Where do I potentially begin with the topic of photoshoots? Let me take you back to around a few months ago, when the tide was calm and the anxiety levels were super low. I have been a photographer for around 7 years or so but I’ve only been doing cosplay photography since September 2014. Baring that in mind, you could say I am pretty new to the scene and I have worked with a wide range of cosplayers which includes both friends and people that I have just met. I have enjoyed it with a passion and I continue to thrive on helping each cosplayer showcase their talented craftsmanship, no matter how simple or complicated the cosplay itself may be. Everyone has their own style, preference and methods of creating their masterpieces. It’s the appreciation, commitment and dedication that matters to me the most which is shown by each cosplayer who I work with.
The first stage is always the easiest stage, if you’re well connected with the right people and groups too, then you will easily find people who would like a photoshoot for free of course. But this also applies to togs who are just starting out, at the end of the day, if you kick off with joining the MCM EXPO Group on Facebook which has over 28K of people that belong in the group, you can find it a good stepping stone to find popular to not so popular cosplayers to work with. As long as both parties have a mutual agreement and understanding of each others’ terms, requirements and location to meet, then you’re all sorted.
The second stage is actually booking people in, slotting people for a preferable day and time, each cosplayer wants to shoot and then sending out reminders via Facebook Messenger or SMS prior to the event, prior to the day and actually one last message on the day.
The third stage is collecting each cosplayers’ contact telephone number so you can actually track them down on the day. There are so many people that turn up on the day, if you don’t have one way of communicating with each other, it’s going to be quite difficult to meet up for the set time, day and location.
The final stage is pretty straight forward – just agree to the set time, day and most important of all, is the location of where to meet.
DO suggest to meet in a well known location e.g. In front of the wide screen TV, the statue, by the boat, the trees – anything easily identifiable, even for first time attendees.
DO NOT suggest to meet in the middle of one of the exhibition halls because that would be ridiculous. There’s too many people going pass at any one time and it’s way too noisy. Meeting outside is always the best suggestion. If you are going to meet inside then you might as well meet in a quieter area outside of the halls nearer to N/S10 or N/S1, so nearer to the front or back of the Excel Exhibition Center.
There is technically a fifth stage which is meeting up, once you’ve met up, you should understand “first impressions are everything” and that goes true to this situation 100% – with guys I tend to give a greeting of a handshake and with girls I tend to give a brief hug, just to break the ice. I don’t necessarily do this with everyone I meet because you can tell by body language and posture whether it’s alright to do so or not. It’s down to personal judgement at the end of the day. Next part of it is simply just introduce yourself, and then find out from the cosplayer(s) what they want to do, (Furthermore, you could ask how they went about making their cosplay and how long it took. I’ve heard some interesting stories from when I’ve asked in the past, it also helps break the ice a bit, especially when you’re meeting for the first time), if they have any good ideas for the shoot and if they have any preferences, then you can share your ideas swiftly after and meet a mutual agreement of which direction you want to take for the photoshoot. After that, the rest is up to you to work your magic, but applying your creative ideas to see what awesome photos you can produce and hopefully both you and the cosplayer(s) will be happy at the end of the shoot.
This weekend just gone at MCM London Comic Con May 2015 was the most stressful convention that I have ever covered because of many factors, but one main factor was the fact that I was overbooked and in theory prior to the con I thought it was a good idea. In reality, it was tragic. I was too stressed, anxiety levels were high as and to top it all off – I was gutted and unhappy when x amount of cosplayers didn’t turn up, but sometimes you gotta have so leniency because certain cosplayers couldn’t get there in time or their cosplays were simply not ready so therefore they did not have a plan B. I know from personal experience now that over booking is a big no no. Some of you reading this might be asking how many shoots I had? Well I completed 42 photoshoots but essentially over all including pre-booked, on the day booked and TBC’s I had 70 odd shoots spanning across the three days of the convention. It was too much to handle and overbearing. In future, I shall not over book and put a cap for each convention that me and my team shall cover.
Here are a bunch of photos from MCM Expo London Comic Con May 2015. If you wish to see more, the full album can be seen on my Facebook photography page.
The flipside to conventions. I just want to briefly brush over this topic as I have barely bought this up in the past, or not at all but in recent light of events, it gave me something to talk about on my blog. We all love conventions/comic cons but we all should never forget that there are two sides to every story. Not everyone that you meet at conventions are wonderful human beings. There will be people you will meet and you will not get on with at first sight, or even fall out with people that you haven’t known for long, things can go wrong, some people get hurt, some people break things and some others even get lost, however on a serious note, all these things or one of these things may have happened to you, to your friend or someone you may possibly know of. It can be a scary thought when you go through any of these terrible experiences, it might be traumatic, it might make you angry, sad or even depressed. At the end of the day, at some point, we have all been there. Some of us try to avoid these issues but sometimes we just have to deal with them the best way we can. I’ve had first hand experiences when people talk to me about how their bad experiences have ruined their hour/day of their con for various reasons. It’s difficult not to take it to heart but with the right moral support from friends, family and loved ones, you will get through it all in good time. (Many thanks to Guy Ronin for the inspiration to write the second segment of this blog post.)
Conventions are meant to be fun experiences, for me personally it is a mini holiday and it should be the same for you too. It’s a time for me to do what I am passionate about which is simply photography, as well as meeting new people, seeing my other half (EeVee Cosplay), go see and purchase many beloved items from various exhibitors. Go meet new people, eat food, try new things and most of all, make new friends and have lots of fun together! Never forget that. p.s. Take as many photos as you can!!!!!