Ken's Cosplay & Convention Photography Tip #3: Picking & Posting Photos

Following a shoot the photographer may deliver just 1 photo afterwards (I can respect that) or as many as 60. The more photos being picked can mean more work for the photographer and less time to do said work.

This can also lead into a gallery which may have a lot of photos, but they all look very similar and little variation. The problem to your audience here is that they can become overwhelmed and your shots from a thumbnail view won’t stand out from each other. Somebody might click one photo featuring some pose/angle that might be the worst out of the other yet similar photos. Then move on to the next set of photos with a similar angle/pose.

The not so good take

The take I want people to see

To help yourself and your audience I would recommend settling on the best photo utilizing some sort of pose/angle and move on to next. Sometimes having 2 photos of the same angle/pose is fine, but remember to not overwhelm the audience. Nor do you need to burn yourself out.

If you are having trouble deciding there are a few routes you can go. You can consult your subject and allow them to pick which ones they want posted/edited. You can also consult a friend (preferably another Cosplayer) to help you decide.

Here is the big difference from the first photo gallery. See how each shot stands out?

I would also recommend the photographer create a clear expectation on how many photos are to be received following the shoot. Nowadays I usually post “3-8 with the possibility of more”. This works for me because if a shoot has problems I know I can deliver at least 3 clean photos and if it goes exceptionally well I have the window to post more.

When posting your photos, I strongly recommend not using Facebook as a way for your client to pick up the photo. Facebook is notorious for downgrading the image. To help you deliver the image that was intended for your client I would recommend an image hosting service like Flickr, photobucket or send an e-mail.

Make sure your client is downloading and using the proper version. I have ran into the occasional issue where a client will mistake a 640x480 version or a degraded gmail thumbnail as the intended version. Talk with your client on how to properly download the image. Nowadays I will link directly to the “Original Size” on Flickr.

Just remember that because you may like a photo and other people may like it, does not mean the subject will like it. I would recommend showing the images to them first before anyone else.

Only other advice is to always toy with a photo before discarding. I’ve created some real gems that did not look great until I edited a little

On a final note I encourage the photographer to provide 1 image within 72 hours of the convention. If you are busy or do a lot if post work, I would recommend providing some form of proof or preview. This courtesy will strengthen the faith between you and the subject. It will also give the Cosplayer something to post right after the convention and be more patient in waiting for the rest.

Thanks for reading and be sure to like and comment. I am also on Facebook as Ken AD Photography for cosplay photos and my new Ken Austin Photography for my non cosplay work.


I think the best part of Momo*Con was my love meeting his hero, Sifu Kisu.

Jereme has been a huge Avatar The Last Airbender Fan since we were both children, but his favorite part was OF COURSE all the martial arts that defined the different elements. Sifu Kisu is the man behind most of the styles you see in the show, and he did a great job!

Jereme has never asked a person for an autograph before. And Sifu was a true delight. He’s a great man with a fabulous sense of humor and a true passion for his work. Jereme had bought a broadsword replica earlier at the con, and while attending a panel he heard that Sifu like broadswords especially, so of course he wanted him to autograph it.
When we brought Sifu the broadsword, the man GEEKED out and my love was so happy. Sifu showed a few moves, explained how Zuko himself used some broadswords, and even took our picture as he held it. He happily signed it for Jereme and then posed with him. The style is Hung Gar, the calling card of the Earth Style. Jereme is a earthbender to the core.

Sifu if you see this, thank you so much for making Jereme’s first experience with one of his heroes an unforgettable and absolutely enjoyable experience. You’re a great person!

Ken's Cosplay & Convention Photography Tip #4: Directing The Shoot

You are walking around a convention and stop someone for a photo. The normal routine is that they give you a quick pose and they give you a quick photo. Starting out I thought a whole shoot works like that. I could not be anymore wrong.

For this tutorial I will be going over how you can provide direction to your photo shoots. This is actually a huge topic and I might make separate articles in the future to go more in depth on some aspects of this. For now I will just provide a basic over view.

Reeling back to an earlier tip, the first few photos during a shoot may be something straight on. This is fine and is sometimes all the cosplayer really wants. Although as a photographer during a shoot you should really challenge yourself to provide more. Being a cosplay photographer can become a way for you to become a visual story teller.

