04 November 2013

Cosplay Photography 101 : Communication Matters

Have you been visiting Animation, Comics, and Games (ACG) conventions and enjoy taking photos of Cosplayers with your professional DSLR, handy little compact camera, or just a modest mobile phone camera? I do enjoy taking photos of Cosplayers myself and here are some Cosplay Photography Tips to share with like-minded folks who also do Cosplay Photography.

1. Ask for permission before you start taking photos of Cosplayers and thank them for their time and effort after the photos have been taken.

While you are feeling happy and excited to start taking photos of Cosplayers who are dressing up as your favorite characters, you might have forgotten your basic courtesy at the spur of the moment and began snapping away trigger-happy without considering whether the Cosplayers were tired and wanted to rest, eat, drink, pee, poop, or fart before starting to pose for photos again.

It does not cost anything or take much time and effort to ask for permission before taking photos of Cosplayers. Here be a few "pick-up" lines which you can use while being out and about in the field operations.

  • Hi, can I take a picture of you?
  • Hello there, would you mind striking a pose?

Do your best to avoid addressing Cosplayers as "Excuse Me", "Hunk", "Handsome", "Babe", "Sexy", or "Cutie" no matter how much your heart has been moved by them especially when you are Cosplaying as your favorite characters.

Thanking them after their photos are taken will make them feel appreciated and comfortable of having their photos taken by you. There are many ways you can express your gratitutde to the Cosplayers such as simply saying "thank you", bowing like the Japanese folks do, or even a salute works fine (especially with Cosplayers in Military Uniform).

2. Avoid obstructing or standing in front of other Cosplay Photographers and wait for your turn to take photos of the Cosplayers.

It is a very unpleasant experience for Cosplay Photographers to have their frame intruded by someone else's head, body, camera, lens, or flash especially when they have requested for the attention, a specific pose, and focused their lenses on the Cosplayers.

The Cosplayers will not teleport away or vanish into thin air after their photos have been taken by other Cosplay Photographers. Kindly be patient and wait for your turn to take photos of them but remember to exercise tip #1 before you do.

Having failed shots taken (because of your obstruction) is not just a bane to other Cosplay Photographers, it is also a waste of time and effort for the Cosplayers who have been maintaining those difficult poses for prolonged periods.

3. Share and review your photos with the Cosplayers after their photos have been taken.

Cosplayers who are posing in front of your camera lens have absolutely no idea on the outcome of the photos you have taken. Nobody likes unglam photos of themselves appearing on the internet or newspaper publications.

If you do not feel confident to share and review your photos with the Cosplayers, then the more you should do it. Some Cosplayers might be able to share tips and pointers with you, helping you to become a better Cosplay Photographer, and best of all, offer to pose again for you!

4. Exchange contact information with the Cosplayers.

Cosplayers are not statues or life-sized dolls. They are also human beings and social creatures like us who have social needs with some form of personal touch (not literally touching them in the flesh of course) instead of the usual greetings we used to learn from our parents or schools.

There are many ways you can exchange contact information with the Cosplayers:
  • Exchanging of CosCards and Name Cards
  • Adding each other on Facebook / Twitter / any other Social Media Platform
  • Exchanging of Mobile Phone Numbers (for folks without Name Cards / Mobile Data Access)

Once you have exchanged contact information with the Cosplayers, remember to follow-up with them one day after the event by dropping them a "hello" or "thank you" message, sharing with them how much you love (or hate) their Cosplay, which part of their costume could have been done better (or worse), and whether they would be interested in having non-event Cosplay Photoshoots.

No one will remember who you are just by simply meeting you once at a public event unless you have made many meaningful impacts in their lives which they will find it hard to forget.

5. Send your photos to the Cosplayers after the events are over.

Cosplayers pose for photos because they want to have their photos taken and not just for the Cosplay Photographers' own keepsake or have their photos used as a catalyst for some kind of dark voodoo rituals behind closed doors.

You can use these free online services to send your photos to the Cosplayers:

If you forgot to pay your internet bills or had your internet access revoked (maybe due to excessive visiting of healthcare related websites), an alternative solution will be to copy the photos onto a recordable media such as CD-ROM / DVD-ROM and handing them over to the Cosplayers through real world meet-ups.


Special thanks to these comrades for their contributions and inputs:

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