Top 5 things Cosplayers hate about Photographers

So I've been nurturing the thoughts of this article for very long and I'm finally about to share them.

As the title explains, this article focus on the top 5 most annoying thing photographers do to cosplayers. The 'photographers' includes both event and non event photographers.

Also, as a usual disclaimer. I have to disclaim that this article is merely a written collection of cosplayer's general sentiments . It is targeted at no one in particular. Although if you are a photographer and is guilty of a few of these charges then you might wanna start reflecting. The list goes backward with the biggest number being the most heinous sin.


1.  Posting Unglam shots without permissions

Alright, let me start with the least sinful one.

Taking unglamorous shoots of the cosplayer is bad enough but posting it online without permission is worse. It’s like throwing your dear friend into the pits of hell and flames.

19859_282807101028_569886028_3583237_5222755_nOf course, the definition of ‘unglamorous’ itself is pretty intangible and it’s always hard to judge whether a picture is funny or ugly. Omake shots are almost always something stupid, out-of-character and sometimes  . . . pretty ugly. But nobody cares because the main point of those omake shots are to have fun!

But I guess the fun ends when the laugh’s on you (the Cosplayer). And his/her reputation is jeopardized by the publishing of an un-presentable photo. Thus risk granting him/her a place on the Cosfu shrine.

Once again, I come back to the intangibility of beauty. Because different people will look at different things, how are you going to know it the Cosplayer will get upset or not?. The safest bet , is to just seek your subject’s permission before posting it online. For as we all know, once it gets online, there’s no taking back.


2.  Taking photos without permission when the cosplayer is not ready yet

You guys must be SO TIRED of this issue so I’ll make this brief. I posted something of a similar topic a while ago and received many feedbacks on it.

Apparently, EYERYONE hates it ! It’s a unanimous vote. Photographers out there, please refrain from doing this unless you are a (close) personal friend of the Cosplayer.

Nobody like having lens snuffed 10cm from their face unless they are so short sighted and they can’t even tell.


3.  Insisting /forcing the cosplayer to do OOC poses

OOC = Out of Character

This point does not include mutually decided Omake shots. I’m talking about enthusiastic Photographers who go all “WOAHHH COME ON MORE SHOULDERS ! MORE BUTT! MORE SEX APPEAL !!!”

Yeah those creepy kinds.

Doing OOC poses are completely fine with me as you can see from my track record. I don’t give two hoots about a lady’s refined image.

P1040287 copyStarry Gay Luneth~ *

But I do get upset when people insist/suggest I do something not funny, not spontaneous and not related to the character’s personality. Mostly those that needs you to show more of your body or be of a more ‘servicing’ nature. Thankfully for me, I haven’t encountered much of those (must be my deadly aura).

Having sex appeal in commercial photography is great and is highly sought after. But for Cosplay photography, creativity is usually meant to be applied to looking(costume crafting included) and behaving LIKE the character and trying your best to bring the character to life.

I believe most cosplayers do a certain character because there is a trait about the character they admire and would dearly like to emulate. If the pose the photographer insists the cosplayer do happens to conflict with that trait, I’m afraid the Cosplayer won’t feel too comfortable doing it.

kasumi copy

Get the sexy back!!!

Imagine you are cosplaying the tough, independent and unfeminine Lighting from Final Fantasy 13 and the photographer wants you to wink at the camera or kneel seductively with half your boobs flashing at the camera lens. I don’t think I could handle that.

Have any of you encountered such an experience before? Share it with us in the comments below!


4.  Not taking the cosplayer’s ideas into considerations

I don’t encounter a lot of hentai jij photographers so I guess I can’t say it bothers me enough to place it at this spot. So it went to the 3rd point (above). So 4th (or rather 2nd) place goes to this.

