Cosplay photography posing!
If you’re a cosplayer who gets their photos taken often, then you’ll definitely want to know and perfect the art of posing! It’s something you’ll want to think about, as it will make a HUGE difference in how you look in camera.
If you’re like me back then and had no idea what to do with their hands, feet or even facial expressions then don’t worry; I got you covered. Trust me; I’m one of the most non-photogenic cosplayers out there! It’s hard to get a great photo of myself, so if you’re in that category, I’m here to relate to you.
Cosplay photography posing has a lot of elements and there can be a ton of things to learn. But first, let’s start with…
Why is cosplay posing important?
If you want your cosplay photos to look as best as possible, then learning how to pose is one of the most important things to know. Whether it’s using the best posing techniques, knowing your best angles or utilizing other aspects around you, there are lot of things that can make your cosplay photo stand out and look amazing.
In this article, I’ll give you my 15 most important cosplay photography posing tips you need to know. These tips are mostly simple and easy to follow, and you can improve your photoshoots in no time.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. List of cosplay poses you can do (by body positions)
I wanted to start the list off with the most obvious thing; poses! There are so many different types of poses you can do, so I’ll give you a list of the most popular ones:
- Hands on hips (great for looking confident)
- Fist clenched (good for Anime and superhero characters)
- Arms crossed (dominant)
- Sitting down, with arm on knees
- Mirror selfie (totally acceptable in cosplay photography!)
- Looking back and your body facing away from the camera
- Chin on your hand
- Hand on your face (as if you’re staring at something in the distance)
- Action pose! (e.g. running like a ninja, sword slash, jumping)
- Legs crossed while sitting down
- The Grace Face! (putting your hand underneath your chin to make your jawline look slimmer = more feminine)
- Hands behind your head (accentuate your cosplay, especially if it’s a bombshell cosplay)
- Hands in pocket (good for closet cosplays, make sure you stick thumb out)
- Ahegao face (no don’t do this please)
- Puffy cheeks (cute Anime girl look)
- Sitting down with legs stretched out and looking the other way (accentuating your legs)
- Hand on knee while leaning forward (show that body!)
These are just a few example of all the different types of poses you can do for cosplay. To decide which one you like the most, I recommend doing this next trick…
2. Save reference photos
The easiest way to remember what to do during a photoshoot is by saving reference photos to your smartphone! Some reference photos you can include: signature poses of a character (e.g. Sailor Moon stance, Deku’s Detroit Smash), different ideas on sitting and standing, hand gestures, facial expressions, etc.
I have saved many reference photos, but I would recommend having a separate folder for these pictures, so you can view them easily before, during and after the shoot. I find that your reference photos can easily get lost in your gallery of photos over time, and these are photos you want to look at over and over. So before you save a reference photo, put it in a separate folder in your smartphone so it’s easy to find!
3. Look at magazines for inspiration
You don’t have to limit your cosplay photoshoot posing ideas to just fictional characters. You can also look like real-life models to get inspiration on how to pose. Magazines like GQ and Cosmopolitan have beautiful models posing and doing their thing, giving you some great ideas on what you can do for your shoot.
4. Take a photo after the shot/ask photographer to take candid shots of you
I don’t know about you, but for me, I tend to sometimes get tense when posing for the camera. It makes the photo look unnatural and not as good as it should be.
So what I do is I give my photographer permission to take candid photos of me. That means they can snap pictures of me when I’m not looking. I like this because I will get more natural photos of me, and often times, these pics are just as good if not better than the ones I pose for.
As a photographer myself, I’ll ask the model to pose for a photo, and the photo is taken, the model will relax their pose; this is when I take another photo! Often, the “candid” photo taken after will look better than the one they posed for; it just simply looks more natural.
5. Camera angles
This is more of a photographer thing, but as the model, you can play your part as well.
Camera angles are very important when it comes to cosplay posing! The way you position your body, hands and feet can make a huge difference in how the photo looks.
In terms of the photographer, where they are positioned is also important. For example, if you’re cosplaying a cute chibi Anime character, then you may want the photographer to take a photo above you. Generally speaking, when the photo is taken above you, it looks more cute and submissive. On the contrary, if you’re cosplaying an evil villain, maybe you want the photographer to take below you, so you’re the strong one on top!
6. Point away from the camera
While it’s okay to have some photos taken with your body and face looking directly towards the camera, I feel like in most cases, you’re better off doing the opposite. While direct photos have its uses, it may also look unflattering; your face can look “flatter” and it may accentuate your physical features you may not want.
So be sure to try posing with your body turned slightly away from the camera. Not completely away; slightly away. It’s called the three-quarter turn. Think of it as your body pointing diagonally towards the camera, with your left or right foot forward. This positioning is great in many cases; it makes you look smaller on camera (a desirable trait in a lot of cases), and you’ll look more 3-D and more flattering in the photo.
