Since Otakon is coming up in a couple weeks, here’s a tip to cosplayers:
About half of a cosplay is the way you look in a picture.
I’m not saying your makeup should be immaculate or whatever - whether you even wear makeup is up to you, I’m not here to shame anyone. What I’m saying is that your pose and your characterization is what really brings the costume to life. If your costume is great but your poses are awkward, then it shows. Conversely, if you have a costume that isn’t the best thing on the showroom floor but you’ve embodied the character perfectly, then your quality is immediately improved - no sewing required!
Just a few things to remember:
- Take note of light sources. If there’s a light from above, make sure you angle your head up so you catch the light, otherwise your face will be in shadow, and then we can’t see the lovely face of the cosplayer who did all this work! (Unless your character is creepy, then hell yeah, use that shadow to your advantage)
- Does your character have a trademark pose? Absolutely go for that pose!
- If not, you might consider showing off your favorite part of the costume. Got a cape with really cool details? Try an over-the-shoulder approach. Dress with a slit all the way up the thigh? Show off those gams! Did you spend hours on the giant prop you’re carrying? Make that the focal point of the shot.
- Make sure poses are dynamic, and not static. Pictures that are straight-on of a person, especially if you’re half-smiling and clasping your hands together or making a V-sign (protip: very few characters actually canonically do that!) it makes a picture read as flat and, at the very worst, boring. Try standing at a 3/4 view to the photographer, or being caught in the middle of an action your character is known for. Kyoya Otori, like other glasses-wearers, frequently does the glasses push up thing. Sailor Moon has her “in the name of the moon, I will punish you!” stock footage sequence.
- But the best piece of advice that I’ve never seen given out by anyone else is the 15% relaxation rule. Have a pose in mind that you can snap to. Great! But it’s going to hurt if you’re standing really stiffly for a long enough time to snap a picture or two, especially if one shot doesn’t turn out and they ask for another, or if other people take your picture while you’re posing. And sometimes, you can see yourself straining in the photos. So when someone asks for your picture, snap to your pose - that’s absolutely fine - then right as they’re about to take it, relax your body just a little bit, about 15% of the pose. It makes the hold look more natural, and you’ll start to see a real difference in your photos! (Bonus: Your mouth won’t hurt like Barbie at the end of Toy Story 2.) This is expecially relevant for group photoshoots.
And of course, the general tips - always ask for someone’s picture, try not to take pictures in high-traffic areas or in a walking lane (walls are your friend!), you are by no means obligated to let someone creepy take your picture, you are allowed to deny people taking a picture with you if you don’t like the chance of hover-handing, and never be afraid to report someone to a staffer if they are being a cosplay creeper or taking pictures without someone’s permission!
(disclaimer: I know that when you’re having a photo taken, you’ve agreed to that particular person, and the idea of photo consent gets muddied when other people take the opportunity to get your photo while you’re already posing. It’s well within your bounds as a cosplayer to ask someone to wait a second so you can turn and let them get your good side, or break the pose and apologize before hurrying off to that panel you’re already late for. In this case, it’s your call.)
Playing with makeup is great fun, there’s nothing like having a buffet full of eyeshadows, lipsticks, blushes and eyeliners that you can get creative with, but it’s important you also remember the more serious stuff like removing it all at the end of the day.
Whether you choose to breakup your makeup with a cleansing oil or start the first step in your cleansing routine with a makeup wipe is up to you, but one things for sure: removing your makeup is an essential step that shouldn’t be ditched. Need convincing?