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Guide to set up cosplay photography lighting: Why and how

If you already know the fundamentals of cosplay photography and want to advance your talents, what better way to do so than by learning about lighting? To be honest, photographic lighting is a massive topic. This post will provide you with an easy-to-follow guide on cosplay photography lighting. That way, you won't have to go to the library and devote a lot of time to studying it. You could learn about the following aspects in this article:

  1. Why is lighting so important for shooting cosplay photos?
  2. How to set up portrait lighting for cosplay photography with natural or artificial light?
  3. What setups can you use when arranging lighting?
  4. How to shoot outstanding cosplay photos?

Why is it important to set up lighting for cosplay photography?

While taking a decent shot in the proper place is vital, getting the perfect illumination is as important. After all, photography is essentially the capture of light in a box and the replication of the picture onto a piece of film or a digital memory. Thus, when it comes to cosplay photography, you might say that lighting for digital photography is everything.

But first, let's go through some of the ways lighting might affect a photograph:

  • Good lighting will make your subject (cosplayer) appear fantastic.
  • Insufficient illumination might make the cosplayer difficult to see.
  • Excessive lighting might make the cosplayer appear unattractive and out of focus.
  • Utilizing improper lighting might cause the shot to blur and seem sloppy.
  • Utilizing various sorts of LEDs may create the ideal magical mood for a cosplay!
Lighting is also important for newborn photography. If you are interested in it, check the article Why and how to use continuous light for newborn photography? to get some ideas.

    Set up portrait lighting for cosplay photos: Natural and artificial

    Cosplay photography can benefit from standard portrait lighting principles. A common objective is to discover or create pleasing lighting, however this depends on the characters you're photographing, since some may benefit from more dramatic, or even terrifying lighting.

    There are several possibilities to shoot in natural light without the use of a flash, reflector, or other modifiers. Simply look around for nice lighting. Avoid unattractive shadows on the eyes and face as much as possible. Turning the cosplayer's head or body towards the light can sometimes improve the lighting.

    Your exposure choices will have a significant impact on how the lighting seems, so play around with the brightness. If the sun is too high and/or too strong and contrasty, shooting in the shadow may be a good alternative. It will also be easier on the cosplayer's eyes, preventing squinting.

    The color balance your camera set for will affect your lighting a lot. Experiment between accurate skin tones, and also try going for blue, warm, orange, or other color effects, etc.

    If you utilize artificial lights for cosplay photography lighting, avoid focusing it directly on the cosplayer. It has a flat impact most of the time. Knowing how to bounce it off white or grey walls, ceiling reflectors, pillars, and other surfaces may yield highly pleasant effects. There are various setups that you can choose to create ideal lighting, which we will discuss in the latter part. Just read on to learn about it and build your own lighting system.

    You may wonder how to shoot cosplay at night with lights. At night some LED photography lights can be very useful. Use the one that features high power output to offer enough brightness in low light scenarios. For example, the COLBOR CL100X is a good choice. It is powered by 110W COB point source LED beads with a maximum draw of 120W. what’s more, it adopts the PowerCube design, which allows it to build a strong cubic lighting matrix. You may combine up to 10 lights together to generate 1100W power by sliding the rail of one light into the chute of the other.

    Three artificial lighting setups for cosplay photography

    According the number of photography lights that you use, there are different setup tips.

    One-light setups

    One-light setups, as the name implies, use only one light source. You would believe that this simplifies the setup, however such configurations need intermediate level experience. If you're new to light settings, the two-light configuration is generally the best place to start.

    The beauty of a one-light setup is the way it can be used to cast shadows in your image. And where you set the light source might affect how your shot looks and feels. So, how do you achieve the desired shadow effect?

    Directing the cosplay photography lighting from the side is a simple technique to get the desired shadow effect. Just doing so will provide a nice shadow effect, but you could also use a foam board reflector on the other side of the light source to get a greater shadow effect. Black and white foam board reflectors are available.

    Two-light setups

    Two-light setups function by directing two lighting tools for cosplay photos in separate directions to minimize shadows. It is a simple setup that is highly handy for novices who have just begun photography. With a two-light arrangement, light falls evenly over the whole subject, with no shadows on the face. It is a traditional method of ensuring that skin tone is beautifully displayed in cosplay photos.

    Basic setup is to sandwich the cosplayer between two light sources. If you place the artificial light at a 45-degree angle in front of the cosplayer, the light will easily fill in the front. It is critical for such a configuration to guarantee that the light from both light sources is of equal intensity.

    Advanced setup involves using foam board V-flats. V-flats are made up of two foam boards that have been taped together to make a 'V' shape. It entails lighting up the entire room by reflecting light repeatedly. Place the cosplayer in front of a white wall, and then arrange the V-flats in front of the cosplayer, with the white side facing the cosplayer to create a little white chamber. You can bounce light across the space encompassed by V-flats if you direct your light source at the wall.

    Three-light setup or more

    Lighting settings with cosplay lighting kit may sound difficult, but one simple approach to conceive about them is in terms of two primary categories: setups designed to make the cosplayer look more attractive, and setups intended to achieve other goals.

    Three point lighting is the most common setup among them. Check the article Why is three point lighting used? to get detailed information.

    How to create great cosplay photography?

    Besides setting up perfect cosplay photography lighting, there are more tips to help you achieve excellent results:

    • Take screenshots of the scenes you want to recreate.
    • To shoot meaningful cosplay photographs, you must first understand why your subject likes a certain character.
    • Make your model appear as attractive as possible by using a posture guide.
    • Request that your model interacts with other cosplayers so that you may shoot candid shots.
    • Select the appropriate setting to improve the character's tale.
    • Make your images more atmospheric by using fascinating objects and effects.
    • Take beautiful images using natural light or artificial light.
    • Shot from various perspectives to make your images more intriguing.
    • To avoid unsteady shots when photographing in a busy area, use a big aperture and a quick shutter speed.
    • Adjust the color of your outcomes to match the theme.