Oh hey, guys! Welcome to Cosplay and Coffee. My name is Tiffani, and today I am going to show you guys how to build your own DIY home cosplay studio.
I have done approximately one professional cosplay photoshoot. And while it went well, I just couldn’t get over the need to know exactly what was going on behind the lens. Plus, I just felt extremely awkward.
If you don’t have a photographer to take your cosplay photos on the regular, or you simply want an idea of how to set up your own cosplay studio— congrats!
You’ve come to the right place.
There is no right way to set up or take your own cosplay photos. You can pick and choose from any of these tiers to get the setup that works for your skill level, budget, and space at home.
The following options are pretty much the trajectory that my own cosplay studio took. I started at Option 1 with just a phone and a mirror (which is still a method I use often) and ended with Option 3.
I’m not sure if or how I will upgrade my home cosplay setup, but if I do, you can find the updates here!
Option 1 – Beginner Home Cosplay Studio
You will need:
Cell phone camera
Some of my best performing Instagram photos are cosplay selfies. In fact, some (like this Dexter cosplay) were just taken in a mirror in my bathroom.
The Hermione cosplay photo on the left was taken in front of a window. The natural light gives my photo even lighting so that you can see all the detail in my makeup. Even the freckles.
The DSLR remote was cheap and became almost necessary. Before I would have to run back and forth from my camera to take every single picture.
You can see from my video why the stretchy fabric is the best for your cosplay backdrops. Essentially, it just means that you NEVER have to iron your fabric before taking photos. Just find a blank wall in your house, stretch out your colored fabric, and thumbtack it to the wall!
You can mix and match these products to form your own cosplay photo setup.
For example, you can use your iPhone but upgrade to a ring light. I have the larger ring light to fit my DSLR, but you can get the smaller/cheaper option if you’re only using your phone.
Option 3 – Advanced Equipment For Your Cosplay Photos
Just so you know, I am not a photography expert. At all. These are just the items I have purchased over the last 3 years. I’m still learning to use some of this equipment, but for the most part, the learning curve wasn’t too steep.
Now my home cosplay studio consists of my Canon T5i, a DSLR remote control, a ring light, 4 umbrella lights, a collapsable backdrop stand, and multiple interchangeable backdrops.
Wondering where to get cosplay supplies? Honestly, there really is no limit on where you can shop.
Most cosplayers start by buying bits and pieces from thrift stores such as Goodwill. You can come up with really cool (and cheap) closet cosplays this way. You can find starter material that you can sew and alter (or use for mockups).
The next route you might take is eBay. I am a very impatient person, so I’m not too thrilled by the idea of buying a wig and waiting a month to gauge the quality.
However, 99% of the time, cosplayers tell me that they have huge and inexpensive success shopping here, so I still recommend it!
Then you can purchase full cosplays at some great online cosplay shops or, if you’re like me, you can become an almost exclusive Amazon shopper.
To help you get started, I’m going to walk you through everything I have in my personal cosplay desk. I have two YouTube videos on my cosplay craft room, so you can get more of a visual over there.
This list is exclusively for cosplay materials that you will probably need at your own cosplay desk. If there is anything else I’m forgetting or that you recommend, please feel free to leave us suggestions in the comments below!
Shop My Cosplay Materials!
Here are links to where I get all of my cosplay supplies!
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To give you an idea of what I think you should buy first, I’m going to list my favorites in order. The top items are what you should get first, followed by the more advanced options.
Patterns: My favorites are the Simplicity which frequently go on sale at Joann’s!
Fabric: Almost all of my material has been purchased from Joann’s. I have purchased material from Wal-Mart but your options are slim there, and it’s usually not the highest quality material.
However, I do find their little squares of fabric to come in handy, so I’ll stock up on those from time to time!
I haven’t found any place cheaper than Joann’s, although I know that other cosplayers have found local shops to have more options. If you have a great tip on where to buy cosplay fabrics, please let us know!
Rotary Sewing Cutting Set
Adjustable Dress Form
Hip Curve Ruler
Styling Design Ruler
Starter Cosplay Tools:
A good pair of scissors (for cosplay supplies only)
Glue Gun and Glue Sticks (or 5)
Box Cutter and/or X-Acto Knife
Wood Burner or Soldering Iron
There are a TON of things you can have at your cosplay workspace. I also recommend getting your hands on some of Kamui Cosplay’s patterns! They will save you so much time and it’s an easy way to learn foam smithing!
What cosplay supplies do you have in your craft room?
Halloween just ended which means one thing to cosplayers:
This time of year outshines the rest by a mile; discounted props, makeup, and costumes will forever be my preference over Black Friday shopping. Not all cosplayers are fond of this shopping technique… and for good reason. Halloween store products tend to be on the lower end of the quality scale.
