Are you bored of doing cosplay photoshoots at the same conventions all the time? Do you scroll through your social media, look at your friend’s cosplay photos and be like, “Damn everyone takes their photos at that damn location!” Do you feel like it’s time to be more original? You want to take photos in a location that’s not only cooler, but will also make your photos look better? If that’s the case, then this post will be for you.
In this article, I’ll go through 15 cosplay photoshoot ideas for you! There are many creative ways to get cosplay photos, hence the reason for this post.
By choosing a fun and awesome location, you’ll make your cosplay photos stand out from the rest. Here we go!
1. Inside a private studio
The first cosplay photoshoot ideas you should definitely consider is a private studio, of course. I know that it might sound cliche, but it truly is a great place to take photos!
There are many dedicated indoor rooms in your local area that are completely setup to do photoshoots like yours. Not only are these rooms decorated to make you and the background look interesting and imaginative, but the photography lighting and setting will be ideal as well.
Sometimes these private studios can get pricey. But if you look around, you can find some photography studios for a great price! For example, The Mint Room in Toronto has beautiful rooms for around $95/hour. If you split that between you, your cosplay friends and the photographer, I’d say you can pitch in for about $20-$30 for that room. It can be a great deal so you don’t have to worry about the weather or how cold/hot it is outside; just get yourself a nice studio and you’re good to go!
Cosplay photoshoot ideas for private studios:
Any outfits that would be hard or difficult to keep together outdoors. (e.g. dresses, capes). Using a private studio is a perfect time to do cosplays that are fragile or difficult to do outside. Because you control the environment. I also recommend anything that involves heavy make-up, as you won’t have to worry about that either when indoors.
2. Rent a school classroom
It’s like every Anime and video game cliché, where the story first takes place in a school classroom! So what better place to rent out a studio than a classroom itself? It’ll be perfect for a group shoot with the characters from the same series as you. They can be a lot of fun and with natural lighting coming from the windows, a classroom shoot is a great setting for cosplay photoshoot ideas.
When it comes to finding a school classroom setting, check with your local municipality if they allow bookings for classroom outside of school hours. Or if you’re in college/university, perhaps you can work something out. If not, there are real photography studios that have classroom-like settings as well.
Cosplay ideas for school classrooms:
- Love Live!
- Doki Doki Literature Club
- My Hero Academia
- Life is Strange
3. Castle or ancient ruins in your area
Over the castle on the hill!
This might be a bit more difficult for those who live in North America. But in many parts, there are historic areas like a castle or remnants of ancient ruins. These places are great for a lot of characters based in the Medieval era. While some castles and ruins may be open to the public, others may be private property. So be sure to check beforehand if you have permission to shoot there.
Cosplay ideas for castle ruins:
- Fire Emblem characters
- Assassin’s Creed
- The Witcher
- The Legend of Zelda
- Nier Automata
4. A real kitchen
Kitchen cosplay shoots are so much fun! I myself did one a few years back at YetiCon, in my hotel room cosplaying Soma as Food Wars. We made food for our guests, while also getting our photos taken! I think a lot of fandoms are involved with food one way or another. Whether it’s ramen for Naruto, or Doritos with D.va, you can find an excuse to cosplay in a kitchen!
Cosplay ideas for the kitchen:
5. Quiet urban area with skyscrapers
Now you might be wondering if you would ever want to cosplay in the middle of a downtown area. I know, you might draw too much unwanted attention to yourself! So instead, try to find a quieter area downtown. Surprisingly, there are a lot of areas downtown with not too much pedestrian traffic, especially later in the day.
Those beautiful and soaring skyscrapers will complement well with your cosplay!
Cosplay ideas for urban area with tall buildings:
- Comic book characters (e.g. Spider-Man, X-Men)
- Psycho Pass
- My Hero Academia
- Final Fantasy VII
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
6. Swimming pool
If you can’t afford to go to Colossalcon to get your swimsuit photos, the next best thing is to rent out a swimming pool and get some photos there! Of course, it’s easier said than done. But if you’re able to secure a swimming pool for an hour, you can bring some friends with you and take some cosplay swimsuit photos together. Of course, remember to be safe in the pool at all times.
Cosplay ideas for the swimming pool:
- Swimsuit Overwatch characters (e.g. D.va, Tracer)
- Summer Fire Emblem characters
- Rikku and Yuna from FFX-2
If you want more summer cosplay ideas, click here to check out my article about it.
7. The bedroom
Oh yes! I’ve seen quite a lot of my cosplay friends do this. If you’re looking to do some spicy and seductive photos, consider using a hotel bedroom…or even your own room if you wanted! It’s really easy to setup with your photographer when it comes to lighting and all that.
Cosplay ideas for the bedroom:
- Boudoir versions of a character (e.g. sexy 2B from Nier Automata)
- Overwatch characters
- Panty and Stocking
- Kill La Kill
- Poison Ivy
8. On a beach
Whether you’re looking to do a beach/summer cosplay or want to mimic a beach episode, the beach is a great place to get photos done! Many places in the world are along some sort of water, so chances are, you’ll be able to find some beachfront near you. If not, you may have to drive a couple of hours to one. Be sure to check the weather before heading out! And make sure you have permission to take photos there as well.
Cosplay ideas for the beach:
- Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
- Love Live! Summer cosplays
- Summer Jean and Barbara from Genshin Impact
- League of Legends
- Super Sonico
9. At a bar
There are so many characters that would fit perfectly inside a bar! I myself haven’t done this yet but I’d love to one day. It is pretty difficult to rent out a bar without paying a significant amount of money. After all, a bar is open almost all the time, including in the morning. But if you’re able to reserve a bar, then definitely take advantage of it! Some of my cosplay friends have been able to get photos inside a bar, and they look totally amazing!
