So you finally have that costume, now what? – A quick guide on how to cosplay in 2020

Photo by Primal Nerdz; Cosplay by Ludus Cosplay

There are a million and one things going on at the moment. Months have flown past faster than a well-organised flock of sparrows, and it feels like we’re just standing here watching it in slow-motion. The last thing on most of our minds is cosplaying because it’s effort, you know? But what if that’s exactly what we need in our lives right now?

We’re well into the month of October now (although it was May only two days ago), and that means a lot of spooky, weird and wonderful things are going to be hitting your timelines. This year’s Halloween will be the perfect excuse to get out of those worn through pajamas (or maybe repurpose them?), and have some good, safe fun!

I want to try and put the “play” back into cosplay. But where do we start?

The cosplay

Obviously this will be the most important part. So, make sure you choose something you really want to do, something you’re commited to. You’re going to be stuck with it for a little while.

But before you go freaking out, thinking that “this is too much pressure for one outfit”, just know that you’ll have ample time to do all the characters on your to-do list. Just close your eyes and pick the one that excites you the most.

Now once you’ve picked what you wanted to cosplay, whether an actual character or just an amalgamation of ideas that spoke to you creatively, all you have to do is put it together. Yes, easier said than done, but it’s a lot simpler than you think and there are many ways of getting it done.

If you do need some guidance on how to throw a costume together from what’s in your closet I have made a few small guides on how, or where to find costumes you can buy, that I suggest you take a look at.

The occasion

OK, so yes… this year has been a disaster for the global convention scene. A lot of organisers have chosen to take their events online. An admirable and smart idea. But while I tried to participate in the local convention weekends, personally I couldn’t get myself to get the same level of enthusiasm. So what do we do as fans at home?

This may come as a shock to a few of you, but you don’t need a reason to cosplay. You can just do it. If you feel the itch to be a little bit creative, then scratch it by throwing on a costume and taking some cool photos in your backyard. It really is as easy as that!

So if your issue is you’re “all dressed up with nowhere to go”, then don’t go anywhere!

Enjoy the fun of running around in a cosplay in the safety of your own home, or organise a little outing with a few friends to snap some photos. Not only will it build your confidence to do that at an event, but it also gives you an opportunity to refine your entire look, and create content to share with friends!

The content

From the left: @Shellanin, @Yamaki_Cosplay, @Phil_Mizuno, @luxlocosplay

Contrary to popular belief you don’t need a fancy studio or a paid-for photographer to get pictures of your ensemble. All you need is yourself, a phone, and (if you feel comfortable enough with them) a friend to take your photo or a tripod/something to balance your phone on.

Personally, I prefer to do my photos completely solo unless it’s a photoshoot session I organised. It allows me get comfortable in front of the camera and let my personality come through as I see fit. So just see what kind of situation you’re more comfortable with, and let the creativity flow.

There are a million tutorials on YouTube on how to do a home photo shoot, here is one that I rather liked to start you out:

A few things I’d like to add to this is that if you don’t want to subscribe to Adobe to get access to some editing software then you can grab Lightroom on your phone. It’s free, and the settings are (I find) easier to adjust with the touch screen sliders.

And while doing your shoots inside is going to be your default, because then your neighbours can’t see you, I do encourage you to go outside or to use as much natural light as possible. You’ll come out with higher quality photos that require a lot less editing at the end of it all.

Proof of concept

Now to put theory into practice! I wanted to prove to you that following these steps will get you a finished product you’ll feel proud about sharing on all your social media pages. Here’s what I came up with, and how I did it:

As a proof of concept, I decided to throw something together from my own closet. I grabbed a playsuit I bought for another cosplay I did a while ago, a white tank top and some makeup to make the “costume” part of this closet Venusaur cosplay. The only thing that is special here is the flower. I made it for rAge last year, and the whole thing is made completely out of foam, wood glue (to make it look smooth) and paint.

I got dressed, did my makeup (an optional step), grabbed my prop and camera, and went out into the garden as the sun was setting. I snapped a few photos with a 10-second timer enabled, and edited a photo (above) using Lightroom. That’s it! That’s all it takes.

The conclusion

The only thing standing in between you and cosplaying is you. Use Halloween as a starting point to practice for next year’s convention season. Before you know it you’ll be slapping together cosplays for yourself and not due to an upcoming event, and enjoying the process of creation without the threat of a deadline.

Keep your eyes on the site, I’ll be making another cosplay guide for quick and easy costumes for this festive month. If you do dress up for Halloween this year please tag SA Gamer in your posts, we’d love to see what you create!

I obviously don't know anything about games. I'm just here for the free food, and to push my feminist agenda.

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