Germia - gaming world

How to get the most from a (cosplay) photoshoot

Výsledek obrázku pro meme photographer
Learn to pose, I guess? :(
This article is not meant only for cosplayers. It is also for photographers or models to be always satisfied with cooperation with a photographer and get the most from a photoshoot.

I also included several experiences into this article, that could help you in your future projects ;)

1) Learn about a cosplay character

Cute chatacter?
Think again:
Even you made a cosplay, it is not always, that a cosplayer knows everything about a character. And the photographer is in even worse postition in that regard.

It is the duty of a cosplayer and the photographer to learn as much about the character as they can. If a character looks cute, that doesn't always mean it should be cute on the pictures, you should know some of it's backstory and abilities and try to find poses and locations that suit the character.
Also, search some referrences for your character and try to mimic the poses on the picture ;)

2) Learn to pose

There are sooo many posing guides on the internet!
  • Just google some of them and learn some basic poses for start. And if I say basic - try not to learn anything too difficult like the one on the picture. Try to look into the mirror while you're learning to pose and try to find several poses that you feel comfortable in.

  • Try to find poses  you know your cosplay costume will allow you to do. (Or try it while wearing your cosplay).

  • If you are a cosplayer, try to do more with your pose - cosplayers are not perfect models and we have to learn how to hide our flaws and show our virtues. For example I know my waist is slim and my hips are big, so I always try to pose from a side and do the X shape with my body to accentuate my curves and hide my large butt :D Those tips are also available on the internet - just know, what you want to show and what you want to hide and search for it! (A good/experienced photographer can help you with it too).

  • Also, you have to think about facial expressions - a lot of models have around two or three "sexy" facial expressions and I hate this trend in cosplaying community. Try to fit your facial expression to your costume, don't do just your badass face and nothing else. You can scream on your pics, you can frown, you can luagh, you can wink, you can do a lot, that normal models cannot do! Take inspiration  from my friend Mary or from my picture below:

Just kidding, this one is better:

  • This was just a joke, but even if you have a veil or a helmet in cosplay and you are doing a photoshoot or a cosplay performance, you are not able to act with your face (and it takes A LOT of actual acting away from the character), so you have to really overuse your gestures and movement to have readable roleplay/acting. Look on this cosplay performance of mine, where I tried to make a performance fun and active without using any facial expressions:

  • Also, as a cosplayer, you really have to know your character well to be able to choose the best poses and tell the story with your character. You can roleplay even on the picture. You have to be able to say sometimes: "That is something my character would never do, that is why I can't do this pose, or smile, or anything else...". But if you say you can't do something, always have a solution for photographer to work with. It's hard to work with models naysaying everything, that the photographer offers.

3) Settle up the conditions

This is the basic thing on every photoshoot - you have to settle down the conditions of the photoshoot and also conditions of the use of the picture.

About the photoshoot itself:
Settle down time, location, feeling of the pictures, referrence materials, the amount of effects and post-processing and if you are in a cosplay - info about the character and price and use of the pictures. Settle down also the amount of pictures the photographers will send you, and the amount of pictures he will edit.
These things make it possible for both parties to be on time, prepare the route to the locations, photographer can prepare his equipment properly and cosplayer can take spare boots or a blanket to be warm.

About the use of the pictures:
Always try to speak with the photographer before taking a picture about the use of it. It's really hard on events or conventions, but regarding a photoshoot, you have plenty of time usually to speak about that before the photoshoot itself.
The use of the picture is really important, try to ask:

  • Can I make prints or merch from your pictures? If not, how much should I pay you for the photo - the same should be asked by a photographer even when doing a TFP shoot.

  • Can I use your picture for promotion of other companies or events?

  • Can I share you picture in arranged state (you both agree on the picture's look) on my social sites? That is kinda normal, but if you are shooting naked stuff or some cosplayers do patreon-only stuff, it should be clear. This can also regard the time of release of the photo.

  • Even when not arranged, always give credit to the cooperator (photographer, model, MUA)

  • As a photographer, tell your model BEFORE taking a picture, that it is not free and that you are gonna want some money to process and publish the picture.

4) Communicate

- frequent, don't be rude, be direct, try to view the photos on photoshoot/before posting
Výsledek obrázku pro communication memeThe communication is the key:

  • speak frequently with the photographer to avoid any misunderstandings.

