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Unread 03-16-2013, 06:13 PM   #1
fotaku
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Cosplay Photography Contests

I'd like to get your thoughts about cosplay photo contests that various places have.

This past week I received information about an anime convention's photo contest. It will be judged in two rounds... the first is by internal staff and the second round is by popular vote. Do you think contests should be decided by popular vote? Or should it be judged on photography skill?

If done by popular vote do you think there would be a bias towards popular cosplayers even if the photo isn't that good?
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Unread 03-17-2013, 12:59 AM   #2
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Popular vote:
The sexiest and/or prettiest win.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 01:52 AM   #3
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There is always a natural bias, but it also depends on who is actually voting.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 12:13 PM   #4
kamuishirou1999
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You must be talking about Anime Expo's Cosplay Photography contest...

Regardless of how the voting is handled, there's going to be people that won't agree with outcomes. If it's done on the merit of photographic skill, the qualifications of the internal staff to be able to judge such could come in question. Even passing that stage, the general public will be called out for not understanding photography and so on.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #5
mrgetalife
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fotaku View Post
If done by popular vote do you think there would be a bias towards popular cosplayers even if the photo isn't that good?
Pretty much the definition of Popular vote.

Anyways it will really depend on how they let votes be taken. If by the internet and everyone can vote. Non-Attendees can vote in which will skew the vote.
If at the con. It will depend on who has the larger entourage to get people to vote.
I'll stick my neck out and say, outside of the cosplay community. Nobody really cares enough about cosplay to be even bothered to vote.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 04:44 PM   #6
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Thank you for your thoughts.

Does anyone know of any cosplay photo contests that are judged on the actual merits of the photographer? If not I wish there was one.

From what I've heard cosplay contests are judged on the skills of the craftsmanship of the costume. It'd be nice if there was something of the like for the photographer. I'd like to figure out how to improve as a photographer other than by winning the popular vote by taking a picture of the hottest cosplayer.

@smurfsama - very true. It's sad how many favorites a photo I took of Yaya Han has on my deviantart compared to some of the really good male cosplayers I've taken photos of. And I don't think the photo of Yaya Han is very good.

@kamuishirou1999 - i didn't single out Anime Expo because other conventions have done the same. And even worse some other conventions open up the photo contests to cosplayers and photographers, pitting them against each other because whomever submits the photo first will be eligible. Rather than point fingers, my intention was to open a general
discussion about those types of contests as a whole.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 05:31 PM   #7
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Probably the only way there could be a cosplay photography contest focused on the photographer's skill and nothing else would be with a judging panel of professional photographers that are outside of the convention photography community. That way they won't play favorites to their region or convention friends and probably won't be too focused on the skill or looks of the cosplayer. That or just drop an image on the contest that is so amazing it can't be denied. haha
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Unread 03-17-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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The problem is you keep mentioning the merits of the photograph, but what are those exactly? Composition/lighting/focus? Even if you knew what they were judging on, it's still heavily subjective. So whose to say that one person's composition is better than another's? Then on top of that you have post editing. The AX contest doesn't mention anything about post-processing. So how does that factor into the equation? My point is, I don't think knowing any of this information is going to make much of a difference. You'll just have to submit and wait and see if your work is selected.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 11:12 PM   #9
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Guys, the thing is, almost all photo 'contests' are like this. And I don't think it can be changed. It's the same way with art contests and just about every other matter where the judging is subjective. The best thing to do is just try to improve your own photography, do the best for the people you shoot for, and move on. If you can enter (or even win) a contest, more the power to you, but don't count on much to come of it.

ALA has a nice little thing (not really a contest) where you can send in your photos taken during the con (in past years) or its associated gatherings held throughout the year; and the ones they like get posted on the walls during the con. That's really the only thing I've paid much attention to -- there's so many spots it's really not very hard to have a few photos selected. Other than things like this, I don't really pay much attention to 'contests' because 1) they're not fun, and 2) they don't have anything to do with improving one's own skill. I mean, most of the other contests that cons hold do have utility for one (or both) of these reasons.
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Unread 03-19-2013, 08:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukotsuto View Post
Probably the only way there could be a cosplay photography contest focused on the photographer's skill and nothing else would be with a judging panel of professional photographers that are outside of the convention photography community. That way they won't play favorites to their region or convention friends and probably won't be too focused on the skill or looks of the cosplayer. That or just drop an image on the contest that is so amazing it can't be denied. haha
But photographers who are exterior to cosplay photography are not necessarily the best judges.
Take my most favorited photo on DevArt : http://fav.me/d2r17pm
It's not an impressive, or technically challenging photo. But it tells something about the characters on it, so people who like the show liked it.
Maybe it's not worth much as a photo, but it's worth something as a piece of fanart.
A cosplay photography contest that would be judged like a general photography contest, would let the fanart aspect out.
Cosplay photography cannot exist without the pre-existing characters it references. These references are what makes cosplay photography, well, *cosplay* photography, and not just fashion or portrait.

Cosplay contests are generally judged by seasoned cosplayers. The community of contest-participating cosplayers is quite small, so people on stage very often know most of the judges personnally.
Personal friendships or enimities can taint the result, but it is still considered better than having someone who's not a cosplayer, especially for craftmanship awards. Cosplayers WANT to be judged by their peers.
I can say the same about cosplay photography : what matters to me is how fellow cosplay photographers see it. I have never ever gotten useful input from someone outside of the community.
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Unread 03-20-2013, 03:45 PM   #11
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Ideally, the best cosplay photography contests would have a panel or seasoned and well-respected cosplay photographers judging it. The panelists themselves can be regulars in the con world like me and emerging talents.

The metrics of how it is judged is difficult, since technical qualities should count, but should the cosplay posing and crasftmanship be also judged? If they are, what weight will it carry? Should post-processing be allowed and what is considered acceptable/unacceptable?

This sort of debate would be interesting, but for them to even start the debate it needs to be a serious contest.
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