Cosplay Photography 101: Equipment You Should Have


 

With the growth of comics, anime, and other graphic art, cosplay (or costume play) has become a popular hobby for many. These fantastic costumes are worn by fans and professionals alike, especially at comic conventions like WonderCon 2023, which see as many as 65,000 attendees. Given so many participants, cosplay events are an excellent place for photographers to capture exciting characters. And if you’re a cosplayer yourself, you’d want to take the best shots possible of yourself in your lovingly made costumes.

Before you can get started, it’s essential to prepare the right gear for photography. Here are some of the equipment all cosplay photographers should have:

 

Camera

Although many smartphone cameras nowadays are made with better quality, nothing can beat the capabilities of a high-resolution camera. Sony’s Alpha a7R V mirrorless camera showcases how quality images don’t have to be captured on a heavy camera. The camera provides 61.0MP still images, including advanced image stabilization that can work with an 8-stop compensation effect and 15 stops of dynamic range, presenting precise details in low light. For outdoor photoshoots, devices like the Pentax K-1 SLR make shoots more convenient as they are waterproof and dustproof. Before buying a camera, consider where you’ll be taking pictures. A mirrorless camera may be more suited for taking pictures at cosplay conventions, whereas a DSLR could be better for formal shoots.

Lens

One essential piece of equipment you should have are interchangeable lenses. Many experts recommend having at least two types of lenses when doing a photoshoot, allowing you to adapt to the style of the shot, be it focused on the subject or inclusive of the environment. Depending on your camera model, you may need a lens mount adapter to fit different brands, such as the Metabones Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Sony E Mount. When photographing at a crowded convention, consider swapping for a lens with a large aperture. They provide the right amount of blur, removing additional distractions and helping your model stand out.

Gimbal

If you’re looking to go beyond photos and incorporate some videos into your shoots, it’s best to invest in a gimbal. These devices can stabilize the camera they’re holding, enabling videographers to make smooth transitions that minimize shake. A gimbal can also be the perfect option for cosplayers wanting to take their self-portraits at unique angles. DJI’s Osmo Mobile 5 smartphone gimbal presents how smart tracking can make phone selfies look good. Their mount design is secure and lightweight, allowing easy shooting with one hand in case you’re holding a cosplay prop in the other. It’s important to note that not all gimbals are built the same, so make sure your camera falls under the weight limit of your stabilizing device.

 

 

 

Diffusion filters

When shooting cosplay, certain characters may come from magical or fantastical origins that benefit from a movie-like look. Diffusion and low-contrast filters can soften images and videos, reducing contrast and creating a more gradual glow or haze of light while maintaining the image’s original sharpness. Some choices have ranging density, such as the Tiffen Black Pro-Mist filter, which has a density of 1/8 to 5, with five being the strongest. It’s important to consider that the strength of the filter should depend on the story your photos are telling, so focus on whether you’re looking for halation rather than diffusion.

Cosplay is an excellent form of art that combines self-expression and love for fictional worlds. Cosplayers make for the perfect photography subjects, given the unique nature and personalities of the characters they represent. Through pictures, people can capture these great moments of shared passion.


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Susana Romero

I love video games. Enough that I don't care about the lingo, the "in" thing, or the crowds and pastimes that typically appeal to gamers. Yes, I call myself a gamer. No, I don't really identify with gamers.

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON