I was thinking about this the other day; would it be considered rude or disrespectful if you happen to book a bunch of photoshoots with different photographers for the same cosplay?
I posted this question on my Facebook account and it got some interesting responses. One of the commenters encouraged me to make this a blog post, and he’s totally right. This is something we don’t think about, but it’ll be useful and informative for many.
Have I personally booked different photographers for the same cosplay at the same location? I definitely have! I actually did do this a year ago.
I was borrowing my friend’s Joker cosplay (as you can see in the main photo of this post) and planned to attend a small convention near me. I booked 2 photoshoots that day wearing my friend’s Joker costume. Those two shots of me are from 2 different photographers on the same day.
You might be thinking, “Why would I do 2 photoshoots with the same costume at the same location on the same day?” I did this for 2 reasons:
1) It was my friend’s costume, so it wasn’t like I could hold onto it forever. I had to give it back eventually. So I wanted to get as many photos cosplaying Joker as much as I could in the shortest period of time. Having 2 photographers at the same con helped me do this!
2) I can happily admit that I’m not good at posing for photoshoots. I’m no professional cosplayer! So in case I screw up one of the photoshoots, at least I have another photoshoot that I can rely on. Having backup photos is what I wanted. In fact, I did do something wrong in my 2nd photoshoot; I had my mask on too high, so it messed up a lot of my photos. So in the end, it ended up working out for me having doing 2 shoots!
But what about the photographers? How would they feel if they saw you booking a shoot with a different photographer with relatively the same setting?
You could argue that some cosplay photographers don’t want to see you book the same photoshoot with the same character with another photographer; especially if the setting is very similar. Not because they’re trying to monopolize the cosplay photography market, but more so that you don’t trust them to produce good results. “Oh you don’t think I’ll take good photos of you, so you’re gonna book another photographer on top of what I’m doing? How insulting!”
For the record, I’m not talking about booking multiple photographers for different kinds of shoots. For example, let’s say you’re cosplaying Hinata from Naruto. If you book one photographer to shoot at a park and another photographer inside a convention, the photos are going to look completely different because of the setting (and the photographer style too, but I’ll get to that later). In this case, it would be totally fine. If the photographer does get upset, then that’s just ridiculous and you need to find another photographer who isn’t so domineering!
But what if you book photoshoots with different photographers with the same cosplay, at the same convention? Is that a problem?
There’s nothing wrong with booking multiple photographers for the same cosplay. Here’s why
After reading what my cosplay friends do, quite a few of them use different cosplay photographers for the same cosplay. And it makes a whole lot of sense. Here’s why:
Every cosplay photographer is different – I think a lot of us (myself included) overlook that each cosplay photographer has their own unique style. For example, I know one photographer who heavily utilizes flash and hard lighting, as well as Photoshop editing. On the other hand, I know another cosplay photographer who relies on natural lighting and hardly edits his photos. So if you were to shoot with these 2 photographers at the exact same location, you’d still get completely different photos because of their photography style. So if you’re going for a bunch of different looks with your cosplay, then it makes complete sense to book 2 or more cosplay photographers.
Let’s say you’re cosplaying Yuna from Final Fantasy X. Maybe you’ll want to book one photographer who is great with environment shots, so you can replicate the “sending off” dance on a beach shoreline Yuna does in the game. And then you’ll want to book another photographer at a convention who is great with lighting, because convention lighting is shit. In this case it makes complete sense to book 2 different photographers but with the same costume; you’re playing to each photographer’s strengths and style. There’s nothing wrong with this.
Different locations – Not every photographer has the time or means to travel to different areas to shoot. Some only shoot at conventions because it’s convenient for everybody. Or you might be traveling to a convention outside of your hometown. So why not book a photographer in that area? Maybe the convention out of state has something unique about it (e.g. the gazebo at Katsucon). This relates to the first point, but if you want to utilize different locations, you might have to use different photographers.
“You can never have too much content” – Someone in my Facebook post said this and I think it summarizes it very well – “you can never have too much content.” This in my opinion is the most valid reason why you’d book different photographers for the same costume, and definitely the reason why I did it. If you’re a more serious cosplayer who regularly posts photos on social media, you’ll know how difficult it is to post content on a consistent basis. Professional cosplayers have to do photoshoots all the time in order to keep up. So if you’re like me who doesn’t have all the time in the world to do photoshoots, why not get all your photoshoots done in one convention with the same costume? Not only will you get more photos back with more than 1 photographer, they’ll also be different because as I mentioned earlier, every photographer has their own style.
So don’t feel bad if you want to do book multiple photographers with the same costume. Whether you’re looking to get a bunch of different photos done in one setting, or you don’t trust yourself to get perfect photos all the time (like me), you have perfectly valid reasons to do so.
Maybe not every cosplay photographer will react the same way. If your photographer does get apprehensive about it, all you have to do is explain that you’re going for a different look for your character. Or in my situation, I’d let them know that I want as many photos of my character as possible, both for social media and because I’m a beginner in terms of cosplay modeling; not all my photos will turn out great. In fact, a lot of them turn out bad. I’d say if a photographer took 100 photos of me, only a few will actually turn out decent. Quite a few non-photogenic people are like this, including myself.
(On a side note, both photographers who shot me as Joker were aware that I was doing another shoot with another photographer on the same day. Both of them didn’t seem to mind. Probably for the reasons I stated above. Or they both got paid and that’s all that mattered. :))
I’d like to hear from you guys, especially you photographers. Would you feel offended if a cosplayer you’re shooting at a convention, decided to book another photographer at the same convention with the same costume? Or would you be totally cool with that? Let me know in the comments!