Cosplay ideas for a bar:
- Monstadt characters from Genshin Impact
- Death Parade
- Dragon Quest
- Beck Mongolian Chop Squad
10. Rugged landscape
Taking photos in a rugged lansdscape is definitely cool!
It makes for a unique cosplay photoshoot ideas setting! If you’re able to find a unique landscape in your local area, you should take some cosplay photos. Just make sure you have permission to do so first.
Cosplay ideas for the desert setting:
- Aladdin and Jasmine from Aladdin
- Cowboy Bebop
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Star Wars
- The Legend of Zelda (e.g. Gerudo characters)
11. In a densely beautiful forest
Unless you live in a desert climate, then I feel most of us live in an area with lots of trees, at least in one area. As we all know, not only are trees beautiful and essential to life, but they also make for a wonderful background when it comes to cosplay photos! So find a nice park or nature reserve and plan for a nice photoshoot day.
But before you do, I just want to emphasize to check the local bylaws and rules regarding photography. Be sure to respect the rules and the land when taking photos in a nature area full of trees.
Cosplay ideas in an area full of trees:
- The Legend of Zelda
12. In a public alleyway
While an alleyway may not be your first thought when thinking of cosplay photoshoot ideas, surprisingly it works well with a lot of alternative style cosplays! And many alleyways are pretty safe and public, as long as you go during the day with lots of people. For example, Graffiti Alley on Queen Street in Toronto is very famous, and lots of people get their normie photos taken there.
If you have a punk-style character you’re cosplaying, then definitely considering hitting up an alleyway for some photo opportunities!
Cosplay ideas for an alleyway:
- Punk-style characters (e.g. Cyberpunk 2077, Chloe from Life is Strange)
- Superhero Characters that take place in urban settings (e.g. Wolverine), although you might get some weird looks cosplaying in a very public setting!
Getting normie photos taken as well! Seriously, alleyways are cool locations that even getting “regular” photos taken is an excuse to visit this local attraction
13. In the snow!
In contrast to all the beach and summer cosplays, why not do a cosplay that’s perfect for the winter? There are many characters that would look great with the white, snowy background. Now here’s an excuse for you to go outside during the winter! Of course, if you plan on doing this, be sure to bundle up and stay warm outside.
Cosplay ideas for the snow:
- Elsa from Frozen
- Cryo (ice) characters from Genshin Impact
- Some Fire Emblem characters
- Ice type Pokemon trainers
14. At home
Did you know that you can get great quality photos of yourself by setting up a home studio? Yes! It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost you a lot of money. All you need is:
- A camera (smartphone or DSLR)
- Tripod to hold your camera
- Backlight to improve the lighting
- Backdrop to make your photos look cooler
And that’s it! Especially during this pandemic, home studios have been so helpful in getting more cosplay photos when meeting up in-person was not possible.
If you want to learn more on how to cosplay at home, click here to check out my post.
15. Cosplay conventions!
Last but not least, we have the most obvious choice: cosplay conventions!
While most convention centers have boring architecture and usually ugly flooring that doesn’t complement any cosplay photo too well, there’s a reason why everyone loves to shoot at conventions. First of all, it’s free! Where else can you take cosplay photos without needing to book a studio or somewhere expensive? A convention of course.
And secondly, it’s super convenient to take photos at cons. No need to coordinate a time and date with photographers and other cosplayers when most likely, all of you will be attending that same big convention you’ve been waiting for.
So in general, cosplay conventions aren’t the prettiest places to take photos (most of the time). But they certainly are the most convenient and most economical. If you want to know more why cosplay conventions are the best places to do photoshoots, check out my article by clicking here.
Here are some other locations I thought were good:
Pool hot tub and other things at Holiday Matsuri
I just wanted to give a shout out to Holiday Matsuri, because they have the most beautiful pool and hot tub at the convention! So it’s perfect to getting your cosplay photos taken if you have a swimsuit or beach cosplay in mind.
But please, don’t be a dumbass and climb on top of the set so you can get cosplay photos. I saw a cosplayer do that when I was there and was disappointed to see that. There’s no need to put yourself in danger and aggravate the staff so you can get a few more likes on Instagram.
Beautiful architecture at Otakuthon
A convention centre that isn’t ugly AF? Yes they exists. And one convention centre is the Palais de Congres in Montreal Quebec for Otakuthon. The building has beautiful colored glass that complements so many different costumes. So unlike most cons, Otakuthon is a wonderful place to take cosplay photos!
The Gazebo at Katsucon and MAGFest
If you’ve been in the cosplay community for a while, you know about the Legendary Gazebo at the National Harbor Center (i.e. at Katsucon and MAGFest). Is it original? Of course not because everyone takes their cosplay photo there. Should you still get photos there? Absolutely!
To me, it’s a right of passage for many cosplayers. You haven’t truly lived the cosplay life until you get your photo taken inside The Gazebo 🙂
To summarize, here are the cosplay photoshoot ideas you should consider:
- Inside a private studio
- Rent a school classroom
- Castle or ancient ruins in your area
- A real kitchen
- Quiet urban area with skyscrapers
- Swimming pool
- The bedroom
- On a beach
- At a bar
- In a desert
- Inside a densely beautiful forest
- In a public alleyway
- In the snow!
- At home
- Cosplay conventions!
And there you have it; 15+ cosplay photoshoot ideas for you!
Which one are you going to try out? Let me know in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!