Barring the most delusional individuals, cosplayers don’t really think they’re becoming their favorite anime or video game characters by putting on a costume. Cosplay is all about playing make-believe, and recently more and more cosplayers are willing to share the “make” portion by revealing the silly process by which they create a cool photo, including all the embarrassing slouching and off-camera assistance they get from their friends.

Let’s start off with one of the most common things cosplayers have to find a workaround for. While you can use makeup and dye to make your face and hair look like that of your cosplay inspiration, not everyone has the incredibly lanky build and long legs of anime’s leading men and ladies. So sometimes pulling off a shot means having to do something like this.

If you don’t have a stepstool handy, you might have to make adjustments in the opposite direction.

Things get even more complicated when you’re shooting a whole group, especially if the members hail from a video game with polygonal character models that make fans keenly aware of what their relative heights should be.

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Of course, even when there’s only one person seen in the final photograph, cosplay is rarely a solo endeavor. The legs and torso of this cosplayer weren’t quite long enough to pull of this dramatic pose without a bit of assistance to keep from sliding off the tabletop.

Since most cosplayers are amateurs with limited budgets, building their own sets is generally out of the question. Thankfully, this being Japan, suitable samurai backdrops aren’t hard to come by, and with a little searching you can find old-fashioned buildings that will let you shoot inside. But how did they get all those katana sticking out of the ground without ruining the floor?

On the other hand, sometimes no one is actually holding up anything at all.

With so many anime being about characters in their teens, plus the recent success of cycling franchise Yowamushi Pedal, bicycles often feature into the visual storytelling, although cosplayers can find ways to make do without an actual bike to use as a prop.

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Shifting from land-based to aerial vehicles, this photographer was in the exact right place at the right time to snap this airplane as it flew over his subject…or, maybe not.

Nature and the elements also need a little nudge sometimes, either to frame the shot with “flowers”…

…create a gust of wind…

…or produce one of those tricky cosplay water splashes.

Still, no matter how wide your circle of like-minded cosplay enthusiasts is, sometimes you’re going to find yourself in a situation where you just can’t get all the helpers you need. So what do you do then?

You simply rely on the fact that you’ve got enough passion and ingenuity for two.

Sources: Matome Matome, Halol