Now this is one point that can really irk the hell out of me. Call me a control freak or whatever. But I like to look at each photo shoot as the making of a concept art. Cosplayers might want the photos from that shoot to carry a certain element in them that will differ it from the usual event shoots or other photos from previous Photo shoots. It’s like, sometimes we have a VISION of something that we want to create. And I believe I’m not the only cosplayer that feels this way.

30May08_-_Sailormoon 089 copy


I know of Cosplayers who would plan and even storyboard out what they want in the shoot so as to give the photographers an idea of what they would like to achieve. It might be a concept for a still image or a sequence of images telling a story. However the presentation differs, the yearn to make something fabulous stays.

And for a Cosplay Project to work, the support and cooperation of the photographer is crucial. In fact, a good photographer can make or break the cosplay.  And not all photographers are as obliging.

I probably can’t blame them of course, since photographers come from a different background and shoot with a different purpose, so they might find it hard to attune themselves to the needs of the cosplayer.

And some might not even want to try because they either don’t want to change their style or they deem themselves better than the cosplayers who supposedly, knows nothing. Yeah, sometimes it’s all just an ego fight and it is annoying. Not so much of being belittled, I can deal with that, but more of coming away from a shoot without any really good pictures to show.

I’ve always felt it is difficult to bridge the vision a cosplayer has with that of a photographer. I guess one of the best Cosplay is not created by just the cosplayer but also the photographer who captured the legacy. For a good Cosplay to work or rather, for any human photography to work, both the subject and the photographer has to have some sort of chemistry. And the chemistry should show in the photos. But of course that’s just my take, what do you think?


5.  Not giving raws/high res photos promptly

This is so blatantly important I don't even know how anyone could NOT understand it. Yet, many photographers just don't. Or rather,  their photographer's pride don't allow them to.

Yes I can understand from their perspective. After all, photographers are also artists themselves. It makes full sense for any self/craft respecting artist to want to be responsible for the work they present to the world. After all, it’s their reputation at stake here.




But at the same time, we can’t neglect the cosplayer's perspective.

Cosplayers cosplays because they like the series and want to pay tribute to their fandom (well at least most of them). A lot of effort is spent on researching, sewing and crafting. It’s a crazy process. And to finally wear the whole ensemble out for the event or photo shoot they have been dreaming of for the longest time really means a lot to Cosplayers.

Exaggerating as it sounds, but yes, we cosplayers do have dreams and yearns. Everyone has that one dream costume we've always wanted to do since young and it probably the reason we started cosplay. We have that dream group  we worked hard to pull together. And we have that dream photoshoot we spent countless hours scouting and preparing.

It’s a long and crazy journey. And most of us (Cosplayers) don’t mind the relentless work and sweat because we know, it’s worth it. We push ourselves to the limit for the love of the fandom, for the love of the craft and for the growth a new challenge gives.

And the photographers are the perfect closure to all these hard work and dreams. They help create the end product that willjustify all the money and sweat toiled in. The photos proof of the project's existence.

Try telling someone you cosplayed so and so characters and their immediate reaction would be to request for pictures. Get what I mean?

If you don't have a decent photo of the costume, its hard to justify anything to anyone. Not even yourself! So imagine how big a frustration/disappointment it is when all these hardwork pushes to a climax and you had to wait forever to see the end product. It’s worse then waiting for the next episode of anime to come out because you don’t know when you will get it!

As for the need of high res. Well, we all live in the age of 1024 x 780 screen and vivid LCDs. So why not? High res also allows better print results. A good example would be the recent call for cosplay photos contribution by Danny Choo for the new book; OTACOOL 2. High res is needed and if you don't have any, high chance your space in the book will be filled up by someone else.   




I’m ending my entry here. While thinking up this whole entry I’ve actually gathered more than 5 items but I reckon I’ll just keep this entry simple. But I intend to do up another similar article which speaks from the Photographer’s POV so… keep a look out for them!

As per usual, discussion entries on this blog are meant to be entertaining and reflective. Minimal maliciousness. Take it with a pinch of salt and put down that cleaver you have on your hand now.

