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Unread 07-11-2006, 03:17 AM   #1
Demonsun
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Question Cosplay Photography. Looking to start...

I'm a semi-professional photographer who is looking to get into taking pictures of cosplayers at cons. I was wondering how I should go about it, or if anybody has any suggestions about what portrait styles are popular.

I have about 5 years of photgraphic experience, mainly doing weddings, bar mitzfah's and several fashion shows. My style is mainly looking for spontaneous emotion and candid shots. I usually try to shoot pictures in a style which looks more natural, and doesn't look "fake".

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

PS. I will try to attend otakon this year.
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Unread 07-11-2006, 03:57 AM   #2
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Perhaps go to one and take pictures? or are you talking about getting paid for taking photographs?
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Unread 07-11-2006, 07:23 AM   #3
Ollie
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Good luck getting candid shots at a convention. Not only is it crowded, but cosplayers are all to willing to pose for photos. If they see you, you've lost your chance. Better bring a good telephoto lens. Also note (this is a bit of a debated topic) that many cosplayers don't like having candid shots taken of them at all, even if done in good taste.

Cosplay photography is something of a mix between portraiture, fashion, and glamor. As a hired professional, you'll probably have more control over the situation than you would at a convention. In fact, cosplay photography may be more like action photography than anything else, depending on how you look at it. You'll have to learn to be quick in some cases, though many cosplayers will be happy to take a minute to pose and get several shots taken.

I'm pretty sure there's still a thread on here about cosplay photography etiquette. Most of it really does just boil down to common sense, but if you're not familiar with cosplayers, it may be a good read anyways.

A lot of cosplayers will not know how to pose, and will end up with a death-stiff, deer-in-headlights pose. What usually works for me is to try to get cosplayers while they're doing something else. I do ask them to pose, but if they're resting against a chair or something, that gives them something to "do" instead of just stand there (even if posed) like most cosplay photos end up.
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Unread 07-11-2006, 07:45 AM   #4
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Ollie has made some good points. I really dont know that I want to even touch this thread.

I am NOT a cosplay photographer. I am a photographer that does cosplay work amongst other things.

My natural photographic style leans heavily in the photojournalistic style. I naturally shoot candid and unposed by creative choice.

What I've found is cosplay doesnt work well with this style. Ollie brings up an important point with etiquette. Cosplayers want warning for photographs, so they can be ready (props, etc), and because those pictures are likely to fly across the internet like wildfire, and noone wants to look less than their intended best. My best output has been posed shots in cosplay shooting. And it works out all ways better.

If youre bound and deterimined to bring a candid style into cosplay, my best suggestion is to (in advance) find a cosplay group to follow for the weekend with pre authorization to do candid work with their group. That way you dont step on toes, and you actually get to experience those moments, that are VERY hard to come across without having a group to follow through their experience.

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Unread 07-11-2006, 10:14 AM   #5
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I'll just say one thing: you say you have fashion show experience. Use it. Cosplay photography, while being something like general portrait photography, is really more similar to model photography more than anything else. Model photography in fashion shows is about the combination of the dress and person. Cosplay photography is the same. Just keep in mind that you're probably not dealing with a runway, but use those same fashion photography skills, and I'm sure you'll crank out great pics.
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Unread 07-11-2006, 12:07 PM   #6
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One of the most important things that you have to do is gain the trust of the cosplayers by shooting at some conventions and getting your work out there. The more successful photographers are the ones that have been around for awhile. They show their work and the cosplayers know who they are and they trust those photographers.

For your first convention, I wouldn't recommend the candid style of photography because when a lot of people see somebody doing those kind of shots will think that you're up to no good, especially if they've never seen you before. Even if you're on the level, the perception will be that you're a voyeur. Once people get used to you, then maybe you can do that style.
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Unread 07-11-2006, 12:58 PM   #7
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first post. but reading all the replies here. I am a semi-prof. photog. cosplay is just a glamour style shoot. just like shooting models. You have the makeup/costume/model/poses/character. And im not sure candid's will really work at the conventions, none of the characters are in their own setting. You could get candids i suppose of the person dresed up, but none of the character as a whole.

