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Unread 11-01-2012, 06:47 PM   #1
sukotsuto
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Press badges and other photographer related options.

So what options are out there for us in regard to more than just a simple admission badge?

In the past, I've found normal convention badges to be a bit too restrictive for my liking; some conventions much more than others.

This year I applied for a press pass to Chicago Comic Con and was accepted. Everything went pretty well too. The idea came from the convention photographer ( http://secretasianman.tv/ ) I met at Anime Central early in the year.

Some conventions only offer press/media badges to organizations, so at the moment I can't apply to those. My internet presence is mostly a solo deal, but I did start a website with two other photographers recently.

There are some positives and negatives. Not being hassled in general and allowed into concerts and things is a much welcomed benefit, but on the other hand, cosplaying at a convention I received a press pass to would be a bad idea. It also seems a lot more like work because there is generally some type of requirement like writing articles or offering up photos to the convention afterward.

Have you have any experience with this?
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Unread 11-01-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
Surfsama
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I've had a press badge for several conventions and as you state they do have advantages and disadvantages. Most of the big cons require you represent some publication or present examples of articles you've authored.

Kintoki-Con was the only con I have attended that offered a "Photographer" badge. I think you just had to provide a link to your convention work to get one. I thought it was really great of them to recognize the value good cosplay photographers bring to a con. The headlining band used several of my photos in their promos back in Japan so it was a win-win for everyone.

I do agree that with a press badge you feel more "on-the-clock" then without. IMO, if covering the guest's of honor, bands, panels, masquerade, etc is important then it's worth the press badge. If you're mainly there for hallway/casual/photoshoots then not so much.
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Unread 11-01-2012, 09:21 PM   #3
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Ah for me a touchy subject. Problem with Press now. Too many photographers have abused it just to do cosplay photography. IMO with the larger cons they've had a large crackdown on everyone trying to get a free ride. So IMO if you apply for press you should be on the clock for the reason why they gave you press. The ones that I really laugh at is when they get press. And charge the subjects they shoot money. I don't care that they are there to many money. Just getting a free ride is the issue. I understand press is there to make money too by reporting and hopefully getting readers/advertisement/etc, but getting money from shoots is a whole other beast if that was their primary reason for getting press..
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Unread 11-01-2012, 09:33 PM   #4
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Personally I've never had to rely on a special badge or anything to get the access I wanted, I've always just relied on making friends, talking to people, knowing people, or just looking like I belonged there.

Specials come and go in cycles, one year they may be easy to come by, the next, more difficult. Around 40% or more of all credentials are faked, in the end a press badge only gets you as much access as the next guy with a press badge, in practice isn't not such a big thing really.

Photographer badge sounds like a good idea though, one common complaint I hear from people is that they got their picture taken so many times, but after the con couldn't find their picture posted online or anywhere else. Having some positive indication that this photographer actually posts the pictures somewhere would be helpful.
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Unread 11-03-2012, 06:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Access View Post
Personally I've never had to rely on a special badge or anything to get the access I wanted, I've always just relied on making friends, talking to people, knowing people, or just looking like I belonged there.

Specials come and go in cycles, one year they may be easy to come by, the next, more difficult. Around 40% or more of all credentials are faked, in the end a press badge only gets you as much access as the next guy with a press badge, in practice isn't not such a big thing really.

Photographer badge sounds like a good idea though, one common complaint I hear from people is that they got their picture taken so many times, but after the con couldn't find their picture posted online or anywhere else. Having some positive indication that this photographer actually posts the pictures somewhere would be helpful.
I think the main benefit is that staff don't hassle us as much. Behind the scenes or additional access is nice, but when we focus on cosplay, it isn't really needed.

I do like the idea of photographer badges (independent photographers/videographers).

I personally make my work as visible as possible. Blog site, gallery site, facebook page that gets exported photos, forum signature links, etc.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 02:54 AM   #6
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I'm generally okay just being a regular attendee, but I'd like the photographer badge thing. Even if I generally rely on knowing people to get where I want to.
This year for Japan Expo I asked for press because it was the only way to be sure to be able to shoot cosplay on stage in good conditions. I didn't get the badge but managed to shoot from the press/VIP square anyway (thanks to knowing people who were shooting there, be they cosplay staff or press).
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Unread 11-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #7
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Fanime's been talking about a "Photographer" badge for years.

For a long time I didn't care, and I'm still happy to pay the money and support the con. However, I tend to be involved with a lot of industry stuff these days, and more and more it's getting difficult to do the things I have to do at a con on a normal badge. I also run a non-cosplay coverage site, that does reviews etc in addition to event coverage, so I've been press more often than not lately. It's critical for the ability to skip lines if you're doing events back-to-back, and for the reserved up-front seating at events if you need to shoot them.

