Photographing Costume PornPhotographing Costume Porn
Rough text with some sample pictures at the end:
What is costume porn, and why would I want anything todo with that kinky Japanese stuff?Youare confused.What you are thinkingof right now is Cosplay porn, where comely young girls dress up incostumes from Manga comics and Anime films and are photographed fondling eachother.Costume porn, on the otherhand is perfectly respectable.TheVictoria and Albert Museum actually does it best.Costume porn consists of close-up luscious photos of costumes that makecostumers get far more excited than any sane person should get by a museumpublication showing old clothes.Ifyou can open the pages of Fashion by the Kyoto Costume Institute, or
in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries from the V&A and notbegin to breathe heavily, you are NOT a costumer.
If youve ever tried taking photos of your own costumesand had them come out like bad snapshots, youve probably wondered how thosealmost edible museum photos were taken.Booksthat tell you about fashion photography dont tell you much about how to dothis sort of shot, and what little they do tell you implies you need to buy lotsof fancy equipment.You dont.You do need a bunch of equipment, in fact you need to build yourself atemporary photo studio to take this kind of detail rich shot, but it can becheap, and you can make much of it yourself.
Materialsto make your own temporary photo studio:
Decent film camera (35mm SLR) or digital camera (4MP or higher)& a tripod
If you have a film camera you will also need either a blue filter and daylight film, or no filter and tungsten film.Choose film with a low ASA speed, like 200 or lower, Kodaks tungsten film KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 100T is especially good for this type of work because it is low-contrast.
Clip lights, or various lamps with the shades taken off. A bright sunny window with a white sheet across it as a diffuser. AS MUCH LIGHT AS POSSIBLE, ANY WAY YOU CAN MANAGE IT.
Squares of buckram, paper or Pellon, to diffuse the lights. Clothespins to hold them onto clip lights.
Dress forms, head/hat stands, or mannequins as available for displaying the costume items. If you use live models, try to get performers who will stand in a characteristic attitude, not just like a lump.
Chairs, boxes & stools to hold small items up to a level where they can be photographed, and/or to serve as lamp holders.
Hat racks, music stands, or any upright poles for clip lamps to grab on.
Bed sheets, bulk fabric yardage in various colors, or roll paper for background. You can make a great neutral backdrop for photos by sewing together two bed sheets.Put one end beneath the mannequin, and hoist the other over the top bar of a rolling rack, or a curtain rod.
Clothesline, clothing rack or pole to hold up the background
Extension cords with power strip surge suppressors for safety and easy turn-off of multiple lights between shots.
Nylon stockings, netting, fiberfill, clothes hanger wire to make bendable arms for a costume on an armless dress form.
Crumpled newspapers to fill out skirts or sleeve puffs to correct fullness.
Duct tape, for keeping lights in place, heads on mannequins, and the background taut and smooth.
Straight pins, and fishing line for invisibly getting figures to pose as desired.
Photo processing program for fixing color problems and minor mistakes using your computer (Adobe Photoshop Elements is a good choice).
Set up your Studio in a configuration like this:
[insert picture here]
Mannequins look great if you spend just a few minutesadjusting and pinning the costume so it looks like a big puppet of thecharacter.You can fatten out armsjust by stuffing net into the cut off legs of a pair of pantyhose. Considerposing multiple characters together in relationships. [Insert Picture Here]
The keys to success are:
Lots of light, from many directions, as diffused as possible.
Setting up the mannequin or model so that it looks complete and perfect.
Keeping the camera and costume still for a nice long exposure with slow film and NO camera mounted flash.
Once youve spent all the time setting up your studio and mannequin, take lots of photos from many angles, especially pulling in very close for maximum detail.
Tweaking your photos into perfection with a photo-processing program.