Friday, February 28, 2014

Cosplay Courtesy as a Photographer

I am an Amateur Nature Photographer as a hobby. I like doing this as I don't have to worry that much about the subject. I don't have to ask permission. They are there, I am quiet and hopefully I get a cool shot. This isn't how you photograph when doing people.

Let me make this plan and simple, people expect you to be professional, courteous, kind and patient. Remember, they are doing you a favor even if you are a taking pictures at a portfolio studio. They let you take their shots and could always walk or never do business with you at all. It is just a matter of respect for the people you are taking pictures of.

Now onto my experiences ~ It was fun and intimidating at times to walk up to some of these beautiful people and ask to take their photo. They were all open to being taken a shot of and was a blast doing it. If it was a large group of photographers and a staged shoot, then it was pretty much a free for all. Everyone understood that it was an open shoot and anyone who wanted to photograph them could.

Now, if there was a solo photographer already taking shots, I waited patiently or asked when the opportunity happened if I could take a few pictures. All of photographers I ran into were kind and let me do this. What I found in talking with them are those that just show up and start snapping. This irritated them to no end as it meant that the cosplayers attention was drawn away from their shoot. It also cause issues if the other people shot with a flash at the same time they shot without one. Flash photography is different from regular photography.

Front of Card
Back of card
My only rejection was one that pleasantly surprised me. I soooooo much wanted a photo of a tall stunning cosplayer as Katastrophia. This was an awesome cosplay as it was beautiful and scary at the same time. When I asked if I could take a photo, she didn't want me to take her picture. Instead she silently handed this card (see to the right). I was a bit depressed to get the card, but I respected the fact she did that. It gave me as a photographer a polite way to say 'not now'. It was also a way for me to know who she was - Shocktress.

Not everyone felt this way as I found out later which was sad. Here is a link to her tumblr post about that night. It resonates the truth about the craziness that cosplayers go through with photographers. We both talked via Twitter for a little bit that night as well. I was happy to catch up the next night as she let me know that her and Starlightslk would be out. I have seen Starlightslk's cosplays on the web, so to have met her as well made it a special shoot for me.
(Starlightslk & Shocktress)

Here is the only shot of the night that I meet up with them. Due to the late hour, I had to use my flash. There was someone else there as well and the flashes were bothering Shocktress. Due to this, Starlightslk asked that we stop using them. Now I am not good at night shots, so the couple others I took didn't come out. I kind of knew this would happen, but tried anyway. Here is where the respect comes in for your subject. You need to ignore your needs and focus on the needs of your subjects. If you don't, you will find yourself alone shooting the floor. 

I went over and thanked them both for taking the time to pose. Even though I know I had maybe one good shot, it didn't matter to me. They took their time to pose and I will always be thankful for that. We even traded cards and I have both of them in front of my as I write this post. I met a lot of great cosplayers, but this is one of a couple experiences that weekend that will stay with me for years to come. One day in the future, I hope to catch both of them again at a con. It is a treat to have them together cosplaying as it a sight to behold.

Final word on this is this - as a Photographer, if you give respect while out shooting, you will get it back 10 fold as this weekend proved.


  1. I know how it feels when all other started crowding when you requested the cosplayer for photos. Probably feeling old and tired, I'm less keen on taking pics of cosplayers at event these days which I didn't last AFA. I sure most cosplayers and photographers have good ethics. I just need to find back that feeling...

    1. It was crazy and really takes a lot out of you. Maybe I will split my time better for doing stuff at the next convention.


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