I do think that people who are just doing cosplay shoots shouldn't be exploiting the press badge option. It hurts the convention (since they lose the badge sales), damages the credibility of the press pass, and eventually makes it much harder for people who really need a press badge to get one.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_Archer View Post
I do think that people who are just doing cosplay shoots shouldn't be exploiting the press badge option. It hurts the convention (since they lose the badge sales), damages the credibility of the press pass, and eventually makes it much harder for people who really need a press badge to get one.
I agree in principal for all the reasons you state above. I think most honest photogs that want to photographically cover the convention don't really have good options. Apply for a badge or sit in lines/back of the room.

Again, if your intent is photoshoots, hallway shots, gatherings then a press badge is probably unnecessary. However, if your main interest is cover the con itself (panels, GOH, bands, masquerade, fashion shows, etc) then a press/photograpgher badge is handy.

On a side note (and I'm probably biased), I don't find many "con reports" very interesting anyway (It might be I just haven't found a good one). I do find pictures and videos more indicative of what cons have to offer.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 10:30 PM   #9
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I agree that a lot of reports aren't very interesting to read. A five page blow-by-blow of what happened at the con doesn't do much good to anybody but the writer. When I write and shoot my reports, the idea is always to give the reader and idea of whether they're going to want to go to that event the next time it happens. The same thing applies when I do figure reviews, show reports, or whatever.
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Unread 11-10-2012, 07:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Access View Post
Photographer badge sounds like a good idea though, one common complaint I hear from people is that they got their picture taken so many times, but after the con couldn't find their picture posted online or anywhere else. Having some positive indication that this photographer actually posts the pictures somewhere would be helpful.
This comment struck me in the way... and I said this on my facebook account...

"Random thought... you know it would be COOL... if a "photographer badge" is available BEFORE!!! the con... and for peeps who bought that badge, got the rights to go BALLS TO THE WALL!! in their photography stuff.. AND!!! here's the kicker cause this quote really got to me.... HAVE A WEBSITE LINK posted somewhere on the convention website AND!! on the program guide!!

as much I would like to give out a crap loads of business cards, it just becomes a chore just to hand it to everyone that I take a pic of.... so... it would be cool if there's a special section on the program book or convention website that recognize the convention photographers and such..??

what you think?? it could be a win win to this situation..."
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Unread 11-10-2012, 02:17 PM   #11
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For most events, press badges are given to legitimate members of the press. In exchange for free admission - and maybe even access to areas that are unavailable to "normal" event guests - the event organizers expect to see photos and documentary coverage of the event in a legitimate publication. A personal blog generally isn't enough to warrant a press badge, and it's generally frowned upon to use your camera to pretend that you're a member of the "real" media.

The usual answer to "How can I get a press badge?" is "Your editor will secure one for you."

For smaller conventions and events, you can probably contact the event organizers directly, with the expectation that you will supply them a certain number of finished images in exchange for your press badge. This wouldn't fly with something big like Dragon*Con or SDCC, where they have plenty of coverage by well-known media outlets, but it might work with small local cons and expos, if you have a portfolio of event coverage to back it up.

I wouldn't be opposed to paying for a special photographer badge that included an ad for my business in the program and/or website.


cliffs: don't expect to get in free just because you're carrying a DSLR
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Unread 11-11-2012, 10:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
For most events, press badges are given to legitimate members of the press. In exchange for free admission - and maybe even access to areas that are unavailable to "normal" event guests - the event organizers expect to see photos and documentary coverage of the event in a legitimate publication. A personal blog generally isn't enough to warrant a press badge, and it's generally frowned upon to use your camera to pretend that you're a member of the "real" media.

The usual answer to "How can I get a press badge?" is "Your editor will secure one for you."

For smaller conventions and events, you can probably contact the event organizers directly, with the expectation that you will supply them a certain number of finished images in exchange for your press badge. This wouldn't fly with something big like Dragon*Con or SDCC, where they have plenty of coverage by well-known media outlets, but it might work with small local cons and expos, if you have a portfolio of event coverage to back it up.

I wouldn't be opposed to paying for a special photographer badge that included an ad for my business in the program and/or website.

cliffs: don't expect to get in free just because you're carrying a DSLR

Personal blogs are frowned upon? Maybe at a point in time years ago when the Internet had no equalizing factor to it. My main website has a decent ranking in Google, which is one of the primary sources of general Internet traffic for terms like "ACEN 2012 photos" (the site currently shows up on page 2). Obviously, not anything like Kotaku, but good enough and more specialized with what I decide to cover.

