Last weekend I was over at Anime Los Angeles, a great smaller convention with lots of energetic cosplayers and equally enthusiastic photographers. In my experience in the convention, I noticed that in general the photographers displayed proper etiquette when photographing cosplayers. After all, a cosplayer put lots of time and effort into making an outfit and it is our duty as the cosplay photographer to make their outfit shine beautifully through the lens. While most photographers are good with etiquette, it is always good to brush up on proper etiquette so that everyone will have a great time in Anime Conventions.
Etiquette Towards Cosplayers
Tip #1: Always ask gently for a photograph
|They work hard for the outfit, be nice.|
Tip #2: Show them the picture after taking a cosplayer's picture
I will admit that for 8 years of photographing cosplayers, I have only started doing this recently based on observations of other cosplay photographers. Showing the picture you have taken of the cosplayer works for both the photographer and the cosplayer.
|Cosplayer feedback is great in photography|
For the photographer you have a couple of advantages by showing the cosplayer their picture after taking it. Those advantages are instant feedback, the ability to network with cosplayers, and the chance to go into an extended photo shoot. When it comes to cosplay photography, instant feedback from the cosplayers are great because it makes you feel good and it allows you to improve your personal technique. As a photographer, you also start noticing what kind of pictures make the cosplayers the most happy and from there you can start honing your skills and perfecting your craft. The ability to network with cosplayers is very important because we are part of one big community. I have been going to anime conventions for the past 8 years and I have been seeing the same faces for the past 8 years, I might as well start making friends with them since they have similar hobbies and interests. When you show the cosplayer a picture, you also open the window for extended photo shoots because the cosplayer knows that you are serious about your craft of photography.
Tip #3: Bring Business Cards
If you are a good enough photographer, a cosplayer will ask you if you have a website, deviantArt, or are registered in a cosplay community like Cosplay.com. It will do you good to have a batch of business cards. This will do a world of good because the cosplayer can contact you after the convention and ask you about the pictures you have taken of them. Not only that, they also have your card as reference so that they can contact you if they want to do a future photo shoot in an upcoming convention. A great website for business cards is a site like Vista Print.
Etiquette towards other Cosplay Photographers
|As long as you respect the photographer, you can jump in.|
Tip #1: Ask a photographer during a photo shoot
During conventions a photographer may move a cosplayer away from the insanity of the convention and take pictures in a more obscure area. It is rude to go up to a photographer doing a photo shoot with a cosplayer and start snapping pictures away. The correct way to do it is to ask the photographer if you can join in the shoot. The photographer who is doing the official shoot has the right to refuse or to ask you to wait a moment. If they say yes, please respect the photographer who is doing the main shot. If they need the space, respect them and give them space. The last thing you need to do is to stop the photographer from getting the "perfect shot" they need.
Tip #2: Brand loyalty means nothing, it is all about the picture
When interacting with other cosplay photographers, there is no need to show your loyalty to one brand by poo-pooing on others. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony and the others are all good cameras whose purpose is to take a good picture. Having thousands of dollars of equipment doesn't mean anything if your picture is bad. A good photographer is a good photographer regardless of what brand they are using, so don't inject something silly into the conversation like brand fanaticism in conversation with other cosplay photographer.
Tip #3: Don't be afraid to talk to fellow photographers
There are lots of talented photographers in an Anime Conventions. Don't be afraid to ask a cosplay photographer tips and tricks in improving the composition of your picture or how to take advantage of a feature in your camera. While they are in the Anime Convention taking pictures of cosplayers, remember that many of them are also professional photographers (or at least amateurs with amazing talent). Stopping a moment and getting help from them or getting feedback on a picture helps everyone.
If you have any more tips and tricks on cosplay photography etiquette, please feel free to contact me and let me know