But since I have no shame as to where my cosplays derive from, and because I know not everyone has the time and resources to make full-blown cosplay masterpieces, I wanted to test out these costumes. Specifically from Party City.
Below is a recap of the YouTube video I made. Right now (November 2019) Party City costumes are only like $25 so I say stock up while you can! You never know when that cheap corset will come in handy.
My Party City Costume Review
Click to see my YouTube video review
Has anyone else purchased costumes from Party City? What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments below!
Party City Female Scientist Costume Review
This is the dress I used for myDexter’s Laboratory cosplay. The package only came with the suit and the goggles. I thought the goggles would be great for a Quidditch cosplay, but they broke right out of the bag.
The dress itself was tailored nicely. I love the way it flares out slightly at the bottom and the zipper in the back makes for easy wear. However, the material itself is not comfortable (kind of scratchy). It’s not forgiving at all and the arm seam actually ripped the first or second time I put it on (you can see the footage in my video).
Cosplay & Coffee Rating: 4/5 cups of coffee ☕☕☕☕/5
Party City Grease Costume Review
Credit: Party City
As I mentioned in the video, the only reason I bought these costumes is because I was drunk shopping. We were going into Target and right next door, the BOGO Party City sign was screaming at me. So I stumbled in.
Having always wanted to try on the Sandy “Greaser” end scene look, the $10 costume presented itself as the perfect impulse buy. And because it was buy-one-get-one-free, the Pink Ladies jacket hanging on the adjacent rack seemed fitting.
Sandy Bodysuit: 1/5 ☕ The material is loose and tight at the same time. It’s made out of a shiny plastic material and looks bad from all angles. Not gonna lie… I was pretty sad that I couldn’t rock the Sandy look.
T-Bird Jacket: 5/5 ☕ Although I haven’t worn it out yet, the jacket looks super cute and covers up most of the embarrassment that is the bodysuit. I’ll probably even use it for a few front end shots of closet cosplays I have in mind. Follow me on Instagram if you want to stay updated!
Belts: 5/5 ☕ This $10 costume came with 2 belts which I can use for other cosplays and even in daily wear! I’m actually really excited about them.
Pink Ladies Jacket: 4/5 ☕ The jacket is silky and comfortable, but you can that it isn’t made from the best fabric. It tends to get hot very quickly and you’ll probably have to steam it any time you wear it.
Scarf and Leggings: 1/5 ☕ Did you see the video? Oooh boy, they are not pretty.
Thoughts About Getting Cosplays From Party City
Overall, I would recommend getting cosplays from Party City. As long as you’re not spending more than $40 per piece, I’d say it’s worth it. If anything, just for the random accessories that could come in handy. Just be sure to get the costumes well before Halloween when you can catch a deal. Anything over $50 (the standard pricing point around August-October), and I would advise you to just make your own or look on Amazon.
Paint the inside of the ornaments with different colored blue nail polish. I would drip a little bit in the orb and then swirl it around with the nail brush. I started with the lightest colored nail polish (an obaque blue glitter) and ended with the darkest nail polish (midnight blue). You don’t really have to wait for the layers of nail polish to try; just blend it all together! Then, just tuck in the white tulle (to diffuse the harsh light), and the LED light (the LED I listed above are remote control and can be various different colors!).
The prop you see in the photo above is actually this option. I used blue reflective tape on the inside of the globe. When you use flash photography, the tape will automatically give that fluorescent glow. I tried taping this specific tape to the outside, but the material is too thick for it to work. However, thinner white tape (such as Scotch Reflective Tape) should be easy enough if you just want to put the tape around the outside of the ornament.
Because the tape I use is so thick, I traced the size of the ornament on white paper, and then laid the tape down on top of that circle. Then I retraced the ornament on top of the reflective tape (use a permanent marker so you can see it) and cut out the circle. In order to place the flat circle inside the globe, I cut a line to the center of the circle so that the reflective tape could bend to fit inside. You’ll need two of these (one for each side of the ornament).
Lastly, put four dabs of hot glue on the inside of the ornament. Push your circular reflective tape piece underneath that once it dries, and it should stay. Do the same to the other side, close up the ornament, and you’re done!
From the side, you won’t be able to see the blue reflective tape so make sure the blue is facing frontwards when you’re taking photos. This is why taping the outside is a viable option since you won’t have to worry about that. But as I mentioned, the specific tape I bought isn’t flexible enough to fit the ornament.
You can also add fishing wire to the bottom and top loops that come with the ornament in order to create a suspending effect (I’ll update when I actually do this)!
Questions? Leave them in the comments below!
Recommended Glam & Gore Frost Bite Makeup Tutorial: https://youtu.be/VPoKuOlUoBM