Victor Voyeur Photography
Join Date: Feb 2012
Are you trying to make a public group photoshoot for cosplayers all from the same anime/game/genre?
As a photographer, I've run a few in the past, ranging from small (5-6 cosplayers) to enormous (250+ cosplayers). Here are some tips, in no particular order:
* One person (exactly one) should be the director, organizer, coordinator, whatever you want to call it. If the group is large enough, an assistant (or two or three) are great, but only ONE person should be doing the directing. If you have two or three or ten people barking orders, it'll fall apart fast.
-- Usually the director is the lead photographer, sometimes not. It's a little harder for the director to be one of the cosplayers/models, since it's hard to pose and give directions at the same time.
* If there's a "master" list of group photoshoots for your con, first review that list to make sure there's not already a shoot for the group you want to organize, then look for a good time and location, then get your event on the list.
-- For DragonCon, there's a huge Google spreadsheet maintained by a single person who generously volunteers her time every year. This list is not officially sanctioned by the con, but most of the shoot organizers know how to play nice together and share space and times without bickering.
-- Pick a location that's suitable for a group of your size. If you only have six people, don't try to take over a location that's normally used for groups of a hundred.
-- If you're not using one of the "standard" locations for group shoots at your con, make sure to pick a location that works: Don't block other con attendees in a high-traffic area, don't trample the landscaping, etc.
* Make a Facebook event for your group shoot. Make sure it's public. Put all the relevant details (time, location, directions to the location, expected schedule) in the description and/or a pinned post. Share it on groups/pages and other places where it'll be seen by people who are interested. Sure, not everyone uses Facebook, but most people who do cosplay photoshoots do, or will be hanging out with someone who does.
-- A facebook event also makes it easy to share and find photos after the event.
* Plan out your groups/poses and sub-groups, make a list of the sub-groups you want, and arrange them in an order that makes sense. However, don't try to put every possible combination of characters and poses on the list; any more than 8 or 10 sub-groups and people will start to lose interest. I like to put the big full-group shot first.
-- Once people are in place for each shot, run through a few different poses. I like to do a standard pose with everyone facing the camera, one "weapons up" shot, one "weapons out" shot, and one silly-faces shot.
-- When directing, remind cosplayers to be aware of their fellow cosplayers when changing poses - especially, when moving their weapons, don't klonk the people who are standing next to them.
-- After each shot, the director or lead photographer should make sure other photographers are done shooting before asking for the next pose.
* If you don't have a lead photographer, put out a "casting call" of sorts. Ask on the official con facebook page, and any other relevant avenues of communication. Ask other people who are attending your group shoot if they know of a photographer who might be interested. If you're getting close to the event date and nobody has responded, offer payment.
-- For my latest big shoot (Fallout at DragonCon which had over 250 cosplayers), I was lead photographer, I had one official assistant photographer to do half the sub-groups, we had a few people who were doing individual posed photos, and there were a throng of unofficial photographers. And a zillion onlookers, handlers, friends.
* If your group is going to be large, bring a megaphone.
* If security or con staff shows up, be polite. They might just be fans who are observing. If they ask you to move or disperse, politely asking "Okay, we're almost done, can we just get a few more shots in" will almost always work.
Last edited by nathancarter : 11-28-2016 at 10:51 AM.