  • Always be direct to him - if you tell him you are not comfortable with some pose or you don't like some picture, it is better to tell him (politely!) soon and spare him a lot of post-processing work than let him do all the work on the photo, have an argument and after that stop working with him because you were not satisfied with the outcome.

  • Try to speak about all the things in point 3 - use of the pics, details of photoshoot, ... is really important!

  • Try to view the pictures in the camera to be able to adjust your pose or your costume and see the pictures before posting on social sites to give your opinion about them.

  • Don't be rude - there is always a better or smoother way how to say uncomfortable stuff or how to say no. It is really important for both sides to be able to get the most form the photoshoot.

5) Other tips and tricks

As a cosplayer (or model) - try to take a helper with you:

    Výsledek obrázku pro helping meme
  • a photographer is not a costume designer - he can adjust your costume wrong or it can bother him or distract him from his work.

  • a helper can help you carry and guard your stuff and relief a lot of stress, so you can be much more focused on posing and "looking good".

  • a helper can avoid any unwanted things happening on photoshoots - especially when doing lingerie stuff or shooting on deserted locations (don't be scared, such unwanted things happen extremely rarely)

  • a helper can offer new ideas about the photoshoot or sometimes serve as a critique of the art of both sides (photographer nad cosplayer)

  • Helper is a carrywitness, guard, support and critique with opinions or ideas 

Do you want to have photos of you/your cosplay and you don't know any good photographers? There are several different ways you can took:
  • Ask a professional photographer and pay for his work - Be careful by choosing a non-cosplay photographer. A non-cosplay photographer - even with high quality pictures of normal models, kids, animals, landscape or products - can do a poor job by capturing cosplay. Try to find someone with some experience with cosplay, who knows how it works in cosplay community, knows more about the character he is shooting and can do a good post-processing. 

  • Ask more experienced cosplayers/models and let them connect you with some good quality photographers.

  • Try to find TFP groups on facebook or other sites - TFP means time for prints and it is a group for photographers (mostly unexperienced) to search for models for their pictures (and vice-versa) . Usually it servers for the models to get some pictures for their portfolio or to get better in posing and for photographers to get better in shooting or search a particular model for their portfolio or project. The outcome can serve for promotion of both photographer and model and there is no money involved. Other conditions are up to photographer and model (commercial use, promotional use of naked pictures, how many pictures are outcome, ... ad 3). Be aware, that you don't have any certainty of outcome - I was once on a TFP shoot and since the photographer tested new equipment and he just started learning with it, I had no useful pictures from the whole day of travelling and shooting with him.

  • Try to cooperate with photographers on events. On events with lots of cosplays there is a big chance to meet a lot of cosplay photographers. Try to look into discussions on facebook regarding those events or special discussion groups for those events, where a lot of photographers offer their work. And if you get asked by a photographer on event, there is a chance he likes your costume and wants to take pics of you for free - but always ask about those conditions in advance (ad 3)

  • Try to participate on photographic events, where it is usual to get your pictures without any money involved like Fotocon in Poland. More about it here.

  • Try to find and ask some good cosplay photographers on their social sites and negotiate about photoshooting with them - if you can't offer a decent promotion of their work, count with paying money to them. Always ask friends about experience from shooting with them. Always choose only those whose work you find totally flawless, not some with only one pic you like - I can explain this point further: It can happen to you, that your picture could be among the ones you just don't like, so more work of the photographer you like, better chance your picture would be awesome too.


Anubis Pharah from Overwatch by Germia

I've chosen this cosplay, because I share a lot of similarities with Pharah - my height and overall presence, hair and eyes and curves. I love making armor and I wanted to work on this armor full of electronics, move to another level, learn new things and overcome challenges and exceed expectations. This cosplay has a big potential with dark, hard to paint and shade color, modern comic-like shapes, and a lot of moving parts.
I also love to play Overwatch and when I do, I totally go for Pharah, or her mother Anna. They are most fun to play!
I've chosen this skin of Pharah, since I love black color and black-golden combination even more, it is challenging to make black armor in cosplay, since you have to use different shading techniques and I love Anubis as a character of Egyptian mythology. I think this skin represents Pharah's character the most and is the most beautiful and fitting skin in the whole game.


