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Unread 10-03-2006, 03:20 PM   #1
Suzushichan
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quality vs. quantity..

this subject has come up many times between myself, friends and co-workers. i've been working as a photographer, trained and all, for the past 6 months so this has kind of bothered me at some recent conventions. there are photographers who take pics of as many people as they can, but the photos don't do the models or BEAUTIFUL COSTUMES justice. that's what it's about, and if you can do it well, and with style, more power to ya. but what i'm trying to get at is what is everyone's take on this? at a con do you think that quality or quantity is more important. i think that it should be a matter of both. i don't like it when people take bad pictures of my costumes. i've seen them! <_<
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Unread 10-03-2006, 09:21 PM   #2
Super No 1
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Whether you take 10 photos at a convention or 10,000, you should always take the best photograph that you can.

I think the vast majority of photos from a convention are taken by people who don't spend a majority of their time taking photos. They spend most of their time going to screenings, panels, gaming, shopping, etc. If they happen to see a cosplayer in the vicinity, they take a photo even though the conditions may not be the best for taking photos. Most of these photographers aren't too concerned with lighting or if the cosplayer is looking at them or if they are at a bad angle or if the cosplayer is 100 feet away. They just want to take the photo and go on with their business.

Then, there are "con photographers" who spend a majority of their time taking photos. For some, their goal is to take a photo of every cosplayer and every costume. If that's their goal, they have to go all over the convention grounds to get their photos and they will take photos is less than ideal conditions. There are some photographers who will just take photos of what they like. I know that I have certain conditions that I like and so that naturally leads to less photos being taken. It all depends on the photographers style, their goals for the convention, or a combination of both.

Regarding "bad" photos, I think that when somebody takes a bad shot and puts it up on the internet for others to see, that photographer doesn't think that it's a bad shot.
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Unread 10-03-2006, 10:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzushichan
this subject has come up many times between myself, friends and co-workers. i've been working as a photographer, trained and all, for the past 6 months so this has kind of bothered me at some recent conventions. there are photographers who take pics of as many people as they can, but the photos don't do the models or BEAUTIFUL COSTUMES justice. that's what it's about, and if you can do it well, and with style, more power to ya. but what i'm trying to get at is what is everyone's take on this? at a con do you think that quality or quantity is more important. i think that it should be a matter of both. i don't like it when people take bad pictures of my costumes. i've seen them! <_<
There are definite troubles with each road, but arguably it is significantly easier to be a good photographer concerned about quality than it is to be a good photographer concerned about quantity. But both definitely have their places in the world.

When people look for photos by those who shoot for quantity, they're mainly concerned about finding pictures of their costume on the internet at all, a technical approach in a sense. But keep in mind what's required to take that path: you're going to frontload time shooting pictures, in the hope of having enough material to upload. On the other side, when people look for photos by those who shoot for quality, they're mainly concerned about finding the prettiest shots of themselves possible, a mostly aestetic approach. The frontloaded time per picture increases, but usually overall, frontload time minimizes.

But I consider the two paths akin to the principle ideas of working hard, versus working smart. I'm lazy, so I clearly prefer the latter road, though I'm not opposed to the former road as needed. But both paths lead generally to the same end. Shooting for quantity requires working hard every time, but it's relatively simple work. Shooting for quality requires more time practicing in the front, but typically gets easier as time goes on, and is arguably somewhat more complex work. I definitely prefer a balanced tactic myself, aiming for a relatively high quality level of work, and then trying to take as many shots as I can at that level. That seems to work well, so long as you have a bit of a masochistic streak in ya.
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Unread 10-03-2006, 11:04 PM   #4
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I've never regretted trying to photograph one more cosplayer.
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Unread 10-04-2006, 01:49 AM   #5
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Should be a balance of both, hopefully a con will have photographers in attendance with different focuses so all bases are covered. I know I love looking at private photoshoot photos that have been skillfully done. But on the other hand, a lot of the time it is only about 10% of the cosplayers at most that seem to regularly get those types of shoots. Back in the 90s I noticed that a lot of cosplayers pics were the same people over and over again, but I kept meeting wonderful costumers that were not getting barely any photos. That is when I started on the side of photographing as many cosplayers as I could as best as I could in con settings while I myself was cosplaying. So while my photos may not be as nice/artsy as some, it is great getting thank yous from people where my photos are the nicest they have gotten taken of them - as I also have to take time off of making new costumes to edit and upload 100/1000s of pictures depending on the cons size.

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Unread 10-04-2006, 08:09 AM   #6
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It completely depends on what level you're talking. People are saying a balance, which is absolutely true. You should always do your best with what you have to work with.

