Cosplayers wear costumes to conventions, and photographers take pictures. It’s a cycle that repeats itself again and again with some photographers booking specific sessions ahead of time. Whether you’re a pro or amateur photographer, you should keep in mind that there are some basic guidelines to follow in order to be polite and to get the best picture possible. Andy Ihnatko runs down several of them in his “Dummies’ Guide To Cosplay Photography.” Here are a few of his rules:
1. Make sure your camera or phone is turned on, set the way you want it, and ready to shoot before you approach the cosplayer. Fiddle with settings during your time, not theirs.
2. Approach the cosplayer if he or she doesn’t seem otherwise busy.
3. Make eye contact and ask “May I take your picture?” in a friendly way. Bonus points for addressing them by their character name (signifying that you recognize the costume) and for offering a sincere compliment on something you particularly like about the costume.
4. Allow the cosplayer to take a moment to make any adjustments he or she deems necessary. They’ll probably want to put down the Diet Coke, move their con badge out of sight, and pick up the prop they worked so hard on. More importantly, they’ll probably want to make sure that parts of their costume haven’t come apart, or shifted in a way that will cause embarrassment. And they’ll want to settle into a pose that they like.
His most important rule: “You must never do anything that makes the cosplayer wish you hadn’t taken that photo.”
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