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Unread 03-18-2005, 06:10 AM   #1
Sleepy
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Candid Cosplay Photography

So, with conventions starting to get into full swing I guess it's time to bring up a topic that's been on my mind for a while.

I'm wondering what cosplayer's opinion are about candid photography and photographers at a con. enviroment.

Now candid photos (to me) means they are the type of photos that are taken rather quickly and spontaneously to capture the moment. (Kodak moment) It can also be called casual photography. An example would be at a large family picnic and a family member is running around with a camera taking pictures. People in these photos are usually relaxed and having fun. Not being too self conscience about how they look. I guess one of the important points is, they're not posing for the picture most of the time. Which leads to the other element of candids. Sometimes, the person doesn't realize that they're being photographed. (I bet some warning bells are going off for some of you )

Here's a real example at my last con. (AX04) There was a time where I said to myself, 'You know what, they way that person is sitting could make a really interesting picture. Should I go up to them and take it really quick, then thank them? (I only had a 50mm lense on me) Better play it safe.' "Hi can I take your picture?"
"Sure," person starts getting up to make a pose.
"Wait, can you do what you were doing a minute ago?"
(it was an Advent Children Tifa if you really want to know. It's in my gallery)

By now I have already lost some of the effect I was looking for. The body has shifted differently. The subject may involuntary stiffen up a bit if they're not used to being photographed. Sure some people can go back to the way they were before, but I wonder if the first snapshot I saw before I took the picture might have been better.

So my question is, how would you gals and guys react? I'm sure some of you appreciate it when a photograper suggests a way to pose for a picture. But sometimes a pose is not necessary. If you hear a click to your side, looked up to realize that somebody took a picture of you when you wern't 'ready' how would most of you feel about it? Even if the person thanked you after.

P.S. I like to be percieved as a responsible photograper and asking this question is all part of helping myself and others improve their photography skills.
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Last edited by Sleepy : 03-18-2005 at 06:22 PM.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 06:16 AM   #2
Eleryth
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My first reaction? Probably surprised. I'd have no idea what was so interesting about my current pose that required a pic.

I don't get pics taken of me often, but I would appreciate the photog letting me know they took a picture, like you did. If you're often photographing and have galleries, perhaps giving me your card so that I can go find the pic of me later. That's always appreciated. That would make me feel more at ease. If it's a digital camera, perhaps showing the individual would help as well? That way they're sure it's nothing really embarrassing or anything. Offering to take a posed shot afterwards might help the cosplayer feel more relaxed about the whole thing.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 06:30 AM   #3
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There is nothing wrong, morally or legally, with taking a candid shot of someone in public. You'll want to avoid taking photos of anyone in an embarassing, personal situation (like picking their nose, or coming out of a bathroom) as that is where it could possibly be considered as invasion of privacy.

With that out of the way, if you're taking candid shots of cosplayers in context of the convention atmosphere, you shouldn't worry about it. There is a common sense of guilt which applies to many photographers lately that every photo op should begin with "Hello, may I please take your photo?" and end with "Thank you, here's my business card and you can see your photo on (sitename)." While that may be the most cordial way of doing things, it is in no way necessary when it comes to photography as an artform. Look at some of the convention photos by people like Eron Rouch (username: Eron) to see how "candid" photography can be taken to a different level at conventions.

Many times you'll still find that if a situation feels uncomfortable to you, most people will agree to have a few candid shots taken of them while they're just sitting around. Of course, in some instances the subject won't work anymore since the person knows they're being photographed and is likely to act as such, but in many instances you'll find the photos come out just fine. If they don't agree to a photo, then just move on, and figure you at least asked them respectably.

So basically, I think the stigma some have that "candid/sniper photos = OMG YOU PERV" is an assinine and childish overreaction, and any professional photographer will know full well how to operate from a candid perspective while keeping the subject in a favorable light. If you go into any photographic situation with the intent of respecting people's immediate space and are a good judge of knowing when it's probably just not cool to take a photo of someone, then you should be ok.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 07:59 AM   #4
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Well as you say 'candid' photo's can look a lot more natural. For example I was cosplaying as Yomiko from ROD (If you don't know she's obsessed with books ect) and I was sitting down reading and this guy suddenly takes my photo. I was a little shocked but I didn't actually mind, he just grinned and said 'Well you're doing what you do best...reading!' I personally, although I haven't seen it, am sure that picture looks alot better than the one's i'm posing in. But it really just comes down to the cosplayer, some will take it as a compliment, while some will probably be angry you didn't ask their permission (Though from my experiance most cosplayers seem to be quite easy going). But like i've said, if the cosplayer seems be to be in character and in the perfect pose who can resist?
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Unread 03-18-2005, 10:06 AM   #5
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This is just my two cents worth.

