Everybody knows Team Tux — they have been around for a while but have become part of the more recent internet zeitgeist thanks to their BIG HERO 6 and OREMONOGATARI!!! cosplay photosets. While Jin, Miguel, and the rest of the team are known for their on-cam antics, very little is known about their go-to-guy behind the lens, Reskiy.
Reskiy is a talented amateur photographer who helps set up and shoot many of Team Tux’s most notable cosplays. With years of experience plus a special passion for toy and cosplay photography, Reskiy is delighted to help fellow amateurs get their start on cosplay photography with these five simple and easy to follow tips.
Be on the same page as your subject
Let your subject know how you’re shooting them and how you’re framing them… Kinda sounds like something a terrible Bond villain would do… Anyhoo. Doing this makes your subject aware of what part of their body is in the frame so they can be more mindful of their posing. Keep communicating with them and make sure they’re comfortable! And show them the shots you’ve taken so far. They’ll appreciate it! And the following shots will only get better!
Poses & facial expression
Help your subject with a pose or expression they’re comfortable with doing. Tou ching is never necessary for posing them. These are people, not figures. If you’re struggling to convey a pose or expression through direction, try demonstrating it yourself and work from there. If something like stray hair or wrinkled cloth needs adjusting, let them know about it and ask them if they’re comfortable with you helping them. Otherwise, they can do it themselves.
Tip for cosplayers: Bring a small mirror to shoots. It’s much quicker and handier to use than your phone’s selfie cam for nailing that expression or retouching!
Know what you’re shooting
Do your best to familiarize yourself with the source material and character you’re shooting. If you aren’t, you can always ask your subject for ideas. Unless they don’t know what they’re cosplaying either… Then I dunno… Google? Kidding!
Naturally, both the photographer and cosplayer should be familiar with the source material and character they’re shooting. As a photographer however, you will need to make sure you’re getting more than just the character’s representation right. If you have time to research even a bit of the story and images from the source material, it can only help! Otherwise, you might risk shooting the subject out-of-character or creating a mood inconsistent with the source material’s story unintentionally.
Use references for inspiration
Have some image references handy for quick ideas. It doesn’t even have to be from the same source material as the cosplay. This could be useful for poses, facial expressions, lighting, angles, etc. You can use as little or as much of the reference as you want for the final image, or even recreate everything as accurately as you can. It’s up to you!
Location & backdrop
The location, backdrop, and surroundings can really help make a cosplay shot feel even more engaging. If you’re shooting Winnie the Pooh and are fortunate enough to be near some woods – then great! Use it! But whether you are indoors, outdoors, in the woods, or at the event floor, always place everyone’s comfort and safety first.
If you’re in a public place, do your best to get the shots you need without causing any disruption. Shooting in an area where you know you’re close to a bathroom is good too. Unless you are in the woods, then I guess you’re free to “Pooh” anywhere… Haha. Mature. Manure…
Bonus Tip: Have fun and be passionate about what you’re shooting!
More often than not, you can tell how much a photographer or cosplayer is into their work just by looking at their pictures. Sometimes it isn’t even about the costumes, make-up, location, source material, composition, post-production, etc. Those things are very important, yes – but what holds it all together is the almost tangible sensation you get from looking at an image done by people that truly love what they do. I know it’s cheesy! But never forget to have fun! /endcheese
Thanks very much to Reskiy and the rest of Team Tux for this Guest Post.