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Unread 07-10-2013, 12:07 AM   #1
shibuya
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Cosplay getting more popular among photogs?

Sooo, I've been out of commission for almost a year not attending any cons and what not, with the AX being the first this year. Is it me or did the number of photographers running around cons has doubled in the last year? Browsing through the focum posts, I see a lot of new faces (with an occasional familiar 'old-timer' popping up here and there) which would seem to support the observation - anybody has a theory as to why cosplay is now attracting more photographers?
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Unread 07-10-2013, 12:54 AM   #2
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As a non-photographer, I can only figure that it's a combination of shooting a unique subject (come on, you have to admit that some cosplay shoots are pretty out there) and cosplayers being such willing models. Secondly, since cosplay is gaining visibility, more cosplayers are coming out of nowhere, so it's only natural that the number of photographers should rise as well.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 01:53 AM   #3
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AX attendance has been steadily growing. I, myself, have made a number of posts talking about the increased popularity and I think it will continue to increase as the west adopts more and more anime and as gaming franchises become more and more popular.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 03:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shibuya View Post
Sooo, I've been out of commission for almost a year not attending any cons and what not, with the AX being the first this year. Is it me or did the number of photographers running around cons has doubled in the last year? Browsing through the focum posts, I see a lot of new faces (with an occasional familiar 'old-timer' popping up here and there) which would seem to support the observation - anybody has a theory as to why cosplay is now attracting more photographers?
The indecency of a pervert knows no bounds - plato.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 10:07 AM   #5
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Also: As quality photography gear continues to become more accessible and inexpensive, the number of photographers (and GWCs) will continue to increase.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 02:13 PM   #6
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Yeah, I think it's mostly due to the lowering of cost barrier to quality equipment, quick and free access to the knowledge skillset (I learned everything online without needing to find a mentor like in the past) and the ease of spreading the work now. Just.....plain more photographers.

I do imagine it helps a ton, too, that the fact that we're in the Golden Age of Geekism makes cosplaying way more popular and acceptable to the mainstream.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 05:41 PM   #7
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The indecency of a pervert knows no bounds - plato.
hmmm, i don't believe majority of photographers got into cosplay photography because they are perverts
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Unread 07-10-2013, 06:03 PM   #8
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Also: As quality photography gear continues to become more accessible and inexpensive, the number of photographers (and GWCs) will continue to increase.
i don't know, the argument certainly sounds plausible, yet even 5 or 6 years ago we had plenty of 'reasonably' priced good photo equipment, yet i don't rememver having that many photographers with full lightning sets, assistants and what not... i'm not talking just about folks with slr cameras - i have not seen a single case of someone setting up an alienbee with a 60in+ softbox in the middle of a convention hall, yet that's what i saw first thing friday @ ax south hall... and that was not the only case - don't have anything against it, but kind of was buffled...
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Unread 07-11-2013, 12:09 AM   #9
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Yes it is.

The increased visibility of cosplay on social media, and the popularization of cosplay itself has drawn more people to take photos of cosplayers. With that said, if you are still talking about the well-respected photogs who is loved by cosplayers for shoots and hallway shots, that number is actually quite steady and growing at a smaller rate. Since it does take lots of time for photographer to gain the trust of the community. Fresh new faces have to build up reputation and respect the same way we did, by earning it.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 05:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by shibuya View Post
Sooo, I've been out of commission for almost a year not attending any cons and what not, with the AX being the first this year. Is it me or did the number of photographers running around cons has doubled in the last year? Browsing through the focum posts, I see a lot of new faces (with an occasional familiar 'old-timer' popping up here and there) which would seem to support the observation - anybody has a theory as to why cosplay is now attracting more photographers?
We'll here's what comes to my mind on this topic.

1) There might be more, but AX in general grew by about 15% to 20% this year. Most of this growth was not cosplayers, it's mostly the "social con crowd". Some of these people have cameras, and those that do generally want to use them.

2) In general, this site (and most forum sites) are losing prominence since roughly 2010. Look for instance at the local gatherings, in 2010 if you posted a local gathering or meetup or non-convention-event where cosplay was welcome or encouraged on here and on facebook, it used to be about 50/50 in terms of attendence. Not anymore. From a photographer-and-cosplayer standpoint, mainly this site ends up being used for conventions and convention gatherings; that's pretty much it.

3) Around 90% of the photographers won't post online or follow through in any way. Many people underestimate the effort involved in editing, processing, etc. hundreds or even a thousand plus photos. Many people quickly lose patience and forget about it or move on to something else.

4) I've heard this same story from many cosplayers, over the course of several hours, their picture must have been taken several hundred times by maybe a hundred people. But even after using all the different tools available to them, from google image search "upload image" and "find similar photo" features, posting here, searching and tagging on facebook, etc., they can find maybe several photos of themselves online, if that.

In the end, people who actually want photos quickly learn the importance of doing photoshoots, networking, and finding photographers who are at least somewhat reliable with following through in a timely fashion (a couple of weeks at most).

