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Cosplay Photoshoot Etiquette

Journal Entry: Tue Mar 27, 2012, 8:32 AM

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My good friend hikaraseru has written a very good guide on how a standard cosplay photoshoot should be conducted in a conducive manner. I got her permission to post the entire article up, so hope you guys like what she is presenting to us.

Want to plan a cosplay shoot, but somehow things just don't turn out right? Maybe the photos were not how you visualised them, or that the photographer seemed to be extra grumpy, or you just don't know what's going on? Read on for how to get the best out of your cosplay shoot:

The 4 Ps:

1. Plan
Having a plan is essential and should take up the most time overall in your shoot. Speak to the photographers closely, because they will be the ones producing the photos that will be the end result; make sure they are aware of the concept and background of the series you're shooting. Some photographers will want to do their own research prior to the shoot (reading the manga/watching the anime/looking up reference photos) - so make sure they get enough time to do so. Always provide at least a few reference photos of suggested poses or atmosphere.

2. Please and thank you
Photographers often do cosplay shoots for free, so please acknowledge this by requesting their services politely and thanking them afterwards. Make sure they are aware of your needs, and also make sure you are aware of theirs, especially their schedules. Many photographers are also professionals in fields other than cosplay, which means they may have paid clients, university lectures or day jobs that will most certainly take priority over your shoots. Be understanding. Build a good relationship. Photographers are doing you a favour by taking time out of a busy schedule for you.

3. Punctuality
When you plan a shoot, please, please show up on or before the agreed time. Yes, a lot of things can go wrong during a shoot's preparation - so it is up to the cosplayer's responsibility to allocate at least two hours beforehand to get everything sorted out. Letting a photographer wait for hours is not acceptable, unless these are unforeseen circumstances. Waking up late, or being delayed by makeup and (non-last minute) faulty costumes are not included.

Remember, in normal professional shoots, many photographers charge by the hour.

4. Patience
Once again, photographers are often people with day jobs or clients that will most certainly take priority over the results of your shoot. Be patient. Work out a time frame with the photographer at the end of the shoot on how fast you expect photos to be delivered, but also be flexible as real life is often unexpected. Refrain from constantly messaging the photographer to ask for shots. Remember, a happy photographer is more likely to deliver carefully edited shots than a rushed one. If self-editing is preferred, a shorter time frame is acceptable; but basic editing is still (more often than not) needed for every shot to: a) resize them so you won't be getting a 5GB file in the mail; b) do minor tweaks to colour, lighting and crop. Trust me, these make a lot of difference.

[To add: I got a question on this and yes, I think it's perfectly fine - and has happened before- for cosplayers to have an unedited set of photos right after a shoot as long as both sides agree to it and know who'll be doing what. :) If I were to sum this whole note up, I'd say it's ultimately an issue of communication so both sides know what to expect from each other.]

Disclaimer: The writer has been a cosplayer for 5 years and a photographer for 3 years with experience in the UK, Malaysian and Singaporean scenes. The above advice was written from personal experience and input from those around her. Any other perspectives are welcome :) Thanks for reading!

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Photographic Interests

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Thoughts On Photography

  • To use your Eye, your Mind and your Heart to capture a piece of memory that will be remembered for all time.
  • Good photography aren't really about buying the most expensive equipment, or having the most beautiful of people posing for you. Instead, it is more on how you convey your emotions in the photos that you take.
  • Being humble is a must. There are always people better than us around.
  • There are no such things as lousy photographers. Only lazy ones.
  • Finally, have fun!

