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Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Holly

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Cosplay Photoshoot Etiquette

DeviantArt user hikaraseru wrote a great article on how a standard cosplay photoshoot should be conducted. Check it out:

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!

You can also check out her flickr here

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About the Author

Holly is a Seattle native and an active cosplay photographer. She loves anything with whales on it. Hint....hint..



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