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.
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DIY Home Cosplay Studio
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
- Natural light
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.
- Cell phone camera
- Phone ring light
- Mini tripod OR
- Regular standing tripod
Some extra items that you can get for your home cosplay studio is a phone ring light and a mini or standing tripod.
The tripod obviously takes the hassle out of propping your phone against a stack of books. The phone ring light makes it so that you can get even lighting at any time, day or night.
I used the phone ring light to take this Captain Marvel photo!
Option 2 – Intermediate Cosplay Studio
You will need:
- Stretchy fabric (I believe mine is scuba fabric? It’s from Wal-Mart)
- DSLR (mine is a Canon T5i)
- Ring light tripod
- DSLR remote
I received my DSLR and my ring light stand pretty early on in my cosplay journey (thanks to generous family members at Christmas).
DSLRs are great for crisp, clear cosplay photos. Or if you know how to edit, the raw images are best if you want to make a composite.
I wanted a ring light for my YouTube videos, but again, natural light works just as well (this Hermione photo was taken on my DSLR with natural light).
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
You’ll Need the Complete Studio Setup that comes with:
- 1 x White Wood Floor Backdrop (vinyl Plastic material)
- 1x 7x10ft Backdrop Stand (height of 2.6ft to 7ft, width of 5ft to 10ft)
- 2 x 4.5″ Heavy Duty Spring Clamps (to hold your backdrop)
- Black Reflector Umbrella x2
- WhiteTranslucent Umbrellas + Stand x2
- 2 x 45W Energy Saving Bulb
- 1 x Convenient Carry Bag for Background Stand
I bought this off of Amazon as a complete impulse buy (beer may have been involved).
It was only $75!
This is great if you have a ton of space in your home to take your own cosplay photos. You will have to watch my video to see how I use mine to easily change out my backdrops.
Let’s just say, it saves a lot of thumbtack holes in my wall.
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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.
I purchased Kamui Cosplay’s “The Book of Cosplay Photography – In Front and Behind the Camera” to learn more about posing, lighting, and camera settings. There’s still a lot to learn, but one of my goals this year is to get better at photography!
I hope these details helped you pick out your own DIY cosplay studio setup. If you have any more questions, just leave them in the comments below.