Photographing Cosplayers

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“Photographing Cosplayers” is written by Jacob delaRosa (

Hello! My name is Jacob delaRosa and I am a wedding, family and senior photographer who has been working on a personal project involving cosplayers for the past year. I really enjoy photographing the domestic side of things but I strongly believe it is important for photographers to do something for themselves in order to keep their creativity fresh and alive. Many of my photography friends are heavily involved in the cosplay photography scene and their work inspired me to start a this endeavor. However, when I began this project, I wanted to explore the world of cosplay in a way that had not been done before. I wanted to show the faces behind the costumes.

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While all of the outfits are flashy and some downright strange, the participants are no different form you and I. They simply enjoy dressing up as their favorite character and hanging out with their friends. Sadly, despite the fun they have at conventions, most cosplayers try to keep their hobby separate from their “everyday” lives because of concerns that their friends and employers won’t understand. This is especially true with social media sites where cosplayers operate separate accounts and fan pages. Some even go further than that by adopting pseudonyms which they maintain online and in real life.

Photographing cosplayers
However, in spite of all this, I have noticed that the cosplay community is a tight-nit scene. So much so that one might say that the “Kevin Bacon” game could easily be played with anyone involved. Simply pick two cosplayers and chances are they won’t be separated by more than one or two people. Outside of conventions, cosplayers keep in touch through social media, making plans and talking about future cosplays and meetups.

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One of the interesting things I noticed while creating these portraits is how closely the cosplayers matched their characters, both in physical appearance and demeanor. They truly strive to embody the character and make a great deal of effort to ensure the accuracy of the costume. While buying one’s outfit is not out of the question, most in the community choose to make theirs by hand, which adds an element of authenticity and gives the outfit a unique flair.

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I have been working on this personal project for almost a year and will continue to produce theses portraits for the foreseeable future. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it outside of sharing images online but I have toyed with the idea of submitting my work to art galleries. Until then, I’ll keep going to conventions and contacting local cosplayers for portraits. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post!

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