Not A Fantasy! A Novice’s Guide to Realistic Cosplay Photography

The world of fantasy is so alluring. So imagine if you could find a way to make this fun vibrant world more exciting through photography. With just a few simple steps, you have the chance to become your own favorite anime character and bring the world of cosplay to life. Because you are a lover of anime and the world of fantasy, you already have the creativity and fun spirit required to make a photo shoot a success. Now, with just a few quick and easy tricks, you can get dressed up and started making your own fantasy images come to life.

Here are some tips on how to make your next cosplay photography shoot a success.

  1. Choose your look – You undoubtedly have your favorite cosplay looks, so find the best costume to match your image. This is especially important in your first cosplay shoot as you want to feel confident and comfortable so your strength can come across on film. When choosing your look find something that matches your personality and style. This will make you look more natural on film and keep you feeling good throughout the shoot.
  2. Use props to overcome image concerns – Some people know what they love, but don’t know quite how to match up their look with the look they are going for. With a few simple props, you can make it happen. If you have thick hair, wigs can be burdensome. Wear a wig cap to make your hair stay down and your wig stay looking great. If you are a girl who is well endowed in the legs and thighs simply wear dancer tights to help trim your look and make your legs look more muscular.
  3. Always buy a long wig – It is always a smart idea to buy your wig a little bit longer than you anticipate needing. This way, you have more flexibility to style it how you want. If necessary, you can always cut it but chances are you will not need to.
  4. A perfect body does not equal perfect cosplay – Don’t let your body get you down if it does not look exactly how you would like it. Cosplay has a lot to do with attitude and experience. In fact, to be great at cosplay, you do not have to have the perfect body. Stay confident in your skills and your cosplay will still lead to excellent photos.
  5. Avoid certain looks – Unless your cosplay costume specifically requires the following items, stay far away from them – skinny jeans (wear straight leg jeans instead), shiny fabric, or sticky hair gel for wigs. While it is important to follow the image of your character, do so in such a way that will still look realistic and avoid looking cheap.
  6. Always have a sewing kit or duct tape on hand – Cosplay photo shoots, to look realistic requires movement. This movement can sometimes lead to the ripping or tearing of costumes. Likewise, wigs can come loose, side burns can fall off and other numerous photo shoot bloopers can happen. Don’t let your photo shoot come to an abrupt end simply because you did not have the right materials on hand to quickly fix the problem and get back to shooting.
  7. Practice in front of the mirror – You are going to look great, but to do so most effectively on film, you need to know your best poses, angles and expressions. Spend some time practicing in the mirror on your own where you are most confident so you can nail the look you are going for before meeting up with your friends and fellow cosplayers.
  8. Don’t apply fake blood over carpet – May seem obvious, but many people apply their fake blood to their costumes over carpet and leave stains. This is clearly not a wise decision. Always put the fake blood over a material that won’t stain or apply it outdoors.

For your next cosplay shoot, dress the part of the character you love and have fun with it. The more fun you have with it the better you will come across on film.


Ferina Santos is part of the team behind Open Colleges, Australia’s provider of photography courses. A feisty nerd at heart with an obsession for media and vanity, she captures all her random musings with daily photographs in her blog, A Pink Banana.