Before you start reading more, check out my other articles about Pharah:


1) Helmet

This helmet was so hard to make! The shapes were really hard to imitate and with every step I made towards finishing it, I was more scared it won't look good nore fit - but it worked - I always try to measire things according to my height - if you display the picture of your character on your monitor and you are 180 cm high, make the character 18 cm big on your screen and measure all the parts of the cosplay accordingly and transfer these measurements into real life.
I started the helmet by making the base, that looked kinda like a supervillain helmet and it was just moosgummi wrapped in worbla from outer side. It simulated the black parts that appear on sides of Pharah's face. Then I attached more and more moosgummi in worbla piecesonto it, starting with nose - I followed the referrences and animations in game where you can see the helmet from different angles and tried to simulate the angles and shape of all the helmet pieces.
Later I made the bottom part of the helmet movable by disconnecting it from upper part and connecting it again with rubber bands.
Last part of the base were the ears and small wings - EVA foam from wrapped in brown worbla again. I also inserted two LED diods inside the eyes to make them shine. The light is more orange than other lights on her armor, so I kept track of this too. All the wiring can be seen on the pictures. I glued golden foil used for giftbags under the diod to reflect the light from the helmet out and to cover the LED diods, I modelled a small eye shape from modelling clay and formed transpaArt worbla on it with heat. then I painted it yellow from inside and filled with merilon for better light difusion. Last thing was to glue it inside.

Then I covered the whole helmet in latex cement to get rid of the bulky surface of worbla and painted the whole helmet with black acrylic base color by Lukas and Artemiss. I decorated it then with black metallic custom made color by Artemiss and golden color by Pebeo.

2) Leg armor

I've tried to simulate the cartoonish shpaes of Pharah's leg armor, so I tried to articulate the shape as much as I could.
It is made from 0,5cm thick EVA foam and decorated with engraving tool, painted with the same acrylics as the helmet ;)

3) Wig

I have decided to buy rather a longer wig, that could be styled and cut to fit Pharah instead of buying a wig, that looked kinda like the length I need, since I've learned the hard way by my cosplay of Paladin, that the wigs always look longer on the pictures - see my article about cosplay wigs for more info.
And as you can see, I've bought a 60 cm long wig, that is much more than I actually needed, because Pharah's hair is reaching up to her shoulders. But I liked the bangs, the seller feedback, the color and the pictures, so I decided to rather style and cut it myself. I cut the wig and took two straps of hair right next to the bangs and braided them and then I glued my beads made out of black polymer clay and silver acrylics to them. I kinda thinned my wig this way - because I took a lot of hair from my wig and used them for the braids, but the wig is really nice and can handle it - it still looks really natural. I bought it for around 250 Kč = 9 Euro.

4) Panties

 I've made the pants from two different EVA foam parts made from 1cm thick foam by poly-props. The parts are shaped into the right shape by foam gluing and cutting. I connected the parts together with velcros and rubberbands to be able to move in that.

5) Gloves

The gloves were made from black satin ball gloves. I made the finger parts from doublelayered black worbla, cut them into the right shape, heated them on my finger and glued them with hotglue gun to the glove. Then I made the thumb part from 0,5cm EVA foam and upper part from 1cm EVA foam dremmeled it down in the shape. Then I added lines with engraving tool and painted it with acrylics.

5) Breastplate

I've used 1 cm foam for the base made from 4 different parts on which I added 4 upper pieces, each made from 2 part 1cm EVA foam. I demmeled down the buttons on the side parts and glued round buttons made from 0,5 foam on the dremmeled parts. I glued the LED light circuit on the base and covered it with merilon pieces and simple yellow paper foil, that I glued with hot glue.
It stays on it's place because of velcros on the bottom side, that attach to the corset and velcros on the sides, that attach into the backpack.

Photo: Milos Mlady photography

6) Biceps armor

Biceps armor was really easy to make - it is just a piece of 1cm foam connected with velcros and wrapped around my arm, painted with black and metallic black acrylic color.