5) It's an easy way to practice portraiture, environmental portraiture, and people photography in general. It's not the same, but it's similar enough. Workshops, hiring models, all these other alternatives require money and effort. While convention photography doesn't require much money or effort (if the convention is local).

Many photographers do desire to shoot people, and don't really get enough of this through their families, friends, and the like. Street photography is its own thing, and requires that one is relatively outgoing. When shooting at cons, the protocol is pretty much already established, even an otherwise shy person can do just fine. Because 95% of the people out there will be glad to pose for photos if asked, even if they don't know or recognize you; and it's within what is normal or expected. One won't get you labelled as a creeper or a wierdo walking up to strangers and asking them to pose for photos.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 02:05 PM   #11
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This is a well articulated message – a ton of these actually resonate with me and my thinking/observations. A couple of comments though:
Quote:
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2) In general, this site (and most forum sites) are losing prominence since roughly 2010. Look for instance at the local gatherings, in 2010 if you posted a local gathering or meetup or non-convention-event where cosplay was welcome or encouraged on here and on facebook, it used to be about 50/50 in terms of attendence. Not anymore. From a photographer-and-cosplayer standpoint, mainly this site ends up being used for conventions and convention gatherings; that's pretty much it.
Yes! Whether on purpose or accidentally, pretty much all local event infor got purged and cosplay.com does not seem to want to cater to this semgnet anymore. This created fragmentation where local events are advertised through facebook to local cosplayers/photographers only. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether this is good or bad, but personally, I found it convenient to have all this information centrally located. I always enjoyed browsing through pics taken by some of my favorite photographers attending some remote local events. This becomes largely impossible now, unless of course one finds a way to get hooked with the gazillion of local communities and get on their notification lists etc.

Generally, it seems that cosplay.com has not kept up with changing demand/profile of cosplay and has not remained a flexible enough platform to accommodate different needs. Even today, it’s pretty much impossible to add a top level section on some new con – even largest cons like Japan Expo and WOndercon are buried somewhere under the ‘Other’ section… This probably contributed to the fragmentation in the first place…

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3) Around 90% of the photographers won't post online or follow through in any way. Many people underestimate the effort involved in editing, processing, etc. hundreds or even a thousand plus photos. Many people quickly lose patience and forget about it or move on to something else.
This is certainly true – it takes mins to take a pic but can take hours to process it properly. It’s been 5+ days and I still have processed only ~30% of my AX pics. But I think this is a more general issue applicable to photography as a whole, not just cosplay photography. At least in cosplay photography we have a readily available/willing subject and lighting that can be controlled. I come from landscape segment where natural lighting opportunities are very limited and whether conditions can make things very unpredictable. I recently dibbed into wildlife photography – froze my ass in Klamath waiting for a brown to come out salmon fishing. Ended up leaving without a single keeper. Comparing that experience to a con hopping and its ‘managed environment’ seems like an even harder work now…

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4) I've heard this same story from many cosplayers, over the course of several hours, their picture must have been taken several hundred times by maybe a hundred people. But even after using all the different tools available to them, from google image search "upload image" and "find similar photo" features, posting here, searching and tagging on facebook, etc., they can find maybe several photos of themselves online, if that.

In the end, people who actually want photos quickly learn the importance of doing photoshoots, networking, and finding photographers who are at least somewhat reliable with following through in a timely fashion (a couple of weeks at most).
This makes sense. And unfortunately, I am also at fault of dragging my feet in delivering post photoshoot pics in one or two cases – for good (from my perspective) reasons like family situation and what not, but probably irrelevant from the cosplayer’s perspective.
This seems to reinforce position that Hcoregamer00@ is highlighting, that this is turning into a relationship and reputation driven world. I am wondering whether various cosplay photography groups that have been popping up here and there can address the issues? Meaning if the groups are selective enough and guarantee an end result will be delivered in timely fashion, membership in the group can server as a sort of ‘stamp of approval’ of sorts?
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Unread 07-11-2013, 03:12 PM   #12
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I'm on a Pentax forum and one of the people there posted about how his son brought him along, so he brought his camera along and had a blast. He said he will definitely be going to more.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 03:23 PM   #13
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Yes! Whether on purpose or accidentally, pretty much all local event infor got purged and cosplay.com does not seem to want to cater to this semgnet anymore. This created fragmentation where local events are advertised through facebook to local cosplayers/photographers only. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether this is good
It wasn't that it got purged or anything. It's just a matter of utility.

For a while we were always posting our events in both places. In 2010 you might have gotten 50% learning of your event through this site and 50% learning of it through facebook. So it made perfect sense to post it in both. But at some point posting here became worthless, less than 5% were learning of the event through this site.

