If you’re new to the cosplay, you should know that photography is a HUGE part of the community! Because without photographers, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the beauty of our costumes through social media. Behind the lens is someone creating magic with the photos taken of cosplayers!

But is cosplay photography really any different from other forms of photography?

In this post, I’ll give you 10 things about what is cosplay photography. That way, you have a better understanding of this wonderful hobby, whether you’re a cosplayer or photographer.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Cosplay photography doesn’t have to be expensive

Shield Hero cosplay
You can start cosplay photography with your smartphone!

When you see all those beautiful cosplay photos on social media and all the cool gadgets that photographers, you might think that cosplay photography is expensive. While buying a bunch of lenses and lighting equipment can drain your wallet quickly, it doesn’t necessarily have to be way. In fact, you can simply your use smartphone to start off!

Like with many hobbies, you only buy newer and better equipment when you feel like you need to. This is no exception with cosplay photography.

So to answer the question. No, cosplay photography does NOT have to be expensive for you if you don’t want to.

2. Creativity is a good thing!

Paimon Cosplay
Cosplay photography lets you do a lot of cool stuff! Cosplayer: mingmihoo.

When it comes to something like wedding photos or sporting events, doing a lot of editing and Photoshop would probably look tacky and weird. But not with cosplay!

Since we are usually cosplaying fictional characters, it’s actually cool to add special effects and experiment with unusual angles and poses. Creativity is definitely encouraged with cosplay photography.

So while you should definitely follow good photography practices, don’t be afraid to try out new stuff. Because cosplaying is so vast and diverse, there aren’t too many boundaries with what you can do.

3. It’s basically portrait fashion photography

On the other hand, you can also simplify and TLDR cosplay photography = geeky fashion portrait photography. So whatever techniques you use to take photos of something like alternative clothing, you can definitely apply it to cosplay photography. If you feel overwhelmed on getting started with cosplay photography, then just remember it’s very similar to fashion and portrait photography.

4. Great for social networking

Photo of me taking a photo of the photo!
Doing cosplay photoshoots is honestly so much fun, whether you’re the cosplayer or photographer!

Taking photos of cosplayers, as well as getting your cosplay photos taken by a photographer, is a great way to socialize and meet new people. I myself have gotten to meet awesome people in the community, both as a cosplayer and photographer.

It might be a stretch to say that cosplay photography is a lifestyle, but that’s how I feel about it! If you’re looking to socialize and have great outings with people with cosplay, then definitely get into cosplay photography!

5. Differences between regular photography and cosplay photography

Let’s break down the similarities and differences between “regular” photography and cosplay photography:

Similarities of cosplay photographyDifferences of cosplay photography
A lot of the time with cosplayers, you’re doing portrait photography. Up close and personalSince the costume can be exotic and eccentric, you’ll have to adjust your photography settings accordingly (e.g. bright costume colors, large wigs)
You’re taking photos of people, much like regular photographyCosplay usually involves fictional characters in fictional worlds, so the photo editing can vary greatly
Basic principles such as lighting, facial expressions and posing still apply in cosplay photographyThere are a huge variety of cosplayers with different attributes and skills
“How do I start cosplay photography”? By knowing the differences!

As you can see, cosplay photography has some distinctive features. Taking a photo of a cosplayer can feel familiar, but it’s also unique in its own way!

6. Practice makes perfect

Like with any hobby or skill, practice makes perfect. Cosplay photography is no exception, so don’t expect to be a professional on your first photoshoot. But the more photos you take, the better you’ll get. And you’ll also get a much clearer idea of the type of photos you enjoy doing (e.g. outdoor vs indoor, bright vs. dark, etc.)

7. Can you make money from cosplay photography?

If you’re looking to make some cash from doing cosplay photography, then you’re in luck! There is always demand for photographers to take pictures of cosplayers, especially if your price is good. While charging for cosplay photography is probably not going to pay your mortgage, it can be a fun side hustle you do while at a convention or on your day off. Obviously, the more skilled and experienced you are, the more money you can charge.

For more info on how much to charge for cosplay photography, click here.

8. Character and background research is much more important.

This photo was taken in a kitchen/restaurant because Xiangling is a chef! Cosplayer: luckyelie3173.

When it comes to cosplay photography, doing some research is very important! Be sure to check which character the cosplayer is dressing up as. Do a quick Google search online and look up the character that your model cosplayer is going to dress up as. See the type of gestures and facial expressions they do. What’s their personality? These types of things will help you think of poses you can do with the cosplayer.

It doesn’t take long to do a quick search, but it makes a massive difference! Knowing your character can help you decide the type of photos you want to take, and the environment/background you’d want to shoot in.

9. Shallow depth of field is the most popular choice.

Everyone loves shallow depth of field!

A popular style of cosplay photography (or portrait photography in general) is the “shallow depth of field.” This is when the subject/model is focused, while the background is blurry.

You can do this with your camera by simply using high aperture (i.e. lower f/stops on the camera) and moving the cosplayer and background away from each other as much as you can. That way, the background will be blurry but the cosplayer will be shining beautifully in the photo!

10. Conventions are the place to be.

Conventions are the best!

If you want to do anything related to cosplay photography, then you gotta attend cosplay conventions! Whether it’s practicing cosplay photography, meeting new people or doing photoshoots, then you must know that conventions are THE best place to do all this.

While attending a convention, if you see someone wearing an awesome cosplay, ask if you can take their photo and give them your business card so they can find you online. Not only is this a great way to network, but you also get some practice taking photos of cosplayers. I know a lot of cosplay photographers who got started this way; they simply attended a convention, took a bunch of pictures of cosplayers, and the rest is history!

I hope you found this post useful!

Check out these other articles I posted to learn more about cosplay photography:

If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments below!