Cosplay Photography – Types of Photographers
After attending a few conventions, you realize that con photography is a mixed bag. You are never quite sure who you are working with, the quality of the work, and if you’ll ever see the work. Photographers are at the con for a variety of reasons – to celebrate fandom, to build business, or to build their portfolios and gain exposure. In order to know the type of photographer you’re dealing with, you’ll actually have to get to know them some, but here are a few types you may encounter. This list is by no means exhaustive…I don’t talk to everyone with a camera. If you know of other types of photographers, let me know.
To the list!
Type 1 – The Fan
The Fan is a photographer is in love with the fandom. They love that people dress up and come out. They take pictures of EVERYONE and seems to genuinely appreciate the work people put into their costumes. I LOVE these photographers. I rarely find the pictures, but I LOVE their energy.
Type 2 – The Amateur
The Amateur is someone who is really interested in photography but lacks experience and expertise. They will line you up for shot after shot after shot and every picture will kind of suck. That’s not saying a good picture isn’t possible. It’s just not likely.
Type 3 – The Aspiring Professional
The Aspiring Professional photographer thinks they are hot shit. They will treat you like the Amateur but won’t release any photos to you until they do months of after work that looks like it took minutes. Especially bold photographers will try to charge you a fee to get high-resolution copies of your image because it’s their “art.” You may be able to recognize them because they’ll look kinda hipster-ish. If they are from the south, they’ll look like a cowboy hipster. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid! Unless you like that kinda thing. I doubt you do.
Type 4 – The Lech
The Lech is the porn recruiter of photographers. They will openly leer at you and take pictures of your crotch and chest. It will not make you feel good. In fact, it will make you want to shower. When you encounter one of these, warn all your friends and tell them to warn their friends. Warn everyone.
Type 5 – The Sneak
The Sneak is a photographer who won’t ask you for a picture and will, instead, lurk around you taking pictures without your permission. You can’t stop them, but you can confront them – especially if they are trying to take inappropriate pictures, like up skirts. If you see them do that, run tell dat. Run tell EVERYONE. That person is a creep.
Type 6 – The Opportunist
The Opportunist is the photographer who will run up and snap some pictures when they see you posing for someone else. They don’t acknowledge you, and usually fade into the crow after they got what they came for. They sound like some dates I’ve had.
Type 7 – The Lighting Guru
The Lighting Guru is the photographer who brought a lighting kit to the con, which means your photos will probably look awesome. People don’t usually bring light kits if they don’t know how to use them. Then again, virgins carry condoms. Nevermind. *Side note – everyone should carry condoms, but they should all know how to use them, too.
Type 8 - The Professional
The Professional is a photographer who actually makes money as a photographer. I’ve known a few and they have been wonderful to work with – mainly because they take great shots. Really great shots. And if you like them, be willing to pay to play sometimes, especially since the caliber of the work is usually worth it.
Type 9 – The Fan Professional
The Fan Professional is the photographer who knows and loves your character. They will have ideas on poses and want you to BE the character in their photo. These are some of the most fun photographers to work with and they will often do some after-work, like adding effects and backgrounds to really emphasize the cosplay.
Type 10 – The Social Opportunist
The Social Opportunist photographer is in it for the social capital that taking pictures of a bunch of narcissists provides. They will take a LOT of pictures but don’t expect the quality of the work to ever improve because who needs good pictures when you can have friends!
Type 11 – The Cannon Characters Only
The Cannon Characters Only photographer will only take pictures of people who look like the characters and are in comic accurate costumes. This means their subjects are usually white and as close to comic book proportions as possible (e.g. no fatties). They will openly reject anyone who doesn’t match the race, size, or ability of the character. They consider themselves cosplay elitists and truly don’t think cosplay is for everyone. If you aren’t cannon, they will avoid you. If you are cannon, you should curse them out and avoid their non-inclusive asses.
Type 12 – The Expert
This is another type of self-proclaimed cosplay elite. They are the type of photographer who will quiz you on your character. They will call you by alternate names, throw out random trivia to see if you recognize it, and then bash you for not knowing every aspect of the character you are dressed as. They seem to get off on shaming those they deem not worthy. If you encounter one of these, just walk away. Nothing good will come of talking to them.
That wraps up my list of cosplay photographers. As I mentioned before, this list is not exhaustive, so if you know more, add more.