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This is certainly true – it takes mins to take a pic but can take hours to process it properly. It’s been 5+ days and I still have processed only ~30% of my AX pics. But I think this is a
Actually I'm pretty fast, but I have my own system to quickly go through large numbers of pics. Normal photography, I can edit 3000 pics down 10-30 finals, and deliver those in a matter of hours. But for con photography, you want to deliver at least 1-3 pics for each person you spent time with, and 10-30 pics for a photoshoot. So it can take far longer on the back end than normal event photography or other types of photography in general. Someone who takes 2000 pictures should expect to post at least 200+ of them (if one is following through correctly).

Quote:
Originally Posted by shibuya View Post
This seems to reinforce position that Hcoregamer00@ is highlighting, that this is turning into a relationship and reputation driven world. I am wondering whether various cosplay photography groups that have been popping up here and there can address the issues? Meaning if the groups are selective enough and guarantee an end result will be delivered in timely fashion, membership in the group can server as a sort of ‘stamp of approval’ of sorts?
It has always been that way (relationship and reputation driven world).

There aren't groups like that, and it's doubtful there will ever be. Trying to take those kinds of shortcuts rarely work in real life. Things like trust, reputation, friendship, etc. are on a personal level, not a group level. In groups, stardards quickly get lost, things like nepotism, favoritism, ego, self-interest, 'too many chiefs, not enough indians', and politics start to take over. The farthest networking goes is, sometimes you know friends-of-friends or friends can vouch for others. Of course in life you have groups, and groups-within-groups, and so on, but most of these are supported by mutual self-interest. Not the type that can guarantee a standard or an end result, or that can make a 'stamp of approval' actually mean anything.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 06:14 PM   #14
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It wasn't that it got purged or anything. It's just a matter of utility.
For a while we were always posting our events in both places. In 2010 you might have gotten 50% learning of your event through this site and 50% learning of it through facebook. So it made perfect sense to post it in both. But at some point posting here became worthless, less than 5% were learning of the event through this site.
understood, but the point I was trying to make is that this also created fragmentation...

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Actually I'm pretty fast, but I have my own system to quickly go through large numbers of pics. Normal photography, I can edit 3000 pics down 10-30 finals, and deliver those in a matter of hours. But for con photography, you want to deliver at least 1-3 pics for each person you spent time with, and 10-30 pics for a photoshoot. So it can take far longer on the back end than normal event photography or other types of photography in general. Someone who takes 2000 pictures should expect to post at least 200+ of them (if one is following through correctly).
sure, scanning pics and finding ones you like is easy, but two of the reasons (for me at least) to do the cosplay photography are to try new equipment (i.e. lenses) and experiment with lighting and, more importantly, experiment with post-processing, which for me is highly dependent on the camera/lighting/condition i used to take the pic. i can obviously run a fast batch to correct for angle/distortion, boost histogram, correct wb etc (and in the beginning this is what i've been doing), but lately i find it more interesting to try create new character/feel to my pics, something new that i have not tried before - hence more time consumed getting these pics out...

i no longer schedule massive number of private photoshoots @ cons for the reasons you mentioned earlier - 20 cosplayers, 10 pics each and everyone expects them in a week or two. i found it too stressful in the past, so these days i'm not gonna do more then 5 or 6 private shoots per con visit. and even those, i'd be limiting to either cosplayers i've worked with in the past or cosplayers who captured my attention in the hallways and are willing to do a quick shoot...
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Unread 07-12-2013, 02:49 PM   #15
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understood, but the point I was trying to make is that this also created fragmentation...
Well the site has lost critical mass, generally most active people have moved on. Occasionally, in conversation or exchanging contact info someone will mention that they still use this site (actively), but it is increasingly rare.

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with lighting and, more importantly, experiment with post-processing, which for me is highly dependent on the camera/lighting/condition i used to take the pic. i can obviously run a fast batch to correct for angle/distortion, boost histogram, correct wb etc (and in the beginning this is what i've been doing), but lately i find it more interesting to try create new character/feel to my pics, something new that i have not tried before - hence more time consumed getting these pics out...

i no longer schedule massive number of private photoshoots @ cons for the reasons you mentioned earlier - 20 cosplayers, 10 pics each and everyone expects them in a week or two. i found it too stressful in the past, so these days i'm not gonna do more then 5 or 6 private shoots per con visit. and even those, i'd be limiting to either cosplayers i've worked with in the past or cosplayers who captured my attention in the hallways and are willing to do a quick shoot...
All just comes with practice, never ran batches or anything like that. I consider myself faster than most, but I can adapt when I need to.

Most photoshoots I get pulled into, I choose, so I already have a basic idea of what I want to try to do as far as setup and processing. Like at a recent con for the character Bane I used a beleuchtungschalttafel-3000L and another photographer volunteered to help hold his reflector to create the harshest light possible; for another photoshoot of a couple I used the natural light as it was a good time and well suited to their characters. Both are also processed differently, of course, but it's styles I already know how to do so it really didn't take a long time. And I didn't have to use photoshop on either set.

I'm honestly pretty busy in life, I think the key is to just to shoot no more than you can release in the 2-3 weeks (at most) following the con.

Last edited by Access : 07-12-2013 at 03:00 PM.
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