I’d be the first to admit that I’m far from the best cosplayer around, and I’m even further away from the best at posing for photos in the cosplay world. But during my time as a cosplayer I’ve learned a lot about how to look great in the front of camera, and perhaps even more importantly, what you definitely should NOT do.
So, while some of my experience probably will not turn you into the next Top Model, it might help some in at least not committing the most basic faux-pas.
1. Face Angle
Your face can turn towards the source of light. It might be the sun, a light bulb or the flash. Remember that light will cast shadows, and even if they are slight, they will affect the appearance of your face. If light is coming from the top, tilting your nose down may cause your brow bone to cast a shadow over your eyes, which is good if you’re going for a sinister shot, but not good if you’re trying to look friendly.The only exception is the case when you have to transmit a tragic feeling and atmosphere with the shadows on your face.
The most important thing is that you need to know Your Angles. Generally it’s better to put your face at an angle, and look at the camera from that proper angle. You should learn which angles flatter your face the most. Experiment in front of a mirror by tilting your head up and to the side a little. Or with your own camera to see which angles make the most interesting shots on your face. Moreover,point your nose away from the camera and looking at the camera straight on, it can work in some dramatic shots. Tilt your nose a little up or down, a little left or right, but keep your gaze on that camera.
Now, while the three-quarter stance is a great rule-of-thumb it doesn’t always work with whatever pose you might want to do. And, as mentioned before, it’s also about knowing YOUR angels. While the three-quarter angle may look good on the majority of people, you might be the exception! So,take the time and learn in what angles your body look the best. There are some things that you ought to avoid:
- Don’t lift your chin too much – your face will seem round.
- Don’t lower it that much either – your neck will seem shorter.
- Don’t wear the glasses with the lenses – there will be lens flares
2. Body Language
An important aspect of cosplay is being able to personify your character through your body language and gestures. It’s for this reason we believe that you ought to really get to know the character they intend to cosplay. If you’re going to invest time and money on something, better make it worth your while, right? Considering that cosplay is a community activity, it’s also something that will inevitably expose you to other people. I don’t think you wants to hear, “OH YOU F&@$#^% POSER HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO MY FAVORITE CHARACTER!”
So if you’re gonna to attend a cosplay event like comic con, it’s inevitable that people are going to want to take pictures of you. That recorded image is how you will be remembered by the person who took the photo, along with everyone else who might view it (because those pictures usually end up online). I know only a very select few who would prefer to leave people with a bad taste in their mouths rather than good memories.Here I provide some important parts you should pay attention to:
Hands also play a big role on a photograph, usually we don’t know what to do with them. It will look bad in the picture if you splay your fingers out. Try to hold them together. But if your character usually splays fingers out, like Lelouch, it will be appropriate on the photograph. Put them on your hip, point off in the distance, touch some part of your costume, hold your sword, play with your wig/hair, etc. Having them hang by your side is NOT interesting, especially for the person who will end up looking/sharing the picture later.
And I also don’t suggest you turn the elbows towards the camera, it will make your hand look shorter, and sometimes it even seems that they don’t grow from the place they’re supposed to. Try to keep your hands busy. It will relax you in front of the camera and give your photograph a meaning. That’s why it’s better to bring props to a photo shoot.
Remember: Don’t separate your legs too much – If you stand, lean on the leg you’ve placed at the back. It will make the hip look smaller. It’s better to stand at the angle of 45 degrees to the camera. If you sit, don’t squeeze your legs under the chair.
Try to Observe the difference between poses: Men pose wider, and women poses are more flexible. Look at the other cosplayers photos and analyze them. That will help you to understand where to put every part of your body. Everybody has his own comfortable poses that we use in everyday life, so it is better to start with them, than you will feel comfortable, and then experiment.
SOME PRACTICAL ADVICE
AT last, I’ll provide you with some practical advice that is necessary to every cosplayer. And you must keep it in mind to avoid sucky pictures:
- Be creative
This takes a great amount of practice, but don’t be afraid to use a table nearby or a chair or even the floor to help your pose. This is a lot of help if you’re an active character and you want cool poses. For example, lean against a rail or put a hand on it or sprawl yourself against a nearby column. (This will depend on how much space you have, of course. Please don’t hurt anyone else around you.)
- DO NOT SLOUCH
It shouldn’t matter if you slouch in your normal life. If you’re posing half-heartedly you might as well not be posing at all! Give it your all!
- Exaggerate your pose
Do a pose that feels natural and then STRETCH it. If the pose feels normal, you’re doing it wrong and it won’t show up! I’m a dancer, I know that what you feel in your body will NOT be seen/felt by the audience unless you exaggerate the motion. What you think might be a nice little hand-on-hip pose might not show up as anything but you standing there.
- Don’t do the peace-sign pose
Every new cosplayer does it regardless of it fitting the character’s personality or not. It’s the most boring thing ever! Just try to minimize your use of it, especially if it isn’t a trademark pose of your chosen character.
- Have fun
It sounds stupid to end all these “how-to” guides with this, but it’s TRUE. Being in a bad or sad mood isn’t something you can just hide on camera. If you’re feeling insecure and scared, your body and your face will probably look that way regardless of what you’re dressed as. Relax, be silly, laugh a little.
This is one of the bad things that the big kids sometimes do. Okay, wait, wait, I’ll be somewhat serious. Try to avoid doing rude hand gestures for the sake of common decency. Though if it’s appropriate for your character (like Onizuka) just be aware of your audience. If there are little kids around, don’t do it.