Originally Posted by Ashurachan
Just like Access suggested, quite a lot of good photographers do not charge, it's just a matter of getting to know them (I don't live in the US, and where I live, no cosplay photographer ever charges).
I think the most important is not to have an experienced photographer ; the most important is to have a photographer you're comfortable with. If you're not used to pose, it's a lot easier to relax (and thus look natural) when the photographer is someone you know and trust.
I've done shoots with strangers before, and I while I learnt a lot doing them, I don't think the photos were as good as the ones I do with friends. With strangers, a lot of my energy goes into communication, in order to build the necessary trust as the shoot goes ; with friends, I can use all said energy for creativity.
I agree, trust and rapport with the photographer will improve your shoot experience.
It is my personal preference to do shoots with cosplayers I am friends with first, since there is a level of familiarity between them and I. It makes the photoshoots flow faster and there is more comfort which allows both of us to reach creative highs.
I do shoots for free in and out of cons, the most I charge for an out of con shoot is gas and (probably) lunch or dinner. Of course, I do shoots at cons with no strings attached since it was something already on my schedule. As Access said, here in Southern California, there is no shortage of amazing photographers that are willing to do shoots for little to no money, so there is very little incentive to charge for a shoot since there is always someone who will always offer a lower price.
Originally Posted by djlemma
If you're not paying for the shoot, then you're (most likely) not working with a professional photographer. If you're making your living off something, it's no good to give it away for free. You might get lucky if you happen to have contacts or if you find a pro that wants to expand their own portfolio...
However there are a ton of amateur folks like myself that just like to shoot and can sometimes (albeit less reliably) get quite good results. Paying somebody like me a fee of $15-$30 for a short shoot is more or less a gratuity- it'd be nowhere near enough to cover the costs of equipment and time if it were my livelihood. I don't care because I have a day job and I just like to take purdy pictures.
Agreed, we do it because we love the hobby of photography and the art of cosplay. Don't expect exceptional-level work across the board for the "free" cosplay photographers, but it doesn't mean that the photo quality is not worth your time.
I have quite a reputation as a good photographer among many cosplayers, but I would never put myself on a pro-level, charging $150 an hour.