Advice to Cosplayers and Photographers for Comic Con
the comments in here are not rules they are advice and not all photographers and cosplayers will agree with the advice I have given here. that fine this is a personal opinion based upon my own experience and conversation had with other photographers and cosplayers.
So in a weeks time is MCM London October this is a big event in the Comic Con Diary in the UK. its super busy and lots of cosplayer use this as a chance to work with photographers they not worked with before or to work with photographers they don’t see very often.
Lots of things can go wrong with this experience on both sides so i decided to write a quick set of tips on how I work at Comic Con. That being said a lot of photographers work in different ways but this is my format and I know some work in a similar way A lot of what I am saying is common sense.
Pre Comic Con
If there is a specific photographer you want to work with at the con make sure you contact them before. some do time slots others work on a queue system some are just come find me. I work on a slot system simply because it means I stay busy thought the day without large queue forming and cosplayers are not standing around bored or struggling to find me. But the theme thought this Post will be about communication on both sides. the same goes really for photographer if there is a specific cosplayer you want to work with try to contact them before the con and arrange the shoot some don’t like arranging time slots for lots of reason they get dragged off places or a previous shoot has taken longer than expected so if you want to work with someone you sometimes have to be flexible.
Not sure what photographers you want to work with ? or what cosplayers you want to work with. Do your research. check out people portfolio’s either on Instagram, Facebook or there own website Especially for Cosplayers.
Lots of photographers work in different ways. some might offer you one Image for free with a heavy edit (full background replacement and lots of effects) on it others like myself might offer 3 images with standard editing (basic skin touch up maybe some minor effects) Some of the heavier editors are now charging for the edits and if that what your looking for be prepared to pay.
For me Con are more about meeting people so I provide 3 shots for a 20 mins slot with standard editing on them. yes people will be in the background but my way of working is I get as much right in camera as i can because i am not a digital artist. Also Con limit the equipment you can use. so if you think by shooting with me at con you will get an image that looks like its been shot in a studio sadly that not the case. But if you like my work its a good chance to meet me and talk about booking an out of Con shoot either on location or in my studio.
So you know what your getting and you know who you want to work with so on to con it self. If you got a time slot try to be on time and that works both ways if you want to work with a person that doesn’t do time slots be prepared to wait.
if you can’t make a slot you have arranged for what ever reason do everything you can to let the other person know. nothing is worse that poor communications so try to make sure you have a way of contacting everyone one you arranged to work with. if you miss your slot be prepared for either not getting to work with that person or having to wait until they can fit you in
so some major do and don’t for cosplayers
- Don’t ask for the RAW images no real photographer will give his RAW images away for free
- Don’t expect photographers to drop everything they are doing for you
- Don’t message the photographer same day as you shot with them asking if they finished the pictures yet
- If the photographer is on a break let them finish the break we all allowed down time
- Don’t expect the photographer to know every fandom
- Do be polite for most of us this is a hobby we are not charging we are not a service industry pay by the con to be there to shoot you we are there as part of the community same as cosplayers
- Do know the poses you want to capture
- Don’t ask photographers to fix part of your cosplay as part of the editing
- if you feeling nice bring the photographer a bottle of water sometime we don’t get a break to go grab some or another cosplayer might need some during a shoot
- Don’t expect every photographer to say yes to doing some photo’s for you
Major do and don’t for photographers
- Don’t try to at inappropriate shots (seen this happen to many times sadly) or ask them to do poses that they may fill ill at ease with
- Do remember the person in the costume is a person not just a photography subject Talk to them show an interest in them as people
- Do make sure the cosplayer has a way of contacting you to get the pictures
- Don’t expect cosplayers to stop what they are doing (eating, having a conversation, working with another photographer for you (if i had a pound for every time while i am working with a cosplayer for someone interrupting to ask for a picture i would have a lot more camera kit that I currently do) if you really want a picture of someone wait until they are free
- Make sure the cosplayer is well hydrated and when they say stop to stop I seen photographers push people to the point of fainting to just get one more shot people health always come first
- Be insured there is a worrying trend of photographers not taking insurance of any kind if your working with the general public its your duty to have personal liability insurance at the very least let alone the coverage of your equipment. accidents happen during shoots no matter how careful you are and really doesn’t matter if you a pro or a hobbyist you should be insured
- Don’t snip another person shot or take shots without speaking to the cosplayer first especially if they are eating smoking or chatting
Photographers normally have a large work load to get though not just from con Don’t expect your pictures to be done next day currently my lead time is about 2 months some get done quicker.
If you met a photographer for the first time and they give you a card. drop them a message saying approx when they shot with you what you was wearing and contact details so they can get pictures back to you
If your a photographer and you given a lead time and your not going to make it let people know sometimes life gets in the way but let people know they will understand
You not a photographer until the job is done and you not completed it until you returned the images to the cosplayer of course if its a cosplayer you don’t know and you given them a card and they don’t get back to you then it can be hard to complete the job but as long as you do everything you can to get the images back. Some photographers offer express services i.e. for a small fee they will bump your images to the top of the pile
Remember Shooting at Con is TFP (time for Print) on both sides in most cases and the basic rules of TFP are the model (cosplayer) give the time and the Photographer gives them some images in return. That being said most photographers have a way that you can donate so if you like the work they do support them if you can photography done well is expensive. cosplayers don’t need insurance and as expensive as cosplay are very few get close the prices of good camera kit.
The most important thing to remember is this is suppose to be fun for everyone not just cosplayers but photographers as well this for the large majority of us is a hobby, some of us are more serious about it than others but its still fun.