7. Watch your posture!
I myself struggle with this at times, as my posture isn’t perfect. When you’re so focused on other things during a cosplay photoshoot, you forget about the smallest things such as your posture. And it’s the worst when you see a photo of yourself that would have been good…if you weren’t slouching in it.
It’s not the photographer’s fault though. They either may not notice, or they’re focused on other things to too. So be sure to remind yourself to watch your posture during the shoot. I like to think of a string pulling me up like a marionette. If my body isn’t as if a string is pulling me up, then I’m probably slouching!
This is also why I recommend asking your photographer to let you look at the photos every now and then. That way, you can see if anything is off, such as your posture. If you want more cosplay photography tips and tricks, click here.
8. Look away from the camera
If you’re not used to getting your photos taken, then you’re probably used to only looking towards the camera. However, you should also experiment looking AWAY from the camera as well. There are many poses you can do that involve you looking away. So be sure to mix up the poses and do photos looking at the camera, as well as pointing away.
9. Make it a habit to take selfies more often
So I myself am not a selfie type of guy, and whenever I’m hosting a cosplay event or at an Anime convention, I see my other cosplay friends take selfies all the time. It could be for a variety of reasons, but one benefit is that you end up getting better at cosplay photoshoots! By practicing your posing, you’ll know your best and worst angles to take.
For example, if you have more acne on one side than the other, then you’ll know to pose with the side with less acne. Likewise, if you’re a tall cosplayer, you’ll learn to do poses that accentuate your legs to make you look tall in the photo (e.g. sitting down stretched out, legs crossed). Or if you’re a shorter cosplayer, you’ll do things that may make you look cuter (e.g. sitting down with legs criss-crossed).
Practicing taking selfies is one of the easiest ways to get better at cosplay posing!
10. Use props!
Chances are, the character you’re cosplaying has some sort of prop they can carry. Whether it’s their signature sword, a book they carry or anything related to their fandom, a prop can make your character look a lot more interesting on camera. So if it’s possible, bring that prop to the photoshoot and be sure to have some poses in mind with that item.
If you’re looking for cosplay prop ideas, click here to check out my list!
11. Use the environment and background to your advantage
Not only does a photoshoot setting influence the photos themselves, but also the poses you can potentially do. So if you’re shooting at a park, you can utilize a bunch of things such as: flowers, trees, bushes, ponds, etc).
This is where reference photos can definitely come in handy. If you’ve seen a cool idea from a photo using the environment, you can try to replicate it for your own photoshoot poses.
Here is a video of me sharing some conventions you should attend in 2023!
12. Have an assistant or friend to help out
Normally when I do photoshoots as a cosplayer myself, it’s just me and the photographer.
But one time I had the luxury of having an assistant with me to help out with the shoot. She not only gave me helpful tips for our group during our posing, but she also did some cool things like flip our capes during some solo shoots. Overall, she made the photoshoot a lot more fun and exciting, which in turn made the photos turn out better.
So if you can, have an assistant or friend to help you out during the photoshoot and do the coolest poses!
13. Think of something funny or make you feel confident
If we’re shy or nervous during the shoot, it’ll come across that way in the photos later on. So if you’re trying to portray a character that’s funny, confident or happy, try to think of stuff that would make you feel that way.
14. How to remove the double chin
Let’s face it; no matter your body type or size, a double chin never looks flattering on anyone! But there is a way to get rid of it while taking a photo:
- Push your head forward slightly, and
- Tuck your chin up
Think of yourself like a turtle. By doing this, you’ll be able to remove the double chin and make your jawline look a lot better! It does some practice. When I did it the first few times, it looked worse as if I was hunched over. But practice makes perfect. 🙂
15. How to open your eyes more
This is another problem I have personally; my eyes are naturally small, so I have to make an effort to open them up more in photos. If you’re in the same boat, my photographer gave me this helpful advice. Get them to count down to 3 before they take a photo. When the photographer gets close to 1, open your eyes more than usual and right when the photo is about to be taken, relax your eyes so it’s slightly more open.
Like with the double chin technique, this takes some practice. I didn’t get it right the first time; either I blinked in the moment, or my eyes were so wide, I looked like a deer in headlights! But this technique will help if you need to open your eye a little more than the average person.
To summarize, here are the 15 cosplay photography posing tips:
- List of cosplay poses you can do (by body positions)
- Save reference photos
- Look at magazines for inspiration
- Take a photo after the shot/ask photographer to take candid shots of you
- Camera angles
- Point away from the camera
- Watch your posture!
- Look away from the camera
- Make it a habit to take selfies more often
- Use props!
- Use the environment and background to your advantage
- Have an assistant or friend to help out
- Think of something funny or make you feel confident
- How to remove the double chin
- How to open your eyes more
And there you have it; 15 cosplay photography posing tips for you!
I hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions or suggestions, you know what to do. Leave them 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!