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Equipment for Cosplay Photography

INTRODUCTION
WHAT IS IN MY BAG?

Welcome to a guide on equipment for cosplay photography. Whether you are a beginner cosplay photographer or an expert ninja, I am sure that you have sometimes wondered about what to buy next, and what the other photographers are using. Having gone through the beginner, intermediate, and maybe expert stage myself, I shall share some of the good stuff that I have used and give some recommendations. Read on to find out what is in my bag.

CONFESSION
AN HONEST DISCLOSURE

Quick, hide your wallets! I am an affiliate partner of Google, eBay, Adobe, Bluehost, and more. There are affiliate links and advertisements throughout this website. Whenever you buy things from the evil links that I recommend, I will make a commission.

Nah. These are just things to keep the blog going, and allows me to give more good stuff to you guys - for free. So thank you if you decide to pick up my recommendations!

FOR THE CASUAL PHOTOGRAPHERS

So you just want to take cosplay photos for fun? Back in those days, smartphone cameras really suck and I had a simple Olympus point-and-shoot camera. But these days, smartphones are pretty decent and I will say stick with it (or use a compact camera). No need to invest heavily in expensive photography equipment.

Although I will recommend getting an additional Godox LED 64 video light, which is way better than that tiny LED on smartphones/tablets… Good for taking selfies as well.

FOR THE BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHERS

So you are looking for something a little more serious, something with a little more firepower. Then it’s time to hop on the DSLR/mirrorless camera train. But nope, I don’t recommend beginners to immediately jump into professional cameras and spend thousands on it… Not until you are really dedicated to photography.

No need to break the piggy bank with a thousand dollar camera, just go for the entry level/middle range and that will do just fine. Also, remember to invest a little bit on lighting – They make a world of difference, and again, you don’t have to spend a lot.

  • Get a Godox TT600, which is a mighty decent flash unit that doesn’t cost too much. Just remember to buy one that is compatible with your camera (Nikon, Canon, and Sony flashes are all different).
  • A cheap 5-in-1 reflector is also a good addition, as long as the sun shines. But you can also bounce the flash off the reflector.

A WORD OF ADVICE HENCEFORTH…

Wait up. From this point onwards, things get pretty… heavy and expensive. As much as I love to say that is all about the skills, equipment does play a part. You can’t do proper night shoots without good lighting, and you can’t do trick shots without the use of various props.

But don’t let that trick you into spending unnecessarily. If you are still an amateur cosplay photographer, I believe that the most important thing is to learn first – How to pose, experiment with various angles, get comfortable with using the Flash, and pushing your current equipment to the limits. When you hit that “I can’t progress anymore with my current equipment”, it is then a good time to figure out your next purchase.

EXTRA

If you are still struggling with that flash, feel free to dive right into my free photography lighting tutorial series.

7 Photography Lighting Tutorials (Free Beginner Series)

FOR THE ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHERS

Welcome to the world of (slightly) serious Cosplay Photography. This is where you carry around a lot of lighting equipment, props, and stuff like Santa… Not really. But at this stage, you should already be comfortable with the flash and looking at off-camera flash, even multiple light setups. Apart from your camera, you will be needing these:

  • Flash (one or more) – I still recommend the Godox TT600, a decent flash with built-in receiver.
  • Wireless trigger – If you are using the Godox TT600, then you will also need the Godox X1T trigger.
  • LED Video Light – If you are not fond of using flash, LED video light panels are your next best bet. I recommend the cheap and good YongNuo.
  • Light stand and softbox – Well, not those monster sized ones. Just a decent kit that is portable and can be hand carried.

Well, it really isn’t that bad. If you are shooting together with friends, try to use the same system, and that way, you can share a multiple lights setup.

FOR THE EXPERT PHOTOGRAPHERS

Well met, master ninja photographer. This is what I think every dedicated ninja should be carrying around… and please feel free to agree/disagree. Also note that these are not all the stuff that is in my bag, but these are also a few stuff that is on my wishlist.

  • A professional class camera – DSLR or mirrorless. Maybe even a spare camera.
  • Flash units – I am comfortable with at least 2. One as the main light, another as the fill or back light.
  • Monobloc strobes – These bad boys put out a lot more light than the normal flash units. I hate to carry bricks around, and so, prefer to use the Godox AD200.
  • Wireless trigger – The Godox X1T.
  • Lightstand & softbox – At least one of these.
  • Extras – Color gels, snoot, reflectors, etc…

Anyway, as an expert photo ninja, you can expect equipment for a “full production”… Probably unhealthy to do and carry everything by yourself, so go get some helpers.

THE PROPS

Yep, props are not only meant for cosplayers. Regardless of your current skills level, photographers should also bring their own cheap props to spice up their photos.

  • Flower petals
  • Feathers
  • Confetti

SO… WHAT IS IN MY BAG?

All right, for this final part, I will let the cat out of the bag. These are the stuff that I usually carry around:

  • Nikon D610 – An “entry level” full frame DSLR.
  • For cosplay photography, I usually use the Sigma 35mm art or good old vintage Nikkor 35-105mm AIS lens.
  • Godox AD360 (the first version, with an attached Godox XTR-16).
  • A set of color gel.
  • Godox X1T-N.
  • Lightstand + octagon softbox.
  • Occasionally, I will bring some props along – petals, ribbons, fishing lines, etc…
Equipment for Cosplay Photography (click to enlarge)

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