(In case you’re wondering. Yes I made that cover photo with an ugly filter on purpose! It’s called bad editing and one of the pet peeves of a cosplay photographer, which I’ll get to later in this post.)
It’s been a while since I posted anything about cosplay photography. It’s one of my most popular topics on this website and my last post was a fairly large beginner guide for doing photoshoots as a cosplayer, which has been overwhelmingly popular and I thank you guys for the love!
I’m definitely working on future posts that are similar to that, including posing techniques, photoshoot ideas and more and how to build a solid relationship with your cosplay photographer! Because cosplay photographers are awesome and crucial to this community that we love.
Today, I’m making a quick post about 5 pet peeves that cosplay photographers have.
Just like how cosplay photographers need to know their etiquette when it comes to cosplayers, cosplayers need to respect photographers as well. I know it’s not obvious to everyone how to act and behave as a cosplayer/photographer (especially if you’re new to conventions or the cosplay community). But hey, that’s what my cosplay blog is for!
Alright let’s get started!
1. Not communicating with your photographer
I think if there’s one thing that’ll keep a photographer happy, it’s being able to properly communicate and understand each other.
Unless you’re a Psychic type like Alakazam, the photographer cannot read your mind! So from the time you contact the photographer, to when you’re sharing the photos on your social media (more on this later), you need to communicate with your photographer. The last things you want are misunderstandings because you or the photographer didn’t discuss things beforehand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and share with them what you’re looking for!
For example, one of the first things I ask a photographer before shooting are:
- What are their rates? (Don’t worry if you find out that a photographer’s rate is too high for you. I usually just say it’s out of my budget. They’ll understand.).
- How long will the shoot be (although in my previous post, I do mention that length of shoot doesn’t necessarily correlate with quality of photos).
- Do they make fancy Photoshop edits? (Maybe you want cool Shonen effects in your shoot like Naruto or Dragon Ball (Some photographers don’t do this type of work, so better to ask first or find a different one who does).
These are a few things you should ask your photographer to make sure you are both on the same wavelength when it comes to the shoot itself.
During the photoshoot it’s important to get the shots you want, but it’s also just as important to communicate and speak up while getting your photos taken. While I’m sure the photographer would like to get their job as done as efficiently as possible, most of them want to see you happy and satisfied with the final product. So there are times where you need to talk to your photographer during the shoot, such as:
- Asking to see the photo from time to time (maybe the photographer thinks the photo are turning out well, but you yourself aren’t happy with the facial expressions you’re doing).
- If you feel uncomfortable doing a certain pose or standing in somewhere
- If you’re not sure what to do
So in short, the photographer is there to help out you. So don’t be afraid to talk to them!
2. Not showing up on time and/or cancelling your photoshoot last minute
One of the best ways to keep your photographer happy is by showing up on time for your photoshoot. Because if you show up late for your photoshoot, not only does it shorten the amount of time to get some decent photos taken, but it could also push back the other photoshoots that the photographer scheduled at a convention. Also, if you need to cancel, then let them know far in advance! The worst thing you can do is cancel at the last second. You won’t get a happy photographer; you’ll just make an angry one.
If you’re shooting at a convention, the best thing to do is show up 10-15 minutes early. There are so many distractions at a con, such as attendees asking for your photos, people stopping you in the middle of the hallway, or random lineups that get in your way. So keep this in mind and be sure to keep your con schedule empty during your photoshoot time.
3. Not coming prepared for the photoshoot
Photographers take time out of their day to take some photos of you, so it’s only fair that you put in the effort as well (even if you are paying). So if you half-ass it, they’re not going to be happy! So come prepared like:
- Bring a comb and mirror in case you need to adjust your costume during the shoot (maybe the wind could mess things up)
- Have reference photos with you so you have photo ideas
- Makeup on point
- Wig on point
Here’s a whole checklist of ways to get ready for a photoshoot: https://rogersenpai.com/cosplay-photoshoot-checklist-how-to-get-ready/
4. Not paying the photographer as soon as you can (earlier is better)
Unless they’re shooting for free or doing TFP, then your best bet is to pay the photographer as soon as possible. This will ensure that the photographer is not wasting their time taking photos of you and editing them. A photographer’s fear is that they’re doing all this work and then not getting paid for it. Sort of like dining and dashing at a restaurant. Although to be fair, the photographer has more control in this case because they have the photos. But don’t delay in giving them the money. I usually pay the photographer in cash; right after the shoot is done.
5. Misusing the photos you get back from your photographer
Just because you paid the photographer doesn’t mean you get to use the photos however you want! Not using the photos properly is a quick way to piss of a photographer. While I’m sure most of the time it’s unintentional, there are certain unwritten rules you should follow. Cosplay photographer Martin Wong wrote a nice guideline. But I’ll go over the most important ones, in my opinion:
Tag/credit the photographer when you share the photo on social media. Even though you paid them, the photographer still wants credit (and exposure) for their work! When you post their photo, be sure to add in the description at the end: “Photo taken/edited by @photographer.”
Don’t edit their photos. Photographers have already done the heavy lifting by editing and cropping the photos for you. By you doing more edits, you’re undoing the work that they did. And let’s say you did a crappy job editing and posted the photo on social media (just like I purposely did with the cover photo of this post). Then people will assume the photographer made those crappy edits! So leave the photo the way it is. You can always ask your photographer if you’re looking for specific edits.
Don’t ask for raw photos (unless they specifically allow you to see them). I’ll admit that I used to ask for all the raw photos back then because I wanted to see which one looked best. But there’s a reason why photographers take a lot of photos during the shoot. It’s because not all of them will turn out well. Think about it; if you shared a raw, unedited image taken by the photographer, what does that say about the photographer themselves? That their best work was that awkward raw photo they let you use? Not the best impression of the photographer’s work, especially to another cosplayer looking to shoot with them.
So of course they don’t want you to choose just any photos to share on your cosplay page; that would make them look bad. A nice photographer will show you all the raw unedited photos in a collage (so you can’t actually download and share them) and let you pick from 3-5 of them. That is a pretty decent compromise. So when a photographer doesn’t want to share with you all the raw photos from the photoshoot, it’s not that they don’t want you to have choices. It’s more to protect their work and reputation.
There we have it; 5 pet peeves that cosplay photographers have.
Again, I love my cosplay photographers dearly and only created this post to help you understand COStographers a bit more and build a better, stronger relationship with them. Do you have any pet peeves yourself when it comes to cosplay photoshoots? Let me know in the comments!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!