When setting up a shoot with somebody, I like to ask questions about their character. What do they do? What is their personality like? If somebody is with them, what is the relationship like between the characters.

I also like to ask if they can provide reference photos of the character. This sometimes gives me a blue print to work with.

If you are lucky they will have a prop. Ask questions about how the character uses it. If it’s a weapon, ask for a demonstration to show how the character attacks. Do they have any magic qualities to them? Try to have a photo that showcases the prop.

When you watch a movie, the characters normally don’t look directly at the camera. This is done to help build the illusion of a story to an audience. I apply this concept to a lot of my photos. It gives a sense that there is more beyond the frame or something is about to unfold. Having people interact with each other is also a huge plus.

Try to keep in the context of the character and source. Doing a few funny or out of character photos are fine, but don’t let it overshadow the shoot. Personally, I am not a fan of… lets just say for example Mario trying to look sexy. It’s funny, but it is something that can’t be taken seriously.

Even if you are working with a costume that could be perceived as sexy, try not to make that the focus by constantly giving suggestive poses or ideas. The only exception of course is if that is what suits the character.

Ask the cosplayer if they have any ideas and poses of their own. Assist them so it can look good for the camera.

A lot of my work is spontaneous. For some shoots I don’t always plan. Fortunately as you become more experienced you get an idea if what works and what does not. Also just think about logically. Say, somebody is from a fighting game.. have them fight. If they are from a sports show….

The most difficult part can be to get the cosplayer emotionally invested in the shoot. Try to get the cosplayer in the mood by telling a story or a joke. Try to get them comfortable and bring life into the character. Remember that emotion comes from the eyes and not so much the mouth.

Remember that as a cosplayer photographer you have two big priorities. The first is to make the cosplayer look as good as possible with the resources at hand. Secondly, finding ways to show off the costume in a way that is faithful to the source. This means just don’t stick to the front, but have shots of the back and sides.

In conclusion everybody is going to work with you differently. There will be people who will prefer to direct themselves the whole time and you’re just there to capture it. Then there are people who want to be directed 100% of the time. I think I recall a time starting out where I did a spontaneous 5 minute shoot with somebody and asked “What does your character do?”, to which they had no answer to and I later found out they passive aggressively took it out on me for even asking.

Just remember this is a collaboration and everybody needs to be cordial for it to turn out well. You need to be serious about taking good photos, the cosplayer needs to be serious about getting them and if you follow some of my advice you might wind up with a few serious good photos.

Thanks for checking this out. If you like it let me know. I am also on facebook under Ken AD Photography or my new Ken Austin Photography for non cosplay stuff.

MomoCon Winter Ball

I had so much fun. I went as Alice from Alice In Wonderland and Sebrina was the Mad Hatter. At first, i felt awkward and didn’t want to dance, but once people starting dancing and i realized that EVERYONE there was awkward, i decided to dance. There was no need to feel awkward amidst awkward people like me. I mean, No one really cares how well you dance, it isn’t like: If you can’t dance, then don’t come. 

It’s “It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t, just have fun.” And i’m glad I realized that.

I taught sebrina how to waltz (i learned a long time ago, like when i was 7), and then sebrina basically ended up teaching me what i had taught her. x’D I forgot how to waltz.

There was no as much “formal” music as i thought there would be, there was mostly k-pop, vocaloid remixes, dub-step, anime themes, and even music from howls moving castle. 

I was glad I went, and I had fun.

Can’t wait till next year. 


Barnaby - ryumori
Kotetsu - hokaidoplanet
Pictures - Tetsushi
MomoCon 2015

it took me forever but i finally downloaded all the pictures from out shoots!! I want to be Kotetsu forever omg I never though I would be so invested into his character as i am now
bonus pic of how i switched her phone wallpaper to my face lol and it still is me after all this time HAHA

Between work and just overall life I’ve started to grow restless since Momocon. Although I have no intention on attending any conventions in the near future. Maybe working on another cosplay will cure this rut I’m in. I have an Idea of who I want to do but like my last endeavor I have no idea wtf I’m doing. HELP!! please