When candid photography is done correctly, it can produce fantastic and flattering results. As a rule, you shouldn't take photos that may embarrass somebody. When the convention is over and you sort through your photos, you cut those embarrassing photos out and don't show them.

It also depends on the costume. There's a difference between taking a candid of a female dressed as Witch Hunter Robin and a candid of a girl dressed in something from DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball. When I look at candid photos, I don't want to feel uncomfortable. It's usually up to you when you think you have crossed that line.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 10:08 AM   #6
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I think it's fine, we (my friends and i) did almost all our shots at Acen 2k3 candid. Mostly it was when we were in the registration line, and we'd see neat costumes wander past.

Also as a cosplayer you get used to people taking pictures of you, I've gotten so desinsitized that when i'm at RennFaire i rarely notice people taking pictures. Those photographers don't usually ask, and take many candid shots. There are certain things cosplayers just have to expect, and as a photographer and a cosplayer i understand the beauty of candid shots. the best is when friends say, "wow, i didn't even know you were taking my picture!" Just don't take shots that would hurt or embarass a person. Example nose picking, unattended panty shot, falling over etc.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 11:00 AM   #7
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I'm fine with it, I guess. But I think that you should actually thank them if you do take a pic of them, if they released you that you've taken one or not. I did myself once. It was a Readman cosplayer from ROD OVA and she was reading a book, I really couldn't pass it up. I think that it's in my AX gallery.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 12:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepy
Here's a real example at my last con. (AX04) There was a time where I said to myself, 'You know what, the way that person is sitting could make a really interesting picture. Should I go up to them and take it really quick, then thank them? (I only had a 50mm lens on me) Better play it safe.'
"Hi, can I take your picture?"
"Sure," person starts getting up to make a pose.
"Wait, can you do what you were doing a minute ago?"
(it was an Advent Children Tifa if you really want to know. It's in my gallery)

By now I have already lost some of the effect I was looking for. The body has shifted differently. The subject may involuntary stiffen up a bit if they're not used to being photographed. Sure some people can go back to the way they were before, but I wonder if the first snapshot I saw before I took the picture might have been better.
So your basic question is, “How to get that candid shot without startling the subject into moving or adjusting his/her position/composure after requesting a photo of them??” ?

Here's how I may handle that…
  1. "Excuse me, but Please Don't move" or "Hold that pose" or "Could you continue what you were just doing? You don't have to pose."<---- Done as the very first thing.
    Doing that actually forces many people to not move at all. Even though it would be great to come up & formally introduce yourself, doing so will, at most times, cause the subject to change position or even begin preparations to pose for a shot. For standard shots (where you want the cosplayer or subject to pose normally), just go with the formal introduction method, since that gives them (& even you) time to prepare themselves perfectly for a shot.
  2. "You were in a very good/interesting ‘relaxed pose’ just now, & I was wondering if could take a shot of that. May I?" <add further explaining here>
    Doing the above while readying your camera for the shot offers the explanation to why you did not want them to move at all or "pose" in the first place. Usually, if they didn't want their pic taken, they'll express it right here. If they nod in agreement for a shot, they will still be in the same pose as when you first asked them to 'hold that pose' earlier.
  3. take the picture
  4. Then further explain to them about the reason for your photo-taking
    And I can put the camera in playback mode to quickly show the subject the shot(s) I just took. Because some cosplayers may still be wondering at this point why you wanted a shot of them not posed properly & by seeing the shot(s), they will finally understand why.
  5. give ’em a business card and/or the URL to a photo website

I will agree 100% that some of the most interesting shots can come from “out-of-character” poses. The above is just how I would attempt to capture someone on film who had an interesting pose I just saw. Only cosplayers/friends that I know really well will I forego asking for a shot, since they are already aware I take shots of anything: funny situations, sitting down, walking somewhere, etc. (They'll see me coming, I raise my camera, they know what I'm gonna do -- don't even have to say a word, just nod my head to them. ::: SNAP ::: )

