So if you follow The Mary Sue at all, you might have seen an article slip by about Cosplay Photography and how the market has been over saturated with amateurs, and the poor cosplayers have no recourse or the effort’s all on our side.
Well, I was actually quoted in it, sort… of… well it linked to my earlier article Cosplay Photography Etiquette Part 1. Unfortunately the columnist didn’t link to Part 2 which is photographer-centric, or there might have been a bit more balanced information from my blog, but hey, not my article, not my choices.
In the like, five minutes I have left of lunch break, I want to cover something I saw in the article.
Two things. I want to cover TWO things I saw in the article.
1. Money flows TO the person who has the least to gain from a business arrangement.
That means if you want to work with a professional photographer, and you want professional photos, professionally post-processed with lighting adjustments and any extra effects, expect to pay for that unless they approach you and ask if they can take your photo.
Then, in that case, they really like what you’ve got goin’ on.
Basically, a business arrangement is kind of like a set of scales. Weigh what you’re bringing to the table on one side, (amazing professional makeup, A+ costume skills and gas money) against what the photographer will be providing (Lighting know how, model direction, post-processing to make the lighting wonderful and erase the coffee stain on your skirt).
Which ever side is ‘lightest’ can compensate the shortfall with payment. Just as amateur cosplayers pay for photographers, amateur photographers can offer payment to more experienced cosplayers.
Just remember that you’re paying for the following when you book an experienced photographer: understanding of the most flattering angles, lighting know-how and/or equipment, experience post processing as well as hours spent doing so, and probably the laundry after they roll around on the ground to get the best angles.
How do you know that’s what you’re getting? That’s… the research bit.
2. Practicing poses in front of a mirror in your cosplay isn’t depressing, it’s friggen fun.
I put on RuPaul’s Supermodel, or P!nk’s Sl*t Like You and bounce around and make dumb faces and make ‘pretty’ faces and then laugh at myself. But Doing that not only helps me learn what looks good and doesn’t, it also boosts my confidence before going out into the world in something that’s half tinfoil and half catfur knitted into fabric. I mean, a cosplay I made. That’s totally not made of catfur, it’s just 50% cat.
Okay I lied, sorry.
3. Just like there’s beginner cosplayers, there’s beginner photographers.
Yes, there’s skeevy GWCs (guys with cameras) who go around and are skin-crawlingly terrible to deal with, but there’s also someone who’s still learning how to compose shots and work with lighting. That photographer won’t get better if you assume that they’re not worth working with. And these are the photographers that won’t or shouldn’t be charging money because they’re gaining the experience and practice just as you gain photos as well as practice posing etc.
Annnd crap outta time. I’ll follow up with a more detailed article later.