Advice for starting to shoot cosplayers, go to the conventions, have alot of business cards, maybe some type of online portfolio, hand out cards, and see what type of contacts you get. cosplayers love the camera's. (all the work theyve done on the costumes).

Last edited by cosphotog : 07-11-2006 at 01:07 PM.
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Unread 07-11-2006, 01:08 PM   #8
Demonsun
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Thanks for all of the great info,
I wasn't intending on getting paid, at least not until I build up a decent amount of work and experience, I will probably have an artist/dealer table at connecticon and otakon next year, but for this year its just practice.

Ollie nice point, the main thing I like is for the people to be posed naturally, like something their character would be doing. I hate the endless "just standing there" photos, I like natural poses and such.

and thanks for the suggestions regarding candids, I wasn't quite sure about how many problems I would face with them.

Thanks...
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Unread 07-11-2006, 07:10 PM   #9
Eriol
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Hmm, considering some photographers seem to lament bad poses (i.e. just standing there) and there has been a previous post by a cosplayer about how to pose, maybe some of you photographers may want to have a discussion panel at a con about this very topic. There is no immediate financial payoff for this, but it would help you get the shots you want and tangentially promote your photography business.
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Unread 07-11-2006, 07:40 PM   #10
staereo
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Brilliant idea, Eriol. I hope to see people do this in the future. Wow!
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Unread 07-11-2006, 09:35 PM   #11
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Do's and Don'ts of Con Photography - This is a thread I put together a couple years ago with some basics about photographing at cons.

I think it covers most of the basics. You'll see that not taking candid shots is stressed a lot in it. Now, sometimes candid shots are OK, but that is generally only when they are actually flattering to the people in them. A LOT of people will just snap shots of cosplayers as they walk by and we HATE it. However, a well taken and thought-out candid can be received on a completely different level. I've taken some myself and some people absolutely adore them because of the naturalness of them, however, I was careful to take out the bad ones beforehand.

So yeah, what everyone else has said basically. ^^;;
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Unread 07-11-2006, 10:03 PM   #12
cosphotog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ami Yuy
if your not following these rules to begin with, you are making all of us photogs look really bad. Good to post though, at least it is stated somewhere.
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Unread 07-12-2006, 09:38 AM   #13
Ollie
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If you've already done professional photography, you probably know the importance of editing your photos, but this is doubly important for any kind of candid shots. A bad candid sitting somewhere on somebody's hard drive may not be so bad, but if it's out on the internet, it can cause trouble. At AX I was talking with somebody about how many photographers were there, many of whom had some really high-end equipment. For all the photographers, you'd think you'd find a lot more of the photos online. Except for the fact that a lot of them take photos just for their own use. I've always figured if you're doing shots at cons, it's something of a very informal TFP agreement. If anybody wants to know where their photo is going to end up, try to have a business card or something available.
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Unread 07-13-2006, 03:35 PM   #14
Eriol
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I found this article mentioned in another photo forum, but it reinforces some points in Ami Yuy's FAQ:

http://www.prime-junta.net/pont/Pont...r_Cowards.html
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Unread 07-19-2006, 12:21 AM   #15
Fighterspledge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super No 1
One of the most important things that you have to do is gain the trust of the cosplayers by shooting at some conventions and getting your work out there. The more successful photographers are the ones that have been around for awhile. They show their work and the cosplayers know who they are and they trust those photographers.

For your first convention, I wouldn't recommend the candid style of photography because when a lot of people see somebody doing those kind of shots will think that you're up to no good, especially if they've never seen you before. Even if you're on the level, the perception will be that you're a voyeur. Once people get used to you, then maybe you can do that style.

Ok, that brings up an interesting question. When you refer to successful photographers, you are talking about commissioned photograpghers, correct? And that reputation that photograpghers have with cosplayers is something that I want to build so how do you develop that presence? Better yet, how do I *not* look like a voyeur?
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