There comes a day where we being to realize that we either take great pictures or are interested in taking pictures of others in cosplay. It is a section of the anime world that we visit on an annual basis and it is one that can open a door of endless possibilities. It can also be quite intimidating taking pictures for strangers as you begin to tango with quality and expectations. Besides the stress of approaching and making sure quality is present, what do you even use to take those pictures? Do you use your phone, DSLR, point and shoot or polaroid? Really anything you have is better than nothing. Considering most smartphones have superb cameras these days you are better off using what you already have on you. If you are looking for much more flexibility and depth then a Point and shoot or DSLR will work best for you. Also an exhaustible amount of patience is required; no questions asked.

With that being said you can still get by with just your phone. My very first Naka-Kon was covered purely off my iPhone 6s+. It did everything that I needed just fine and it was something that I already had on me. Sure I looked odd with a mini-tripod on it, but it did the job. Newer smartphones like the Google Pixel 2 XL, Note 8 or iPhone X has excellent portrait modes and zoom lens, so you get quality built right into the phone you currently own. That’s pretty sweet and a win win for you. If you happen to own or will own a more traditional camera, go with one that you feel most comfortable with. DSLR’s will allot you a better space for expansion and creative shots while the point and shoot… well it points and shoots.

The next thing you need to note when starting is realizing that the learning curve starts as soon as you start to take pictures. Conventions are busy and the cosplayers you stop have other things on their mind. Don’t hold them longer than needed and be quick. Auto mode comes equipped on all phones and cameras and is your best friend. Manual on DSLR’s and Pro Mode on select smartphones, will allow you better control over your lighting and focus depth. Be mindful that it takes sometime to learn what settings work versus the ones that don’t. You won’t grasp it in one convention and I encourage you to go to others or even local gathering to practice your manual modes. YouTube is an awesome friend and should be a priority for first time DSLR owners. With that all said just because your image doesn’t turn out like mine, doesn’t mean it is bad.

Like any art form, photography is something that develops differently in other people. Some will utilize flash in their images to draw out certain details, while others (like myself) opt for clever use of what lighting is available. Each method will result in vastly different images depending on what camera you are using and what lens you use. Each lens will allow you a more optimal angel and can help you to achieve that great bokeh everyone loves. Everyone will find something they love in the lighting or lens types that they use. Smartphones even have their own twist on image outcome and can look sharper than even a higher end camera. They won’t allot you massive definition or detail but they do good enough for the casual photographer. I personally feel that the photos I take aren’t anything impressive when compared to Cosplay in America’s work, but we each have our own style that we opt for.

The point is that to get into photography, especially cosplay photography, it will be entirely up to what you are wanting/expecting out of it. Do you want to look professional and sharp? You might want to consider an investment towards a beefier camera. If you do it out of just a spur of the moment love for it, then a smartphone works just good. Either way you go you are entering into a world of photography that is vibrant and varied.

Featured pictures in descending order: Naka-Kon 2016 (iPhone 6s+), Naka-Kon 2017 (Nikon D5500) & Anime NebrasKon 2017 (Nikon D5500)


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