Here’s a pic to remind you how “kawaii” I am. Don’t kill me. 



P1040287 copy


Cosplayer A said…
Most of your points are valid.

What irks me the most of photographers carry a sense of pride about their work but the bigass irony drops down on SOME OF THEM* when they actually take crappy photos and posts them without taking a decent process of filtering/screening them.

Eyes half-opened, overly questioning cosplayers for their reason for the request to get them to take off the posted images, etc.

In summary, they take pride in taking crappy photos. period.

They lose, we lose. everyone looks bad. LOL!

*Please read carefully, I respect ALL photographer's pride on their own work. and only stating SOME's 'malpractice'. Do not flame without reading my comment carefully.
Xiaobai said…
Well said, Kaika! I think I'm actually one of the luckier ones that never got into any bad run-ins with hentai jiji photogs or what (maybe cause I always cos guys, LOL). So the only point that I can really feel for is the 'Give me my high res photossss!' part. XD;;

That said, I'm more annoyed by some photographers (can they even be called photographers? More like people-who-own-a-camera) that do not take into consideration of how to take a decent photo of a cosplayer, be it during event or a photoshoot. Sure, they have a dslr, but so what? Without practise and research into photography techniques and equipment, they might as well use a compact camera.

(I'm saying this because I'm so frustrated that they have so much better equipment than me but they are not making full use of it, while here I am trying to make the best out of my compact camera) >_>

p.s: don't kill me! >_<
songster69 said…
OMG! Sexay Luneth...
OMG! Sailormoon shoot, my first cosplay shoot...
ShugoChara said…
well i not a cosplayer but i totally agree with u
all of ur points r so well said
Cosplayer A: Thanks for sharing your pov!

XiaoBai: Ahhaa! I knowww why waste the money if you're not going to dedicate time for the hobby right? I survive on compace too...sigh.

Songster: Hahaha yes! Its sailormoon! Maybe I should post that pic of you and maria xD Its epic funny too xD

ShugoChara: Thanks for commenting !!
Hexlord said…
Whoa, I wanted to write something sibeh serious but I look at your OOC/'unglam' photos I was like going... lolz????

Out of the 5 points, the toughest to deal with would be point 4. I guess at the end of the shoot, as long as both sides are able to get the shots that they wanted = win/win situation?

To me a good photoshoot would be one that have people sharing ideas and then winging it when things don't proceed so well, haha. Well, that's all I have to say for now because I just came back from a Hetalia shoot and feeling tired orz...

PS. How come Eugin's featured sial... haha
Soh said…
Top irk regarding photographers at events: Not asking permission to take photos.

Think your typical wall of photographers.

Basically this complain runs the gamut from the random person slyly trying to take your photo from a distance away because they don't want to ask you, to the people who just rush in and start snapping when you're posing for another person. Personally, I hate hate hate HATE wall of photographers. Usually I stop for a photo only because someone is nice enough to ask me. I'm not going to stand there immobile for 5 minutes because a never-ending bunch of photographers keep coming up and snapping without even asking. But it's so typical Singaporean event-going crowd behaviour now. I'm still "bitchy" enough to just bow out and say sorry (why in the world should I apologise anyway?) and stalk off after my legs feel like they're running out of oxygen, but think of all those pitiful cosplayers who feel too nice and obligated to pose for twenty minutes on end! GRR.
Anonymous said…
I'm also a cosplayer, and I experienced # 3. The photographer approached me and took photos of me with my usual poses, then suddenly he asked me to pose differently, more fanservice-y. I knew that I didn't want to do it, but I'm not very good at refusing people and blatantly saying NO. Good thing my friend was there. Whew.