7) Thigh armor

 I've started with wrapping my thigh with food foil and tape and drawn the base of the thigh armor ony this pattern. I wanted to put rockets in there as Pharah in game has, but her leg is non existent, since her leg is robotic, so fer rocket compartments in inside her thigh, not on the surface of the thigh as a normal person would have. So I've made the pasic base from 0,5cm EVA foam and then started to make the cover of the rockets. I reinforced the cover with worbla, becuase only foam was flapping too much. I  glued the wing cover to a strap on one side and the strap was glued to some layers of foam sticked on each other, that held on the base. Under this foam tower (seen on the painting picture) there were all the rockets allocated and glued.  The wing cover holds on it's place because of 4 small velcro pieces holding on the base and on the borders of the cover. Then I glued the topo side of the thigh armor onto the base. I also made the hip decoration from 1cm foam. Then I made the decoartion pattern on it with engraving tool and painted it all with acralics. LAter I added a small details - a ventilation ribbing on the top of the armor made out of a long strip of moosgummi cut into shape and painted with silver acrylics.

8) Corset

I've used an old black cotton fabric underglued with unvowen fabric to make a really dense and stiff corset, that I would glue the foam parts on. I've reinforced them with plastic sew through reinforcements and it can be laced up on the back.

I've made patterns from paper on my figourine, transfered them on the foam, cut the foam out and dremmeled the  borders to be round shape. I've glued first the upper layer from black moosgummi and added pieces from top to bottom. Then I cut the sticking out pieces of the corset on the bottom, Then I added the ribbing on the sides from moosgummi, velcros for sticking the breastplate on, buttons from 0,5cm EVA foam. I've used max 0,5. EVA foam thick for the corset since you want to have as slim waist as possible, so I decided to not use thicker foam.

 9) Boots

I've bought short shoe on a small platform in black color with a bigger tip. The platform is not necessary for this costume (it is not so big tbh), but even a smaller platform makes your posture better and posing easier. I've patterned to shoe and wrapped it in black moosgummi, that I painted with brown base color and then rich gold acrylic color. I then made all the foam decorations from 0,5 cm EVA foam, that you can glue with hot glueto the boots. Foam pieces were then painted wioth black and metalliec black and rich gold for details.

10) Right bracer

Right bracer was much more complicated, since I implemented rocket launching systeme into it.I've started as always with paper patterns, that I adjusted till I was completely satisfied with the result. I then transfered them onto foam, glued the foam with contact glue together and started working on the rocket+launcher. I made the base out of stiff paper roll and the lunch button from clothes pin. I wrapped the base construction in worblato make it stiffer and added worbla tip for the pin, that would go into the roll. That would go through the rocket and hold it on it's place. I've added a rubber band into construction, that would propell the rocket out of the tube. And that is how it works. I glued the whole thing onto the bracer, added foam borders, painted the whole thing with black base color and then with metallic colors( black silver and gold).

11) Left bracer 

Left bracer was a little easier, it is the same process as with the right bracer, only it has no rocket launcher and has just some more decoration on it. It can be opened and closed on one side with hidden velcro straps.

12) Neck armor

A lot of people haven't noticed there is some neck amor for Pharah, but if you watch closely, you will see a collar like construction. In my cosplay, it bonds pieces of armor together - it holds pauldron on it's place and it holds the upper part of the breastplate on place. All with the help of velcros. It was made out of 1cm foam, dremmeled into the right shape and painted gold with acrylics.

13) Golden creelings

On some places, you can spot, that Pharah has golden color on her joints, so I decided to sew creelings, that I put on my legs and arms. I just needed rich golden stretchy fabric (Lamé). Don't forget to make a stretchy seam joints when sewing it on your machine (I sewed it by hand).

14) Rockets

 Did you know Pharah has an awful lot of rockets on her body? She has smaller blue rockets in her gun (more about the rocket launcher in this article) and thicker rockets in her pauldrons and her thigh armor.
I've made all the rockets from paper - I just rolled thick paper, covered it in papermache and decorated with foam/moosgummi, paint and engraving tool.
The thicker rockets have top and bottom, which are made from bottle caps, The bottom bottle caps have modelling clay inside, the top bottlecaps are airbrushed into metallic red.
The rockets in pauldrons are just airbrushed bottlecaps glued into the pauldron construction.

15) Pauldrons, gun, wings + backpack

All those parts of the costume have their own dedicated article, since there were much more difficult to do than the other parts - find them on the start of this article!

This article was made with support of my Patrons on my Patreon! There will be no time doing this without them!
I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM.

and if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON.