She has given me permission to use the before and after images to help demonstrate the differences a few changes can make. (Hopefully Bushes doesn't mind that used a shot of her, as well.) I'll break them down into bite-sized chunks for everyone. Om nom. :p
Update: I finally figured out why some of my screenshots have a waffle, or thatched, pattern in the shading and shadows. The SSAO feature appearantly adds it when viewed under certain lighting conditions and angles. I have disabled it. If you see a similar effect, you should disable it, as well.
Not everyone is rocking a high performance rig, so getting your video settings ready for a fashion photo shoot might take a bit of changes to the sliders and pull-downs in the System menu. The basic settings under Graphics that we want to mess with are Resolution and Multisampling, followed by the Graphics slider bar. Before you start doing anything with these settings, write down or make a mental note where your current settings are set. The goal is to take some shots, then put the game back to a playable state.
This should be set to Windowed (Fullscreen) or Fullscreen. This will allow you to position your camera easily, and prepare for the second setting.
For our photo shoot, we want the highest resolution available. Your monitor determines how high that you can set this. Generally, the setting furthest down the list is your highest available resolution. Choose that, and now we have more pixels for the pictures.
This is a crucial setting. The end effect is the higher the setting, the smoother the edges. There is a side effect, where too much will cause some edges to blur. I find that a setting of 4x is good, but you might like a different setting. Try them out, but generally 2x or more is better.
This slider is pretty straight forward. The further to the right you move it, the better most settings get. For all of the manual settings, the pull-down tabs are lowest setting at top and highest setting at the bottom. For our screenshots, move the bar all the way to the right. Please, don't forget to make a note of your current settings.
Now that your video settings are ready, lets hit up the user interface settings. These are command line options that are set using the chat window line. Just like you would /whisper a player, you use /console to talk to World of Warcraft's game settings. Lets hit up a few settings that help make for higher quality photos of your characters. Not that these commands are always caseSensitive, so if you see a capital letter in a command, it is on purpose.
Screenshot Image Quality Command: /console screenshotQuality [value]
When using this command, replace [value] with a number 1 thru 10. The setting of 10 is the highest available setting and is the value we'll be using for saving those precious moments. A setting of 3 is the default, and when you log out, it will revert back to this value. Be sure to set it back to 10 before hitting [CTRL]+[Print Screen] for the best shots.
example: /console screenshotQuality 10
Screenshot Image Format Command (advanced users): /console screenshotFormat [format]
Replace [format] with jpg or tga. The default is jpg, which is JPEG format understood by most photo editors and websites. I suggest sticking with JPEG. However, if you are perfectionist who demands quality, you can try your hand at the tga command, which gives you a very large image that is loss-less. This means no compression, high quality images suitable for photo editing using GIMP or Photoshop. There is a great page on WoWWiki that reiterates these commands and has some shots of the differences.
example: /console screenshotFormat jpg
Fullscreen Glow Effect: /console ffxGlow [value]
Replace [value] with 1 or 0. Setting it to 1 enables this visual effect. Generally it gives a warm glow to everything on the screen. At night it's more noticable near fires and lamps, and the visual effects also change on the player as well. This is purely a preference and can add a little ambiance to a nighttime photo shoot. Draenei glow, I mean really GLOW with this enabled. At least they did the last time I used it. To disable it, use a value of 0. Here is a blue post on this topic.
example: /console ffxGlow 1
Now that your primed an ready to start snapping a few shots of your character, lets go over a few techniques. These are mostly form over function, but can increase the detail available for you to see.
Location, Location, Location:
Not every shot has to be a masterpiece, but it doesn't hurt to try. A nice backdrop for your special set is always a bonus to what is already a work of your creativity. Generally, anywhere you like is good. Be it a wall or majestic backdrop, choose the place that fits your style. It's best to avoid having other players in the shot, as they may not want their picture taken. It also clutters up the scene a bit.
Nat Pagle's Screenshot Anglers:
This is also a matter of preference. I generally like having a front shot, back shot, and 2 orthogonal shots. The orthogonal shots usually are the classic 3/4th view, where some of the face and one ear is hidden. This gives the face some depth and shows off weapons and shields nicely. Obviously, some races ears are long enough they'll still be showing, but I think you catch the meaning. :p
Highlight Your Features:
If your character or set feels a bit too dark, target yourself and you will increase the brightness by quite a bit. Sometimes you want it, sometimes you don't. The screenshot will look like it does on the screen, so choose accordingly.
Bring it in Closer:
A great technique for increasing the resolution of your character is to take a couple shots close up where you have just the top of the boots area showing up through the rest of the body in the shot. If you are taking shots by yourself, this is great for detailing the central parts of your set. Don't get too close, or your character will become transparent.
Bring a Friend:
Having a friend take screenshots of your set is not only beneficial, but involves them in the fun of sharing your sets within your circle and to the world, if you choose to upload them to a site. They should, of course, have their settings all tweaked appropriately. The shots I put up of other's sets have been steadily getting better, particularly when I found out this simple trick: Don't include the name in the scene. You want your name above your head for at least one of the shots, but bringing it in a little bit closer than you can do by yourself makes for some really high resolution vanity shots.
Save It Like You Mean It:
If you do any post editing on your screenshots, like cropping, be sure to save it in a high resolution format, like PNG. This will keep the quality of your screenshot at it's peak. The before shot above is a JPEG image at about 20 kilobytes, whereas the adjusted one is about 260 kilobytes. Generally, the bigger, the better when it comes to compression. You can have small, or high quality. It's difficult to get both. :p
Submit your own sets on Mog's Addiction, hit up WoW Roleplay Gear and share on their sets, or your favorite transmogrification site.
I hope everyone enjoys their personal fashion shows, and as always: MOG ALL THE THINGS! :p