If you are working an event in that you have a certain quantity of images to shoot in a certain time frame, your pace is somewhat dictated for you.

I think what is lost in time crunches is not quality. Its my opinion that a good photographer shoots good photos. Your time having shot, experience and personal talent in the art will dictate your output. Whether you have a fraction of a second to take a shot, or 15 minutes to take a shot, your ability to capture light does not fade. I believe what suffers is creative output, framing, and composition.

One thing you'll notice with more experienced event photographers is that their output is consistant whether rushed or under no time pressure. The quality of the shot and the final image often retains the same quality, picture after picture (save toss-outs). What changes is how the images differ in composition. Once a photographer is under a time squeeze, they will do their best to retain their quality, while cutting the time by cutting a bit of the creativity. They will start looking repetative when viewed side by side. Individually, however, they will still be quality images.

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Unread 10-04-2006, 09:32 PM   #7
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzushichan
this subject has come up many times between myself, friends and co-workers. i've been working as a photographer, trained and all, for the past 6 months so this has kind of bothered me at some recent conventions. there are photographers who take pics of as many people as they can, but the photos don't do the models or BEAUTIFUL COSTUMES justice. that's what it's about, and if you can do it well, and with style, more power to ya. but what i'm trying to get at is what is everyone's take on this? at a con do you think that quality or quantity is more important. i think that it should be a matter of both.
even tho i'm a pro-photog... teach photo classes... my best cam shoot at 8 frames-per-second with 27-frame burst... ::brags brags brags:: etc etc.

when *i* take pics at cosplay cons... it's quantity... i want... since it's for personal enjoyment... at the con i'm an Otaku... not an artist... not a photog... i'm an anime geek with a camera ::smirks::... most of the time... i shoot 2 pixs per cosplayer... a full... and a portrait... if it's a character i like... i would ask to cosplayer for the signature poses... and candid poses... i also take more pix at a gathering... and end up about 3000+ pixs a day

i rarely do a 'real' photoshoot... unless my g/f made me for her costumes ::snickers::


Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzushichan
i don't like it when people take bad pictures of my costumes. i've seen them! <_<
as stated by the wise folks above... most of the photog at cons... are taking pix for fun as well... they want it for the memory of the events... before going back to 'real' life... a souvenir of the fun they had... many are not trained to take pix... and we shouldn't expect their pics to be... if they take crappy pix... it's doesn't reflect upon you or your costume... it doesn't even reflect their skill as a photographer... a cosplayer... noticed you and your costume... and like it enough to take a pix... and post it online

~*~*~*~
quality: my g/f sez that she hates it when she's fixing costume... talking on the cell... or eating they just take random pix... if they waited 2 secs... she would've posed for them... and the pix would be a better shot... she doesn't care if the pix is out of focus... or the lightin is bad... she hate it when they just shoot when she's not ready... etc.

Last edited by Trelyon : 10-04-2006 at 09:44 PM.
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Unread 10-05-2006, 02:12 AM   #8
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My short answer: quality.

I'm one of the few who uses film. Back when I started taking pictures at a con, buying a digital SLR wasn't necessary. Considering the costs of one at the time, and the fact that taking pictures at conventions is still the only time I ever use my camera. If I know a shot isn't gonna look right, or could look better in different conditions, I simply won't take the picture. If I also notice another established photographer giving a cosplayer decent coverage I also wouldn't intrude. I find browsing other photographers galleries of the same con interesting, because we all take very different pictures and cover different people. So I'm never concerned with the quantity of a con. There are plenty of us out there.

And since I'm a conservative type of person anyway, I always have to consider the costs of development.
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Last edited by Sleepy : 10-11-2006 at 03:23 AM.
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Unread 10-05-2006, 12:21 PM   #9
jtnishi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepy
My short answer: quality.

I'm one of the few who uses film. Back when I started taking pictures at a con, buying a digital SLR wasn't necessary. Considering the costs of one at the time, and the fact that taking pictures at conventions is still the only time I ever use my camera. If I know a shot isn't gonna look right, or could look better in different conditions, I simply won't take the picture. If I also notice another established photographer giving a cosplayer decent coverage I also wouldn't intrude. I find browsing other photographers galleries of the same con interesting, because we all take very different pictures and cover different people. So I'm never concerned with the quantity of a con. There are plenty of us out there.

And since I'm a conservative type of person anyway, I always have to consier the costs of development.
You do bring up a good point. A lot of the reasons that photographers even get to be able to make this choice is because of digital. Film photographers are almost never going to pick quantity over quality, because the costs would drive them up the wall. And I'm going to guess that those who started with film and spent a large amount of time with film are actually going to have trouble thinking quantity over quality when switching to digital because it almost completely violates the way they learned how to do phtoography.
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Unread 10-05-2006, 08:16 PM   #10
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The problem with Cons is that sometimes, you don't have good lighting, or you cannot arrange a time with the cosplayer to do a better shoot (they are running to a panel, masquerade, whatever) or there were too many people around, or the background sucks, etc. etc. etc. You name it, there's probably a reason.

