby park. The park is usually busy, as everyone wants to shoot at a location that does not look like a hotel lobby, and with less crowds.
Usually, you’ll find a crowd at the park anyway, but with some creative composition and cropping, you can get that all out and have a photo featuring only your characters.
Finding different locations at cons to take cosplay photos can be a fun exercise. I remember discovering this spot that could double as a jungle or lake area close to the San Diego Convention Center, and it’s become one of my go to spots for photos.
This Black Widow (@GenevieveMarieCosplay) shot was taken at that location, since it looks close enough like a Wakandan jungle like the one where the major battle took place in Avengers: Infinity War.
Speaking of cons, aside from the convention center, sometimes a hotel can provide you with a good spot to take fun photos.
Kitty Pryde (@RealAmandaLynne) looks to be in her environment in this shot, as she sneaks into a room. This was taken in a hotel room by the balcony.
Of course, you don’t always have to shoot at a con. Sometimes you can simply set up a photoshoot out in the world.
This of course depends on whether or not you or the cosplayer is comfortable enough to be out in public in costume, and with the attention that it will likely get.
This shot of Laura Kinney’s Wolverine (@CaitlinContagious) was taken at an open field in North Carolina, basically, in the middle of nowhere.
Some locations can be advantageous and you can work without being disturbed.
Speaking of working without being disturbed, my personal preference is to work in a studio. There are many advantages to it, in particular, the ability to control things like lighting conditions, or room temperature. Costumes can be hot, and shooting outside can be a more strenuous activity than it should be.
You also need not worry about shooting permits or getting hassled by anyone, or the amount of time you spend at a certain spot.
Lighting is one of the most important ingredients of taking a good photo. Lighting can absolutely improve or ruin any shot you take. No matter how well you compose your shot, or how cool the pose is, the photo is nothing without good lighting.
You can also experiment with doing practical effects.
This shot of the Scarlet Witch (@jinglebooboo) was accomplished by having an assistant throw the cape up to simulate wind. It’s a basic, but very effective practical effect.
Most studios also offer backdrops and setups that you can use to enhance your shots.
Model: @jinri_88 as Chun Li
If you can afford to rent one, I highly recommend a studio. It’s a good way to learn, and without some of the pressures of doing photoshoots in public locations.
Model: @VampyBitMe as Psylocke
Whatever the case may be, if you are looking to try taking cosplay photos, I encourage you to try and approach it your own way.
Model: @MaidofMight as the White Queen
In the end, cosplay, and cosplay photography is meant to be fun.
Model: @MaidofMight as the Invisible Woman
If you are enjoying yourself and creating the type of photos and images you like, then you’re doing something right!
Model: @RealAmandaLynne as Phoenix
RELATED: Superhero Hype Cosplay: Black Widow
Next time around, we’ll get into combining photography with the magic of modern technology and photo editing software.