Anime and video game characters come from all backgrounds, including the dark and spooky. What better place to do a photoshoot for these cosplays than a graveyard?
Well, there is more to it than just that. Many people don’t appreciate strangers in outlandish outfits posing next to their loved ones’ remains. Some cemeteries have rules regarding photographs and decorum, not to mention that many may find it distasteful. There is no one stopping you from doing so, but I personally am a bit uncomfortable with the idea.
So if you don’t want to shoot in an actual graveyard, what other options are there? Well, you have two. The first is to do the base photoshoot and then create composite images by photoshopping in stock graveyard pictures. If you or a friend is very talented with photo editing, this can be a great way to get the image you want.
The second option is practical effects. You can build your own graveyard setting and do your photoshoot there. This involves a bit more pre-planning, but is another solid option. For my Liliana Vess photoshoot, we did just that. I went to my local Target and bought a multi-pack of cheap Styrofoam gravestones that I brought with me to the convention. They took up a lot of suitcase space, but the end result was definitely worth it.
Some tips about bringing your own gravestones/building a graveyard set:
-As you may expect, the best time to buy gravestone decorations is around Halloween when all of the spooky outdoor décor is easily accessible.
-You don’t have to spend a lot of money, so shop around to find the best deal before making your purchase. Holiday decorations can sometimes have a bit of inflated pricing and you don’t want to break the bank for a couple pieces of foam.
-If you can’t find reasonable priced tombstones, you can make your own out of cardboard, foam, wood, or whatever else you have handy.
-Some of the headstone-type grave markers have plastic spikes or metal rods in them to better anchor them into the ground. Use caution, as this may make them not allowed in a convention setting.
-Pay attention to how much of an impact your shoot will have to the surrounding area. Don’t trample gardens or have headstone spikes leave large holes in the ground. For Liliana we shot in a garden that was ripped up as a part of venue construction, so it added to the ambiance and we didn’t have to worry about messing it up.
-If you can’t use spikes, you can prop your gravestones against tree trunks or place items behind them to keep them upright
-And lastly, remember to pick up your props after you are done and leave the location looking the same or better than it did when you arrived.
A graveyard set can be a great way to create some unique and spooky cosplay photos. If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments below!