Costuming and makeup are just the first steps towards a great cosplay photo shoot, so the Japanese camera maker is here to help with the rest.
Go to the website of any camera manufacturer or flip through one of its brochures, and there are a handful of images you can expect to see in an attempt to convince you to drop some cash on a sweet new SLR. Wildlife close-ups often make an appearance, as do wide-angle shots of a dazzling cityscape, verdant mountain, or pristine coastline. You’ll also almost always spot a few pictures of babies or young kids, specifically chosen to tug on the heart/purse strings of parents and grandparents.
But right now on its website Nikon is showing off something else budding photographers love turning their lens on: cosplay.
Just like there’s a trick to photographing still life or on-field sports action, cosplay photography has its own set of things to keep in mind while snapping shots of costumed models. So to help, Nikon is creating a series of Cosgenic (from “cosplay” and “photogenic”) Lessons, featuring professional photographer Yoriko Inoue and cosplay model Rinami
▼ Inoue (right) and Rinami (center)
The first lesson lays the groundwork for good cosplay photography, staring with a reminder that it’s important to not only get the clothing, makeup, and hairstyling looking accurate to the source material, but to also consider the personality of the character being portrayed. Compared to standard modeling, cosplay has a heavier “acting” aspect to it, and the subject’s posture and posing will need to differ depending on whether the character is, for instance, demure or energetic in nature.
▼ Same model, same costume, but two very different emotional effects.
The positioning of the camera itself can also make a huge difference in the feeling the photo conveys. Shooting straight-on is obviously the simplest way to do things, and can be the best method to create a feeling of proximity between the viewer and the subject.
Busting out a ladder or stepstool, though, can make the cosplayer look diminutively, disarmingly cute.
Conversely, a low angle will add an aura of strength, or, depending on the model’s facial expression, arrogance or intimidation.
And finally, you can’t forget about the effect your background will have. If your goal is to make the colors of the model’s clothing and hair pop like their animated counterparts, consider a background that doesn’t have hues that will compete with them for attention.
And just like a good illustrator will use the lines of the background to create the intended atmosphere, so too can a talented cosplay photographer use them to give a sense of isolated depth…
…or intense, almost intimate closeness.
No doubt experienced photographers already know many of these tactics, but this is just the first round of Nikon’s Cosgenic Lesson series. Lesson 2 is set to unveiled in early April, and we can’t wait to learn more.