There are a lot of amazing fantasy costumes out there. If you're looking to photograph cosplayers, fantasy or not, this article is for you!

How to Photograph Fantasy Costumes

To create photos like these, it's important to have a solid understanding of light, composition and how to use these elements. Getting the right location is also key—the wrong background can really ruin an image. If you're new to photography, fantasy costumes are a great way to learn how to photograph people because they're not only fun, but they allow you to get creative with your lighting and settings in ways that might otherwise be more challenging.

Lighting is important—very important—but it's not everything! You can use light modifiers like umbrellas, soft boxes or reflectors when photographing fantasy costumes. Wardrobe plays just as large of a role: if someone wears something that doesn't fit well or isn't very flattering in person (or on camera), it's going look bad from every angle no matter what type of lighting you have set up for them!

Fantasy costumes are a great way to learn how to photograph people.

They're interesting and colorful, which makes them easier to work with. You can use the same techniques you might use on a person in regular clothing to make them look awesome and unique!

They also help you get comfortable working with your camera's settings so that when you do have something more "normal" in front of your lens, it isn't too hard for you to figure out what needs adjusting.

Finding Great Locations to Photograph Fantasy Costumes

Here are some things to look for to help you find the best locations for photographing fantasy costumes:

  • Backgrounds. You want to look for backgrounds that will compliment your subject. If they're wearing a costume that's mostly black and gray, then finding an interesting background with lots of color is going to make them pop out of the shot. Look for patterns, textures and shapes that are different from the outfit you're photographing so it doesn't become too busy in the frame.
  • Lighting. Don't forget about lighting! The way light hits your subject can make all of the difference in how their costume looks when photographed - especially if it's made from shiny materials like sequins or metallic fabrications (like this amazing Black Widow Cosplay.) A good rule of thumb is: Natural light always wins over artificial lights every time because it doesn't have any harsh shadows which means your cosplayer won't end up looking like a cave troll who just wandered out into sunlight after being asleep for 10 years! So if at all possible try to shoot outside whenever possible!

All you need is a good location and a little practice.

You can make this happen even if you’re just starting out. All you need is a little practice and a good location. Practice every day, and try different techniques until you get the results that are right for you. You’ll figure out what works best in your situation—you might find that using several lights is better than using one, or that taking photos indoors is easier than outdoors. It might be hard at first, but don’t give up!

No matter how much time I spend practicing my photography skills or how much knowledge I gain about how to use my equipment, there are times when things go wrong—and when they do go wrong, sometimes it costs me money (in terms of lost product). But even if something goes wrong during an assignment like this one where we had a tight deadline due to Comic Con International coming up soon after our shoot session was completed? Well… those mistakes only serve as valuable lessons learned!


When planning a shoot, there are many factors you should consider. One of the most important is location. The right setting can make or break a photo shoot and can elevate your images from good to great.

  • Location must be interesting and have a good background. This is the most obvious requirement of any photography shoot, but it's also one that many photographers overlook when working with cosplayers (especially amateurs). If the location itself isn't interesting enough to draw attention away from your model/subjects, then you'll wind up with dull photos that people won't want to look at—and why would they? You're better than boring pictures!
  • Location must have good lighting. Good lighting means that there aren't too many shadows being cast by your subject(s) onto other parts of their costume or body (for instance, hiding their face in shadow if they're wearing glasses). It also creates contrast between those parts which do receive light so it looks more dramatic—and more visually appealing overall!


The best lighting for photo shoots is soft light. This can be provided by umbrellas, softboxes, and reflectors. Bouncing light from a white wall or ceiling will also soften it. Use your own body as a diffuser by putting yourself between the camera and the subject to help with casting shadows on places where you don't want them (for example, under the chin).

You may need to use two lights instead of one if you're doing studio work because you'll want more control over how brightly each area of your subject is lit without blowing out any part of their costume or makeup (even though it's possible).

Lighting Modifiers

In order to achieve the best lighting for your cosplay shoot, you need to think about the type of environment that you're shooting in. If you have access to a studio, then there are many options for diffusing and softening light. You can use a softbox or umbrella for your main light source, as well as a reflector (white or silver) for bouncing and reflecting light back onto the subject.

If shooting outdoors, try using natural sunlight instead of flash if possible—it will give off more natural-looking results. If you need additional lighting but don't have access to an adequate location outside, consider using a large diffuser over your flash head that will soften and disperse it into softer shadows while still being able to cast some directional highlights off of certain parts of your subject's costume pieces.


  • Choose a color that will pop against the background.
  • Choose a costume that is not too busy.
  • Choose a costume that is not too dark or too light.
  • Choose a costume that is not too shiny or too dull.

Camera Settings

  • Shutter Speed:

When you go to take a photo with your DSLR, there are three main settings that will affect how the photo turns out. These settings include ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. Shutter speed refers to how long your camera's shutter remains open when taking a photo (ie: how much light can enter the lens). This means that if you have a higher shutter speed (ie: 1/1000th) then less light will pass through the lens than if your shutter was slower (ie: 1/60th). To put it simply – if you have a slow shutter speed then more light will pass through your lens than if you had a fast one. If you're shooting indoors or at night time then this could be helpful in getting enough light into your camera without having to use high ISOs which can result in grainy images or digital noise when looking at them on screen. (To Learn more on settings and breaking down the triangle read our blog post here)


A good photo editor is essential to the process. You will be working with layers, masking and many other techniques. Adobe Photoshop is a common choice for professionals, but there are less expensive options such as GIMP that offer most of the same functionality.

In conclusion, the most important thing when it comes to taking photos of cosplay is having fun! It's great if you can work on improving your skills and getting better, but don't forget that there's no right or wrong way to do it. Just have fun!

If you're interested in learning more about our cosplay photography, please contact us today! We'd be happy to chat with you about our packages and discounts. Thank you for reading!

Cosplay photography by Fungirlwithacamera Photography

Hope from Fungirlwithacamera Photography specializes in Cosplay photography.

Get in touch