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Unread 02-23-2013, 02:27 PM   #1
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Cosplay etiquette?

So, I'm going to my first convention ever tomorrow (Wizard World, here in Portland), and I'm pretty excited.

That being said, I'm the type of person who has the unfortunate habit of completely over-analyzing most social situations. >.> So, for the last couple of days, something in particular has been on my mind -- how, exactly, does one go about taking pictures with cosplayers?

I've had the opportunity to take pictures with cosplayers a few times before, but I've always felt a little awkward about it, not being in costume myself. I have a great appreciation for and interest in cosplay; I'd do it myself, if I had the extra time and resources at my disposal, and if I was slightly less self-conscious in large groups of people. ^^"

So, cosplayers, I ask you - how do you feel when someone dressed in normal clothes asks for a picture with you, not just of you? Is it generally acceptable to, say, put an arm around the shoulder? I never know what exactly to do in pictures, so I'd likely just cram my hands in my pockets or dangle my arms at my sides and feel all stiff and awkward if I didn't have something to do with my hands/arms. Similarly, I'd feel awkward asking "Can I touch you?", especially with my astonishing lack of social prowess, so that's why I'm asking here. xD
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Unread 02-23-2013, 02:34 PM   #2
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I'm a-okay with having people in normal cloths wanting to have a picture with me. I mean, I'm guessing they want a memory with their favorite character or something and I'm happy to oblige.

As for putting an arm around the shoulder, for this I have to STRESS that you need to ask the cosplayer before you touch them at all. Everyone has different comfort levels. While one cosplayer might be fine with it another won't. So it is better to just ask to be safe.

For wording it you could say, "May I put my arm around your shoulder if you are okay with it?" Just be polite and courteous.
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Unread 02-23-2013, 02:40 PM   #3
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*nods* That's completely understandable. I figured that it would vary from cosplayer to cosplayer; I just wasn't entirely sure how to word it. Like I said, I'm pretty awkward. I have a hard time going up to people I don't know, regardless of the situation. :P

Thanks for the response!
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Unread 02-23-2013, 02:44 PM   #4
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I'm personally perfectly okay with having people in the photo with me but I know that it can make some people uncomfortable so make sure you ask and if they say no, don't take it personally.

Don't go touching peoples cosplays or props without permission because some things are very easily broken and some people just don't like the physical contact. Again, ask if you can put an arm around them. If they say no, respect their boundaries and don't take it personally.
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Unread 02-23-2013, 02:51 PM   #5
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I find it to be kind of endearing when people ask to be in a photo with me, so long as they respect my boundaries. It's almost like being a face character at a theme park, though, so some cosplayers don't like it since it takes away from "being" the character.

Personally, I'd just advise taking the cosplayer's lead and make sure they're okay with you being in the photo. You can put an arm around them (which, like touchmon said, is tons preferable to ask first, not just for comfort levels, but also because some costumes break easier than others), and if they seem comfortable with it (They don't move away or move your arm off for you), then you can leave it there. If they do move away/your arm, don't force it, and just smile for the camera, throw a peace sign or something like that with your free hands. If they go into a different more-actiony pose, just roll with it and get into a similar pose yourself or something like that. If you're wanting anything in particular, that's when you'll want to make sure to explicitly ask for it (i.e., picking up the cosplayer (Which I personally never agree to), a hug, etc.). Just watch their reactions, as it will tell you how comfortable they are with what you're doing.

Most people generally rule that when dealing with cosplayers, asking first is key. Just ask them like you'd ask a family member for something. Be specific with what you're about to do, and the questions shouldn't be too hard to form.
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Unread 02-23-2013, 03:04 PM   #6
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Thank you both for the feedback, ToroSonyCat and Angii. You've set my mind at ease.
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Unread 02-24-2013, 07:33 PM   #7
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I did the same things with my hands just letting them dangle awkwardly last year when asking if I could take pics with cosplayers. Most of them put their arm around me automatically. I remember there were two guys, one as Batman and one as Joker, who told me how to pose with them. I thought that was pretty cool even if the scene probably didn't look the way they wanted it since I couldn't wipe off the goofy grin off of my face, lol. I couldn't help it. It was my first comic book convention and I felt like I was a kid again and visiting Disneyland for the first time and seeing all of my favorite characters come to life.