Note: I think most cosplayers are now aware of some photographers that take pics of cosplayers even 'out-of-character' or "un-posed" & usually will understand if such a photographer will request such a shot. Still, a few may be bewildered at such sudden photo-taking opportunities, so the explanations you relay to them while taking the picture really helps them get a better idea of these kinds of shots.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 01:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XMoonLilyX
Well as you say 'candid' photo's can look a lot more natural. For example I was cosplaying as Yomiko from ROD (If you don't know she's obsessed with books ect) and I was sitting down reading and this guy suddenly takes my photo. I was a little shocked but I didn't actually mind, he just grinned and said 'Well you're doing what you do best...reading!' I personally, although I haven't seen it, am sure that picture looks alot better than the one's i'm posing in.
^_^ I like that story. Heehee, that's a good example.

But um, after a con I've found a picture online of me sitting on the ground in one of my skimpier costumes and it was from my backside. I don't like those kind of "candid/sniper shots", but sometimes they can be nice and fitting. ~_~;;
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Unread 03-18-2005, 01:57 PM   #10
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Michi has a point about what gives candid photography a bad name, and that is trolls who go around taking pictures of people's backsides, etc. One of my photographer friends in particular gets really pissed off about that, because it might ruin his ability to take future pictures of a person because they were made to feel violated or harrassed by another photographer.

I've had people take pictures of my ass. Sure. Whatever. I'm not one of those people who will freak out about it because, hey, if my ass is out I expect that sort of thing. Maybe I shouldn't HAVE to expect it, or put up with it, but that's life. Otherwise, I think the best way for a photographer to keep their nose clean (as it were) would be to always ask. Just tell the person to sit like they were, or pose them yourself in whatever way you wish, for your photo to come out the way you want. Most people shouldn't have a problem with that at all.

Or just continue doing what you want. It's not a legal thing, it's more of a personal thing.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 01:57 PM   #11
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I have an interesting example of a candid shot, which my friend actually took while we were at Kunicon St. Louis a couple of weeks ago. The picture is attached. Of course, her being my friend, she didn't have to ask to take the photo, but had someone else taken it, I wouldn't have minded either...in fact, I'm pretty sure others DID take pictures. Do/did I mind? No, there were a LOT of photos taken of me that weekend (which I hadn't expected at my first con...) Would I like to find more of the photos that were taken? Most definitely, but mostly because I'm curious as to how they came out. ^_^

The picture I'm attaching is the one that my friend snapped. Not a Sailormoon moment, but it sure looks like I'm about to beat the crap out of that DDR game.. :P
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Unread 03-18-2005, 01:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by state_alchemist
I'm fine with it, I guess. But I think that you should actually thank them if you do take a pic of them, if they released you that you've taken one or not. I did myself once. It was a Readman cosplayer from ROD OVA and she was reading a book, I really couldn't pass it up. I think that it's in my AX gallery.
was that at Katsucon? because I was a Yomiko cosplayer (I had Dante's Dvine Comedy) and was reading in the lobby-are, sitting on the floor, and I know that random people were snapping pics of me as I read, because the flash kept making me start. lol.

I think candid shots are fun, as long as you thank the person afterwords. ^^
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Unread 03-18-2005, 02:21 PM   #13
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I don't mind if people take pics of me when I am not posing so long as I'm not doing something obscene or something....or looking stupid. I found a pic of me one time that somebody took without asking and I hated how I looked in it but it was nothing embarrassing. Plus I am usually dressed as a male character so there is nothing to really oogle at. XD
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Unread 03-18-2005, 03:42 PM   #14
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If I see a shot I like, I take it. It's too easy to miss a great shot, that perfect moment that comes and goes, and can't truly be reproduced. Then, I'll usually show the subject the picture I just took (thank goodness for digital cameras!) so they can see how cool they looked at that moment, and to reassure them that I didn't shoot anything embarrassing. This is often accompanied by a word of explanation, such as "you looked so cool leaning against the wall like that, I had to take your picture!"

If they get mad, run away.
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Unread 03-18-2005, 04:26 PM   #15
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Actually, almost all of my favorite photos are like that. The ones that I try to make good don't work out. Irony, I know. My favorite photo, the one my avatar is taken from, I didn't realize Mabs took the picture until I saw it online. So, yes, I think you should definitely continue taking candid shots! They always turn out so good, because you get a better look at the cosplayer's personality.
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