Seeing as this is a topic that has become much more prevalent in my tenure I figured it apt to give perspective readers a helpful guide on Figure Photography. Some of this, if not most will be pulled from prior posts on cosplay photography. I will basically take what knowledge I have learned thus far and share them all with you. Some of this may be more obvious information, while other bits may not be as widely known.
First understand the limitations of your camera and that of your own ability. It should be noted that this is a fundamental lesson that anyone learns when they first get a camera and start to take pictures. Knowing how far you can push your camera and what it is fully capable of is paramount to anything you do. Knowing how it handles certain lighting conditions or shooting modes will help you find a way to take the perfect picture that you want. Knowing to your own ability to create the image as far as composition goes is something that can be a cumbersome lesson. It is troubling enough when you can’t get the image you want when you lack the proper foresight or knowledge during a shoot.
Understand that using flash is not a solution for anything and everything. Okay I have an unhealthy hatred towards using flash as a solution for images. I’m not fully against it as when it is used properly it can create some amazing contrast in your photos and provide some good depth. Just don’t try to drown out your subject in light if you are also trying to maintain highlights from other lighting effects. I love to shoot at a lower ISO (helps get you a crisper image without noise) while using a tripod to steady for that slower shutter speed. Using a cellphone presents its own set is issues as the flash is quite harsh and bright. While it can be muffled, you may need to go a bit beyond the usual use a tissue to muffle it.
Use your environment to the best of your ability, take advantage of what you have. Not everyone has a fancy studio setup so some of us just use a section of our desks (Guilty as charged). This allows you some level on control but a windowsill makes for a good ledge and point of focus/backdrop for your images. Also using lighting for bokeh (small round balls of light one gets in an image) adds another layer of depth. I use an Ikea Dioder set, but stuff like Christmas lights work brilliantly too. They add a nice dimension to an other wise flat image. Even light shining down from another source can work as a nice highlighting effect. Also using other items that your figure can interact with makes for a fun time. Wether that is a gaming mouse, controller, bed or rock; everything little bit helps.
Lastly, just remember to have fun with it all! No photoshoot is fun when you are nothing but serious. Let loose, try out awkward or hilarious poses. While you don’t have to worry about upsetting your model you can still poke fun at the character or make a rather bland shot seeming fun and dazzling anyway you can.
I’ll probably add to this as I go since this is even a topic that I have very little knowledge on. If I have learned one thing from even cosplay photography is that you just have to give it your all. Don’t be afraid to jump out of your shell and into something new. Just think straight and focus on a goal.
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