I like to take the best quality photos that I can possibly get at a Con. But sometimes, that's not possible, so I try to take the best photo that I can given the conditions I have to work with.

There have been times when someone has thanked me for photos because it's the *only* photo they have of that costume, etc.

The way I look at it? Photojournalists have to work with less than optimal conditions), so if they can do it in the midst of a big event (like a war, battle, or in the middle of a hostile country) and get great shots.... then there's no reason why I can't do the same at a Convention (with no bombs whirling around me). So, I try to learn as much as I can about lighting so that I can make the best situation out of any given situation.
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Unread 10-06-2006, 02:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeCat
The problem with Cons is that sometimes, you don't have good lighting, or you cannot arrange a time with the cosplayer to do a better shoot (they are running to a panel, masquerade, whatever) or there were too many people around, or the background sucks, etc. etc. etc. You name it, there's probably a reason.

I like to take the best quality photos that I can possibly get at a Con. But sometimes, that's not possible, so I try to take the best photo that I can given the conditions I have to work with.

There have been times when someone has thanked me for photos because it's the *only* photo they have of that costume, etc.

The way I look at it? Photojournalists have to work with less than optimal conditions), so if they can do it in the midst of a big event (like a war, battle, or in the middle of a hostile country) and get great shots.... then there's no reason why I can't do the same at a Convention (with no bombs whirling around me). So, I try to learn as much as I can about lighting so that I can make the best situation out of any given situation.
However, that's still a quality based approach, rather than a quantity based one. Conditions might suck, but it still means the preference is to get a few good pictures over a lot of average ones.
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Unread 10-06-2006, 04:36 PM   #12
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There are a lot of horrible places at cons to take photos so I simply avoid those. There are plenty of cosplayers to photograph in places where conditions are a lot better, so I just don't bother with going into the sucky areas. I find areas that I like and stick with them.
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Unread 10-06-2006, 06:21 PM   #13
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I recently returned from AWA and the lightign... is... AWEFUL there. x_x

But I think it's slightlky flastteirng when someone takes a quick snapshot of you when you're talking on a cellphone or eating... even sleeping. It's funny to find those photos. XD

I go for quantity, thought I try to get the best pictures i can. (Consideirng i'm usually rushign and the photograph-ee is usually rushing). And angles are herd when you stop for a picture for one perosn and 25 other people show up form ALL ANGLES and you're like "Whaa? @@ Who fo I look a--*cmaera flahs( MY EYESSS!"

It's fun though. i don't complain. Except standing in the same spot for 35 mintues in 2 inch heels in vinyl coats gets a little hot/painful.
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Unread 10-08-2006, 06:14 PM   #14
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It does come down to why a person is taking pictures at a con. For personal use, then you can take your time with good shot.

That isn't always the case at cons where 12,000 people are going in 12,000 directions... all at once. It's less than ideal conditions under sometimes questionable lighting. Not only that you don't really have time or your subject have time to do a good photo. Hotels and cons aren't made for photo heavy events like cosplay.

Even given my camera, Canon SD300 has habit of being out of focus under mixed lighting. Small lens cameras are terrible for this. I end up taking not one but several of single subject then sort out which photo I like best to post on the site. Sometimes even with taking multiple shots I still end up with trash while those with high end digital would only need to take one.

With memory and cameras being cheap, I take a lot of photos because there is NO chance of going back and getting a second chance. Still this is up to the skill and quality of equipment a photograper has available to them.
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Unread 10-09-2006, 04:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtnishi
However, that's still a quality based approach, rather than a quantity based one. Conditions might suck, but it still means the preference is to get a few good pictures over a lot of average ones.
Yes and no and kinda.

If I'm running around as in an 'official photographer' capacity, either shooting photos for the masquerade, shooting for a newsletter, or whatnought, then just *getting* a photo of a person in costume is my priority, regardless of the lighting.

I don't like inconveniencing people. If I can get them to move to a better spot, then great. If I can't, well, I'll take the photo anyways, and hope that the flash provides enough to get a decent shot. So, here, it's quantity versus quality. (However, obviously, if I've got a studio setup for a masquerade, then I've got the lighting portion down, and then quality versus quantity becomes moot.)

However, if I'm just running around for myself, then if the light or something is going to make the shot crappy, then I don't even bother. So, in that case, I care more about quality than quantity.
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