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Unread 02-24-2013, 08:12 PM   #8
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Like everyone said, I'm okay with it. I've actually gotten kind of used to posing with people in their street clothes. It's almost an automatic reaction for me to put my arm around the person or at least pose right up near them. If they look like they might be uncomfortable with the closeness, I just pose nice beside them. I'm also okay if they want to put their arm around me or something, but I have had to pull guys hands up higher than they want to put them in the past. Just being courteous and asking is all you have to do. 99% of all cosplayers will return the kindness and be friendly about how to deal with the situation. If someone is rude to you or snappy, they probably aren't really okay with posing with people (I've seen some that feel it detracts from them and their costume...so yeah, it's all about them and not being nice and helping someone make a cool memory).
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Unread 02-25-2013, 07:36 PM   #9
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I'd say, be confident, be casual. Don't word things like an English major. Just say, "Mind if I put my arm on your shoulder?" Or if you feel like not touching them, just give a thumbs-up, or put your hands on your side, or cross your arms...

Limp noodle arms are the bane of picture-taking. xD

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Unread 02-25-2013, 07:38 PM   #10
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In general I love taking pictures with people. For some people that seems to be a great memory for them to show people all of the cool costumes they saw at the convention. The easiest way to go about it is to ask permission first and listen to the person response. While most people are okay with being touched by a stranger, some people really aren't.

Simply put when posing with the some either stand next to them in a very casual pose (hands in pockets or on hips aren't bad ideas, even throwing up a peace sign might not be all that inappropriate, just do what feels natural). If you'd really like to get cozy with the person asking "do you mind if I put my hand around your shoulder/waist" is a good polite way to ask. If they say yes, you now have permission to do whatever you asked in a gentle manner. If they say no, smile, nod, accept it and pose with by yourself.

It doesn't really have to be awkward or weird. Just be polite and understanding and you'll likely have a lot of success~
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Unread 02-25-2013, 09:02 PM   #11
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Personally, I find hover-handers hysterical. I mean, not in a bad way, but most cosplayers will be chill if you put your arm around their shoulders, but...!

If you say "can I put my arm around you", by that you mean you want an arm around a waist, it's important to make it obvious or do it slowly, so you don't startle the cosplayer. (Mostly for girls, but I've seen some guys freak out too.)

In general, most people love getting their pictures taken, whether it be with someone or by themselves.

You don't seem like the type to do this, but if the cosplayer is *ahem* gifted, make sure that your camera is pointed at the right angle, as to not give them the wrong idea. >_<
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Unread 02-26-2013, 12:27 PM   #12
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I love to take pictures with people, but I prefer if I wasn't touched. As long as you ask I would probably be fine with it. Everyone has different comfort levels.
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Unread 02-26-2013, 02:22 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the feedback! I had a great time at the con; I was a little nervous at first, but everyone I met was super nice, so I ended up taking lots of pictures.

Ilafatyu, I found it amusing that your advice was to not word things like an English major, considering I am an English major. xD

I had a blast, and I'm looking forward to more conventions in the future. I'd like to possibly do some cosplay of my own, too.
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Unread 02-26-2013, 04:25 PM   #14
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Glad to hear you had a good time~
You should definitely give cosplay a shot at some point. I'm clearly biased.

From one English major to another, don't speak like what we are. What a world. xD

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Unread 02-26-2013, 04:32 PM   #15
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The most important Cosplay etiquette rule, that is arguably a rule in general, is as follows:

Thou shalt not be a hater.

I don't care how many obsessive standards one might have for what makes an 'acceptable' cosplay. No haters. No me gusta. Dame da. No. Do not enter. Abort mission.

I’ll tell you what people look like, really: they look like flames. Or like the stars, on a clear night in the wilderness.
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