But I also agree with number 4. It's difficult because sometimes, the cosplayer and the photgrapher interprets the anime or the characters differently. The photographer may focus on one aspect of the character (like for instance, Suzumiya Haruhi's 'bossy' attitude, and that frown on her face) but the cosplayer may want to highlight something else (like Haruhi's happy, playful nature) sometimes you try to tell the photographer, but you end up debating like, "No no, she's like this.. it's done this way.. this is better.."

Thank you for this blogpost. I do hope that photogs/ people taking snapshots at cons (they're also rapidly increasing in numbers!) would never forget the keyword: RESPECT.
Lenne said…

..and omg i haven't edited the slam dunk photos yet OTL i'm sorreh ;A;
Agreed. As Xiaobai states, most "photographers" are really just people with cameras who just don't any better.

When I was traveling through America photographing cosplayers for a book project, I witness many, many times the same infractions mention. I wanted to hit them on the head and educate them on how to do this the right way - not just running around shooting off thousands of frames of images. *sigh*

By the way, cospalyers, if you don't feel comfortable or get a bad feeling in your stomach about a situation - just walk away. I think sometimes cosplayers are too nice and need to be able to say "no".

Anyways, awesome blog !
Kazeki said…
omg is that Togusa? SLAM DUNK SHOOT?!
Hexlord: hehehee

Soh: *Pats* Well, photographers wall can be scary *nods head*. I usually just take it as a compliment on my cosplay, the photographers wouldn't wanna take your pics if you're not good right ^_~? That said, you're right to walk off when you're too tired xD

Annoymous: Thanks for reading and commenting too=)

Lenne: LOL! YESHHHUu my picsssssss

Cosplay In America: Wow, book project ^_^ . Thanks for commenting

Kazeki: Yes. IT IS xD
Jaradcel said…
I'm sorry all I want to say is

reiko said…
Ahhh good points there~ esp the last one about not being able to justify our works without the photos ><

About your point regarding OOC sexy poses... I have to share that in JP it happens quite a bit because it is viewed as fan service which couldn't be provided for by the official creators (that's why we have ero/BL doujins /fan works). Some cosplayers walk into this grey area probably because they believe that cosplay is after all a fan's creation for more fans out there.

As a cosplayer who believes strongly in staying true to the original character concept, I find it hard to regard the above-mentioned as "cosplay". I would rather call it modelling-in-costumes, but then again everyone has their own definitions of the hobby....

I'm starting to feel confused and I think what I'm saying may confuse people too so I shall stop here lol.

On the "posing" topic, it kind of reminded me of this little predicament I faced at AFA while cosplaying Meiko. Since it was a public event, I was prepared to entertain photos for people who don't know shit about my character. I'm fine with people coming up to ask for photos together, but it angers me a lot when they approach you and get physical with you WITHOUT ASKING. A few guys tried to put their arms around my waist without asking, which I quickly retorted by saying "no contact/touching" =_=

Also, when entertaining non-cosplayers for photos together, I don't really think up many poses because they just want one shot for each anyway. I got quite mad when I overheard one guy complaining to his friends (after checking his photo) "Why are her poses all the same?"... It makes me sick to think what the hell they think cosplay/cosplayers are. I never knew we were required to provide so much entertainment and service for them D<

Anyway, back to the touching subject, I guess cosplayers will oblige more willingly if one asked in advance (eg. "Can I hug you?" etc.) instead of just pouncing on them =_= Personal space, yo.
Cosplaying God said…
Good post, lots of those in here though. Please post an entry on how to deal with these creatures.
xrystal said…
i'm so amused by the way you wrote this and all the images posted LOL

anyway back to serious talk.

at events where everything is public, basically i'm mentally prepared for whatever might happened or captured/posted so i learnt to close one eye after event.

for #4, i normally have pre-shoot talks with the photograph to sort through mutual agreements. So in short, if i find it impossible to discuss further, the collab is off before the actual shoot =x

btw darling, yeah ur disc set is with me. i'll sms u later, mebe meet u on wed or thurs at amk?
Point #1 is usually committed by new photographers who don't filter their images when they post. Being a photographer myself, I take hundreds of images for a single event but of course I still need to pick out the good ones for touch-up and post.

