Thursday, October 17, 2013

Heros of Cosplay

I don't know how I feel about sci-fi's (thats how it should be spelled you copyrighting assholes) new show. I don't really understand the cosplayers problems because I am a photographer.

Its not like a game show like that other costume show. "Heros of Cosplay" consists of 9 cosplayers that are always in a rush to finish costumes in time for the specific convention that episode. Much of the show is over dramatized; The cosplayers are always saying how if there project isn't done well and on time their fans on the internet will leave or hate them.

I think that someone whom hasn't heard of cosplay before or hasn't been to a convention will think that most costumes are actually good. How I wish that was true.

Sometimes during the show you feel ashamed to be a geek. The people take cosplay way too seriously and have terrible priorities.

Somethings are true however, like everyone kind of knows each other in the community. I know lots of cosplayers I see at almost every con I go to. Its like "oh theres that girl" and "that's the guy who always does halo armor," stuff like that.

That Yaya character has a nice rack.

Monday, May 20, 2013

ACEN 2013

So it was my second year at Anime Central; I had such a fun time last year I decided to come back. I drove up on thursday, started at 6 am, then arrived at my friends house at around 4:30 pm.

For this trip I had rented a Gopro camcorder and strapped it to my DSLR. I thought I could maybe make a movie out of the footage. I don't know what went wrong most of the footage is just unusable, and the video does not look as polished as the videos on Gopro's youtube channel. First I had the camera mounted on the back to shoot James Nachtwey style, but since I shoot mostly verticals, this did not work out. Then I mounted the camera on the front to be out of the way but lost the sense of it mounted on another camera. There were other problems too, I was using a very cheap bracket and it kept moving around on me. It was strange though, everyone I talked to never heard of a gopro before, and no one I was shooting said anything about it. There was one photographer who mentioned it, but he had to quickly talk to someone else, so I didn't talk with him for long.

About the actual convention,

The convention was great, great weather it was overcast most of the time which made it great for photos. The world is one big soft-light, and there are lots of places outside since the convention is held in two different buildings; There are lots of people walking in between the two.

When walking around I did try to be more sociable. I took photos of more cosplayers than I usually do. I even just went up to a non-cosplaying guy and talked to him for a few minutes. Using the gopro did help me study how I interacted with people. I found out I normally asked for a photo then immediately walk away right after quickly saying "Thanks" or something. Now my goal will be to kinda stay and talk for a few more seconds.

I love using polaroid, for this convention I did use it twice. Once on a JSRF cosplayer and again on 3 really great Digimon cosplayers. Using the Polaroid is a lot different than using a digital camera. You have to be careful that you followed all the steps for setting up and shooting the camera, and only use it on good cosplayers. The advantage is it really makes the sitter connect with you since they think the camera is really cool and unique.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

No Professionals at Colossalcon this year

     A recent spat on Colossalcon's facebook page has hit the photography community hard. It seems there is a moral issue of whether Cosplay photographers should be able to charge for private photo-shoots or not.

     After the post on tumblr, colossalcon quickly updated their policies and rules page to include a section on professional photographers. It states that while photographers who are planing to take paid photo-shoots are still allowed, people looking to receive a free press pass and plan to photograph paid shoots are now banned. Part of their policy now reads, "[T]his whole situation has brought up some questions that we'll have to consider for 2014." Then, in strangely bias wording, the entry mentions certain scenarios and asks "what if" and "is it fair?" Colossalcon's policy states that some photographers make over $1000 but do they really? I asked a staff member and he said that he did know of a case, when asked how or who could possibly make that much he wouldn't comment.

     When researching for this article, there seems to be a heated debate on this issue I never knew existed. I think it's because I knew paid photo shoots existed but never paid any attention to them. I never charge for shoots. The one time I did cosplay, I was part of a paid shoot with a friend, but he paid for the entire shoot himself. I just assumed they existed for the people who where willing to pay money. I personally never would because I know there are plenty of photographers who would shoot for free.

     The staff member in this conversation goes by the handle 4ng13, a local cosplayer and owner of the now defunct cosplay website We had met before, and in my experience he is kind of an asshole, a great cosplayer but has a reputation for having a rotten personality, being very conceited, and getting easily upset. I had known he was very opposed to paid shoots and now he is using his power as a staffer to have the practice banned.

     The other person is a photographer who would like to go by his tumblr name Savagetakingphotos said he posted the conversation as more of a call to attention of the behavior of the convention staffer. As of press time the head chairman of colossalcon had not responded.

     Some photographers charge to help cover some expenses and to help weed out the models who will not take the photo-shoot seriously. A photographer might pay for a dealers space to setup a booth where people can find them. Most photographers though, like to move around to get better backgrounds for their portraits. A lot of photo-shoots are set up online weeks or months before the convention. The convention just makes it easier for both costumer and photographer to meet. If paid shoots were completely banned then these paid shoots would just happen as independent photo-shoots elsewhere. I don't think anyone is getting ripped off by unscrupulous photographers. One would be a fool to pay a photographer who one had not seen his or her portfolio first.

     Of course this is also an issue of unprofessionalism of convention staffers and photographers. The conversation went downhill quickly. If the head of press is mad about paid photographers exploiting press passes then he should do more background checking instead of verbally attacking a photographer online and hurting the reputation of the convention especially in the photographer community.