  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Roxette
  • Watching: Another
Add a Comment:
sqdAnoob Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hi :) thanks for the tutorial. but may i ask how i could get to know more photographers when i have just started cosplaying?
hexlord Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Hi there, sorry for the late reply~

Well, if you are starting out, you can get to know them from events (don't be shy) and introduce yourself. Ask them for their photographer cards, and talk to them to find out more about how they work and do their photography. It would be an interesting experience~ :)
sqdAnoob Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you!!!
blue-ramen Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing. Great insights!
maiabest9381 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
very helpful tips! YOU ARE SO KIND! thank you for sharing this..:)
maki-chama Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
thank you for sharing. I agree with most of the things written in this journal. It's a good read :)
Sonycea Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
agreed. will share on FB too. hopefully this article will increase both side awareness of a photoshoot
OVERSOULcebu Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
can ask for permission to repost this link on FB? and a forum? thanks~
hexlord Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you all for the comments and please do share this around. ^^
portpolyonamo1979 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012
2 thumbs up! totally agree^^ but sometimes I'm guilty on the 3rd one as a photog ahaha
Dhenz07 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
nice post ^^
theDevil-photography Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012   Photographer
great post, I really like it! totally agree with you
KaedeOda128 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
thanks for the share :D will noted with heart XD
JuriaScarlet Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012  Student General Artist
It's very interesting and helpful XD
dannsegoshi Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012
I've read it before. It's well written.

Unfortunately, here in Brazil, many of the cosplayers don't follow the "Punctuality" rule. I think that's one of the reasons why I don't feel like making a photoshoot so often here.

Fortunately, the "Please and thank you" and "Patience" rules is not a issue. Most of the brazilian cosplayers have good manners. ^^
Azunatsu Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
nice post
Ika-xin Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Totally agree with you 8D. hopefully i did all of that on the shoot w/ you T^T
BanditYinG Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012
this is very true. :D
Michiaki Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Student Artisan Crafter
Punctuality -oh yes.

I've waited four- five hours for a RustBlaster Shooting, because half of the crew came late, which was VERYYYY unnerving .-.
Luckychannel Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
ah i love this! and i totally relate to this!! i hate it when the model asks for the raw files, why cant u wait for the edited ones?! gah! :iconangerplz:
sicherheitpolizei Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012
Do you know a guy named 'Linkinstreet' by any chance?
Kappamond Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
totally agree
SNTP Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
#1 on my list is Punctuality. I hate coming early to set up a scene, and watch as the sun moves to high noon/sets before the cosplayer gets to the location. This is especially irritating when they don't answer their phone/texts. If I agree to do a shoot, it's because I want to take photos, and have fun, not sit around all day waiting. i can do that at home.
Great work as always hexlord, you are quite an inspiration.
Hitomi-Cosplay Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012
shared on facebook, all cosplayers should read, it would stress less both cosplayers and photographers
I agree with everything lol and the cosplayers must know the meaning of ''sorry'' when they are not punctual, or when they cancel the photoshoot /o\
BlizzardTerrak Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Very nice. :nod:

Mind if I post a link to this? :?
2sosmia Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think this article is very well written. I find many cosplayers in my area expect the photographer to know what kind of theme their cosplay photos should have...but photographers aren't going to have infinite amounts of time to research series' last minute so I think its important for cosplayers and photographers to work together and plan ahead!
DespairedPheonix Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
i was late because my 15' wings slowed me down a lot more than i expected them to; because of this i got heat stroke while walking up a hill trying to get to the shoot on time. But I think that was a special case, my photographer was extremely understanding.

But I do agree. Don't be late. Put simply: being late is rude. and I think its a big problem among both photographers AND cosplayers.
Simply-Paul Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I believe it is a good write. Likewise, point no. 2, I'm not sure if it's universal but I believe a photographer would be more than happy to be credited and thanked publicly.
itsmejunko Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ohyes i saw the post you shared on your facebook! The experience your friend gotten is really terrible. This set of guidelines are really good. Personally i hate waiting for people, so i don't like keep the photographers waiting for me D8 i feel that it's really unfair to them.

As for the editing part, i feel that what you've raised out is valid - communication is important. I don't mind waiting for the pictures especially when i know that the photographer him/herself is busy, but it would be really weird to me if the photographer insists in holding on to the raws and want to edit it and yet takes a long time because of their schedule.

But up till now i havent met much problems with the editings and stuffs with the photographers, so yup! :D
hugodeathy Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Professional Photographer
I had to share that on FB as well, so important and the small "rules" are so simple yet most cosplayers don't follow. Especially the "don't be late" one. ._."
pohcbSonic Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
interesting share, dude.
shall take into mind. =)
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March 27, 2012


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