Do You Tilt?: A Brief Analysis of Dutch Angle in Cosplay Photograhy

November 6, 2013
3,465 Views

L5D38085

Here is a scenario: you are walking down the hall at a convention, and suddenly, an awesome cosplay appears. What do you do? You ask for a few minutes of his time for photos, and you think to yourself that it’s impossible to take a bad photo of such an awesome cosplay. But after a few shots, you look down to the back of your camera and think: they are boring; they are not dynamic enough. After a few moments of silent panicking, it hits you:

Tilt.

Suddenly, the pose seems more dynamic, and the composition becomes more interesting than ever. Everyone is happy.

N70A8854What you are experiencing is normal. In fact, many in the photography or videography realm have come to learn this tilting technique, so much so that it has a name: Dutch Angle. Go ahead, have a read of that Wikipedia page, I’ll wait…just kidding.

As many cosplay photographers have learned from one way or another, tilting a frame can instantly introduce a sense of motion, and “can make a picture appear on a slope, bringing to it a feeling of creativity and making the whole aesthetic more attractive”. This is particularly useful in cosplay photography as quite often cosplayers are posing statically for a shot, and albeit their awesome action-y poses, a static pose is still just that, static. However, with a little twist to the wrist, a photographer can sometimes turn the most rigid poses into dynamic shots.

And it’s used quite prevalently too. Don’t believe me? Check out one of our ambassadors Beethy’s shot; what about the all-time highest hit cosplay photo on DeviantArt?; The Wild Places project photographer Anna Fischer have some cool tilts on her Flickr; Darrell from BGZ Studios also has… no, not really. OK, while there are a few cosplay photographers around who avoid tilting their shots, the examples are more than plenty. As an additional experiment, flip through the portfolios of your top three favorite cosplay photographers and see if you can find any tilted cosplay photos.

IMG_1250e

My point is clear, tilting is one of the easiest ways to add motion and excitement to your cosplay photos, and when you are in a hunch to create something dynamic, just remember: twist the wrist.

The End. Unless you are tilting all the time, then please stop, because that is just lazy.

As with any technique, one can abuse tilting to the extreme without regard to the aesthetic pleasantness. It’s important to distinguish between personal style and “doing-it-just-for-the-sake-of-doing-it.” As you continue down the road of photography and videography, let me propose a question to add to your yearly self review: “Are you defining the style, or is the style defining you?” It’s inevitable to develop a personal style after years of experience, but it is also important to keep asking questions like this to keep yourself learning, growing, and thriving.

With that said, do you tilt? What is your opinion on tilted photos? Do you have any tips and tricks to share? Comment below and let us know!

If you found this article interesting, be sure to join our Facebook group, Cosplay Photography Discussion Group. It is a place for cosplay photographers of all levels to learn from each other. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook as well!

Notice a problem with this article? Let us know.

I am a Seattle, WA based lifestyle fashion photographer who has Cosplay to thank for his adventure into the photography world. In addition to fashion, I also maintain Costographer as my cosplay work outlet: http://facebook.com/costographer

2 Comments

  1. I started using tilt not long ago. It start during AX this year when I was reviewing my photo and found them to be plain, but I happened to take a very low shot and it was kind of in a hurry so I didn’t really frame the shot but it turn out to be pretty interesting cause it was tilted. Then I also watched as other photographers were at work and they were also tilting their shots so I thought I should give it a try.

    I do notice that tilting a shot can be difficult sometimes because if there’s too much tilt the shot could look awkward, and not enough tilt could result in the shot just look crooked. I sometimes would experiment with different tilt angle and framing and also tilting to different degree to see what’s most interesting…

  2. The Dutch Angle can be a real shot saver when it’s just not working out. But if possible, I try to create the motion in front of the lens with careful direction. Static, “dry” posing seems to be a common thing among cosplayers. Not saying that as an attack or complaint, mind you. It’s just a normal thing for people who aren’t always performing in front of the camera. Some careful direction from the photographer usually does the trick.

Leave a Reply