Point #2 is basic courtesy for photographers to ask first before snapping. Something we rarely during crowded events.(people in this category are those that join Wall of PhotoG.

Point #3 just shouldn't be done at all. Photographers shouldn't be asking how a cosplayer should pose.

Point #4 and #5 applies for photoshoots no? Cosplay photography is like Alchemy. There has to be equal exchange~

Also I have to add on that event photography and photoshoots are 2 different things. As a photographer myself, for event shots, it's usually kept simple e.g full body shot. For photoshoots then you can go for those nice nice angles cause you can take your time.
Jardecel: HEHHEEHE

Reiko: OMG! I didn't know people at AFA were being such assholes! Man, you were too sexy that day. Next time you do sexy characters lemme noe. I be your guard! Listenign to your story made me angry too!

Cosplaying God: Hahaha maybe in the future? But I don't really have very good solutions either =\

Xrys: What you did for #4 is good. Just that some times in the pre-shoot 'talks' thigns are casually agreed but not abided during the shoots. But then again I don't have pre shoots talk X_X

「ナイフさん」: Thanks for commenting. Nice to hear from a photographer pov.
noodles said…
I am one of those irritating person who contribute to the wall as I am very shy at approaching people to take photographs. Yes, I know it's not an excuse. >_<

I do sympathise with the cosplayers with unglam photos. Some of the photographers post bad awful photo all over the place. This is something that I feel extremely irritated with.
Nevar said…
I'm late but.

As a cosplayer-turned-photographer, I understand all that was mentioned. But with regards to the raw/high res images I do have something to say.

Especially with the recent Otacool drama:

Copyright issues.

I do understand that cosplayers put in a lot of efforts in costumes and preparations and stuffs (I was a cosplayer remember?), but still, photographers are the rightful owners to the photographs. Please kindly understand?

It especially irks that there are cosplayers who take it for granted and plastered their URL/watermark/logo onto the photographs. Naturally photographers would want to start protecting their own copyrights.

Allowing cosplayers to edit the photographs at the end of the day is already a huge compromise. I've seen my photographs being edited to strange tones and such that I've forbid further editing done to photographs I've given if they're going to change the nature of the photos.
Itismoi said…
Hi, I'm late too.

I kind of sharing the same sentiments with Nevar (above) when cosplayers "edited the photos to some strange tones." or, in additional, adds some special effects to the photos.

Usually,i suppose it is the consequence of a photo that is lacking, not meeting to the need of the cosplayer. Only bad photos need to be edited.

The "strange tone" is because it is photoshopped, instead of being made by a photographic developing process such as intentionally using films with color temperature, expired film, paper and chemical toning processing. Digitally, those cant be done though but the photo can be shoot in different season or time of the day where the color of the light is different. Moreover, color effects such as glowing aura, could be achieved by using artificial lighting.

All in all, what kind of mood the cosplayers have in their mind eyes, could be achieved one way or another as long as the both the cosplayers and photographer worked together.

Remember the photographer is an artist who is sensitive to all this kind of things like (toning be only one of them). The cosplay is an artist who is sensitive to fabric and portrayal if i may say that.

If you want a burning sword, light it using fire.

The process is more fun and rewarding this way.
Anonymous said…
Hello xD. Met you at SOY'b and found this interesting.

Well, maybe i'm a VERY new "cosplayer". Haven't met any like this. My photographer will go "It's your shoot, you decide the post, you're the cosplayer after all, and the photos are going to be yours anyway." That satisfy me >.<

Secondly, YES i wait for i don't know how many weeks for my pictures to be passed to me. And it's a torture. Cause i never understood where it went >;O! And even after chasing for it for so long. I still don't have it.

But overall, i guess not ALL photographers are like that. Just that minor amount (:

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