Friday, December 17, 2010

Cosplay Photography: Basic tips to improve your pictures at con

Anime Conventions are very hectic, I know this from personal experience running conventions and from an attendee's perspective. In these conventions, there are people who wear amazing outfits from anime, manga, video games, goth lolita and a variety of other styles. The amount of people over in an  Anime Convention wearing such amazing outfits means that the cosplay photographer is always in a rush, here are some basic tips to make your photograph looks better.

Tip #1: Fill the frame with your subject

As you can see in the shot in the left of a Kanon cosplayer from Anime Los Angeles, it is best to fill the shot your subject. Depending on the cosplayers outfit, it would be a good idea to do a shot of the upper body to emphasize the upper body and the waist. It also makes it harder for the person who is viewing the image to wander off the cosplayer to the background.

The cosplayer put a lot of time and effort into making the outfit, the least you can do is to fill your picture with the time and effort they have put into making the outfit.

Tip #2: Subject Isolation

This gwendolyn cosplayer was shot with a 24-70L at f2.8
As you can see in this shot, isolating the subject from the background makes for a very pleasing picture.

It is very hard to do this with a regular point and shoot because of the small sensor size. On an APS-C or a Full-Frame SLR it is much easier to create subject isolation. The rule of thumb for SLR's is that there is more subject isolation with larger apertures.

With larger apertures you can create a blurred background (known as bokeh). In my personal experience a zoom lens with a constant f2.8 creates very pleasing bokeh. A prime lens such as a 35mm f1.4 or a 50mm f1.2 creates great bokeh. The downside of such primes is that under f2.0 the depth of field is so small that the chance of error increases exponentially.

Tip #3: Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a basic composition tool that if used well, can produce some amazing photographs. The idea is that you split the frame into three equal parts both horizontally and vertically. On one of the lines you have the subject on there and when you have each line intersect you have a main point where you want the viewer to look at.

This is a rule that is easy to break once you get a handle of good composition, but when done right it always impresses.

In Conclusion
Photography during an Anime Convention is hectic, which means that each shot is important. As long as you follow these basic tips your cosplay pictures will always be fun and interesting to look at.

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