Cosplay photography has been one of the most popular portrait photography sub-genres for a good reason: it helps bring to life the world’s most popular and well-loved superheroes. However, as any cosplayer and photographer will tell you, it’s often not as simple as getting someone to dress up as their favorite comic book character and photographing them in it. There’s also the task of making everything in the photo as convincing as possible. This is where the cosplayer-photographer tandem is put to the test: the cosplayer in how detail-oriented and accurate his portrayal is, and the photographer in how well he is able to set the scene and tell the story. Today, we take a look at how Russian photographer Ilya Nodia achieves this with his cinematic take on a Batman cosplay shoot.
“Cosplay is not my main direction of photography, so I’m not shooting heroes very often. But every time when it happens, I’ve got amazing result,” the Moscow-based commercial and advertising photographer has found. It’s easy to see why he sees his Batman portraits such a success. As a creative who specializes in the cinematic style, one of his main goals is to make each shot look and feel like a still from a movie. And yes, he achieved just that with this series set on the rooftop FD photostudio in downtown Los Angeles.
The shoot, he said, was a small challenge to shoot with using the Sony a7R III on high ISO, as he found noticeable noise in low light night photos. It also involved the unusual work with video light to achieve a more cinematic effect. First, he said the background was shot first, before lighting were added to illuminate Batman. The main source of soft light was the pilot light on the Godox AD600, while he used Youngnuo YN360 LED sticks to add the colors.
Could he have achieved this cinematic look better with this setup compared with flashes? He said it’s hard to say, but he believes the flashes would produce more or less the same, without the noise but also requiring a little extra work with layers in post-production.