Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Cosplayers; a few rules to follow
If you've ever heard me on TEW, read my blog posts there, or even friended me on facebook you probably know that I love cosplayers. I have just as much fun taking their picture and asking about their questions as they enjoy people taking their picture and being asked about their costume. If you don't know what "cosplay" is then let me highlight you; cosplayers are people who show up to conventions in costume. Typically they pick a character from some type of media be it comics, TV, gaming, etc....
I'd say that the vast majority of cosplayers do it for the attention. I'll freely admit that this is a broad generalization that may not stand up to detailed scrutiny for 100% of all cosplayers but it most certainly applies to 99.9% of them. But just because they're there for "the attention" doesn't mean they're there for "bad attention". So as I post a few pics from GenCon 2011 for you to enjoy allow me to list off a few of my own personal rules that make the experience better for everyone and give you better pictures.
#1 Ask if you can take their picture; Just because they're in costume doesn't mean they're not human beings. While everyone around them may be snapping pics they still appreciate someone asking for their picture. If you want a good picture then you should ask them for one.
#2 Ask to be in the picture but don't expect to be in the picture; This is another rule that centers on politeness. Don't assume that they don't mind your creepy butt sliding up to them ad getting a picture with your arm all over them. Once again they're human beings. Let them take the lead, don't put your arm around them unless they put their arm around you first. If they don't then you shouldn't either.
#3 Know who not to ask or to ask differently; There are just two examples; hot girls with jealous boyfriends and children. Both are trouble but can still be approached. If he's in costume too then ask him to pose with her. Don't ever ask him to step aside so you can press up against her.
Kids are a different kind of trouble. If you're creepy with them then you deserve the legal troubles that can happen. In this case ask mom and dad first. This is especially true if they're little kids.
If they're unaccompanied young teens then you have a new set of problems. Don't get in the picture with them, it's creepy. Don't do it. You absolutely must ask permission.
#4 Use enough camera; I suggest using a good digital camera with enough mega-pixels. A 3.2 mega-pixel camera will take good pics but you'll be limited in how detailed you can edit the photos later. Using a 9.0 or higher will allow you to crop out the background and zoom in on the part you want without any real loss of image quality. A 12.0 is ideal. Any higher mega-pixel and it will devour too much memory and take too long to take a follow up picture.
#5 Prepare that camera; Clear the old pics from the flash card, recharge the batteries, bring spare batteries, and clean your lens. This is quick and simple advice that will prevent you from deleting pictures, will allow that camera to take a new picture much faster, keep it clicking all day long, and makes sure your pics are as good as you can get them.
#6 Use a camera with a short focal length; Cons are crowded and rude people will get in front of you. Your best defense is to be in front of them. I don't suggest a fisheye lens but a 28mm should be enough to get you closer to your subject than the next paparazzi wannabe.
#7 Ask them to pose as their character; You'd be surprised how few times they're asked to do that. Typically all they do is smile for the camera so it's quite refreshing for them when someone asks them to pose in a unique and original manner.
#8 Don't only take pictures of hot girls in skimpy costumes; Good cosplay is tough to pull off. If someone does it well you should reward them with the positive attention they deserve. I've found that the best cosplay costumes aren't on the hottest girls.
#9 If part of their cosplay is an act then you deserve it to them to play along; I've been sung to, I've been acted to, I've been followed and I've been hugged. Good cosplay is more than just an awesome costume on a hot body. A great attitude, a sense of humor and good acting completes the package.