How to Look Great in your Cosplay Photos

Cosplay is a hobby of many skills. We spend hours perfecting techniques for creating our costumes and end up with a cosplay we’re really proud of. Then we get back from the convention, look at our photos, look at our photos, and wish they looked better. Here are some quick tips for how to look great in cosplay photos, without hours of modeling training.

Whiten Your Teeth:

White teeth stand out in a photograph. They can make your face look brighter, and your smile look bigger and more genuine. This may not apply to all characters, some cosplays might require more yellowed teeth, but if your character smiles a lot a bit of whitening can really help your smile pop.

Sunless Tanner:

This has magical powers to even out your skin tone. Plus, a flash will tend to wash you out so having a little extra color can be really helpful. If your character is supposed to be pale, use a lighter self-tanner and go easy, maybe just 1-2 applications. You’re looking to even out the skin tone, not add a ton of color.

If your character is more tan, you can use a darker shade and add a bit more color, just beware of turning yourself Snooki orange. Be sure to exfoliate the skin before you apply for a more even application, and wash your hands well afterward, or even wear gloves to prevent the dreaded orange palms. If you are really worried about streaking, buy a spray-on tanner. They are easy to use and practically foolproof.

False Lashes:

Falsies will make your eyes look bigger, and read very well on camera, even from a distance. Determine whether you need to add length or volume or both. Choose a size and shape that is appropriate to the character and suits your own face. Putting on falsies can be a challenge, so if you’ve never done it before, buy a couple extra pairs and practice before the convention.

Bold Lips:

Bold lip color reads very well on camera. Bold pinks, reds, and wines will make your face pop. Obviously this makeup will not work for every character, but play up your lips with at least a touch of color whenever possible.

General Makeup:

Watch out for foundations and powders with sunscreen, as well as any primers, powders, concealers, etc that have a strong white tint. These tend to reflect the light of a flash, and cause the dreaded white face. In general it’s a good idea to stick to fairly matte shades, and avoid shimmers, sparkles, and shine.

If you do cosplay as a character that needs a bit of luminosity, try to stick to shimmers with a pink or gold tint, versus white. It’s always a good idea to test your makeup with a strong flash before the convention.

Practice Taking Photos:

Selfies are a great way to practice facial expressions. Take dozens of photos and start analyzing what your face feels like when you take a great picture. Try a few different facial expressions based on your character. Infuse your face with emotion, a smile isn’t just a smile. Is your character evil, cute and coquettish, do they have a fake, pasted on a smile? Play around.

Invite a friend over to help take full body shots (both in and out of costume). It should be someone you’re comfortable acting a little bit silly in front of, but also someone who will give you feedback about what’s working and what’s not. Turn on some music and start snapping photos. Have your friend give instant feedback, things like “lift your chin” or “turn a bit to the left”. Find a few poses you really like for each character you will be cosplaying. Again, see if you can infuse your whole body with the emotion of the character.

Have a “Quick Draw” Pose:

How to Look Great in your Cosplay Photos

I’ve often heard people say that no matter how much they practice, they “freeze up” at conventions and forget their poses. If this is the case, work on perfecting one “quick draw” pose for each character, a pose you can quickly and easily do if someone says “Hey, can I grab a quick photo?” This will help build confidence, and soon you’ll find yourself comfortable playing around a bit more.


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