This talk of certain media organizations being more worthy than others or individuals is questionable. Some might have more reach, but it is generic pointless reach and they take on coverage just to increase their bottom line. When a convention allows individuals or smaller organizations that actually care about the event, I think that is a really positive thing. Our photos or videos are just as valid to an individual searching out coverage of the event. Some of the content I've seen done by larger organizations or general newspapers has been low quality and very limited.

When you apply, they ask for site statistics and existing work, so there isn't any question that this media credential would be taken away from someone supposedly more deserving. The convention decides. If Dragon*Con doesn't find personal sites useful to them, then I guess that's their prerogative.
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Unread 11-15-2012, 02:21 PM   #13
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Note that I said, "most events," meaning events of all types, not just cosplay-oriented conventions. You can't get a press pass into a U2 concert or the Daytona 500 by telling the event organizer that your credentials are "I have a photo blog that shows up on the second page of Google."

Even for cosplay-friendly conventions, the big guys like E3 and SDCC already get plenty of coverage from Kotaku, G4, Tech Republic, Game Informer, Penny Arcade Report, [the list goes on and on]. In their eyes, they don't have much to gain by giving free or additional access to yet another enthusiast with a camera. It's not a slight against your skills as a photographer or reporter - it's just that readership, reach, and "the bottom line" are still king. Nothing personal, it's just business.

Should they give additional access to skilled enthusiast photographers, knowing that their content will be of value to their guests? Dunno. It doesn't directly make money, so they probably won't.

I agree that it's unfortunate to see big media sites with sub-par photography.



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Personal blogs are frowned upon? Maybe at a point in time years ago when the Internet had no equalizing factor to it. My main website has a decent ranking in Google, which is one of the primary sources of general Internet traffic for terms like "ACEN 2012 photos" (the site currently shows up on page 2). Obviously, not anything like Kotaku, but good enough and more specialized with what I decide to cover.

This talk of certain media organizations being more worthy than others or individuals is questionable. Some might have more reach, but it is generic pointless reach and they take on coverage just to increase their bottom line. When a convention allows individuals or smaller organizations that actually care about the event, I think that is a really positive thing. Our photos or videos are just as valid to an individual searching out coverage of the event. Some of the content I've seen done by larger organizations or general newspapers has been low quality and very limited.

When you apply, they ask for site statistics and existing work, so there isn't any question that this media credential would be taken away from someone supposedly more deserving. The convention decides. If Dragon*Con doesn't find personal sites useful to them, then I guess that's their prerogative.
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Unread 11-15-2012, 03:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
Note that I said, "most events," meaning events of all types, not just cosplay-oriented conventions. You can't get a press pass into a U2 concert or the Daytona 500 by telling the event organizer that your credentials are "I have a photo blog that shows up on the second page of Google."

Even for cosplay-friendly conventions, the big guys like E3 and SDCC already get plenty of coverage from Kotaku, G4, Tech Republic, Game Informer, Penny Arcade Report, [the list goes on and on]. In their eyes, they don't have much to gain by giving free or additional access to yet another enthusiast with a camera. It's not a slight against your skills as a photographer or reporter - it's just that readership, reach, and "the bottom line" are still king. Nothing personal, it's just business.

Should they give additional access to skilled enthusiast photographers, knowing that their content will be of value to their guests? Dunno. It doesn't directly make money, so they probably won't.

I agree that it's unfortunate to see big media sites with sub-par photography.
I agree with you, but I think my issue was the perceived attitude I'm getting through your words.

I agree that it does depend on the convention, and I'm not concerned about musical concerts or other events without cosplay. There isn't any need to "have your editor" as you said before to get passes, because most conventions have a well defined method of requesting access. If they don't approve it, then that's fine. I just don't believe I or other individuals are taking away from anyone in this instance, because a convention in question approves or disapproved the application. Maybe part of my message above just suggests, based on my opinion, that some conventions are missing out due to their restrictive policies. I don't want to get into a numbers game, but the price of a badge either way isn't of much significance.

I think the convention offering discounted badges or free ones would be a nice gesture, though they might think they will receive the coverage either way, so they can get the admission fee and the coverage. Win-win for them I guess.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of the largest conventions have made exceptions for individuals such as Acksonl, though they might treat him as a guest instead of press/media.

All that being said, I prefer just being a normal attendee more than with a media pass, because there isn't any coverage requirement.
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Unread 11-15-2012, 06:30 PM   #15
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Sorry, I didn't intend any attitude or offense. On re-reading my post above, I can see that it's a little snarky. Apologies.

Perhaps I should have used the pronoun "one" instead of "you" - I certainly wasn't intending to pick on YOU directly.
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