So You Want to Hire a Photographer

Advice Article Archives Cosplay
So You Want to Hire a Photographer

Written by Chocozumo

The hot glue has settled, the seams are pristine, and the paint has finally dried. Congratulations, you finished your cosplay! With the next big convention coming up, you’re expecting photos to be taken of your hard work. Unfortunately, the reality is that you can’t guarantee you’ll receive any of those pictures back. Some people take photos for their own memories, while others forget to exchange information. This is where hiring a photographer comes in!

A common question that arises around the topic is: “Why would you ever want to hire a photographer? My cellphone takes great photos!” In a time where smartphone cameras rival that of professional gear, that’s an entirely reasonable thought. However, smartphones pictures taken by you or a friend may lack what a photographer could offer: style, quality, and an experience!

SSSStylish!

In the same way an artist has a distinct drawing style, so does the shooting style of a photographer. One photographer may enjoy light-airy photos, while another may utilize dark-moody aesthetics, while another still will flaunt vibrant colors in their works! Not only is the shooting style considered, but much of work may also be done in post-editing, which can drastically affect the outcome of the photo. With each photographer comes a palette of how they enjoy shooting their work; choosing one that compliments your costume will be of great benefit to you both. Think of hiring a photographer as one would commissioning an art piece of themselves: you are the subject, and the photographer is the artist! How would you like to be drawn?

[Comparison between photos taken with and without flashes. What a style difference! Cosplayer: @michikoshadowcat]

Quality Over Quantity

Quality is a feature that can’t be ignored when it comes to a well-taken photo. Simply put, a designated camera, the most commonly denoted as a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex), has vastly more quality output that a smartphone, a feature that is often unnoticed when presented on a small 5’ screen. Just to put it in perspective: the top-of-the-line Samsung S10 boasts a picture quality of 12 Megapixels, Megapixels being the measure of millions of pixels in a photo taken. Although incredible for a smartphone, it also costs just short of a grand at $900. Meanwhile a mid-range DSLR, for this example a Nikon D5600, boasts 24 Megapixels. Double the pixels for nearly half the cost at $468!

The end result is a photo that can truly showcase your work! Not just for yourself, but for the whole community to see!

Experience, Level Up Your Exposure!

Last and certainly not least, a photographer should be able to offer an experience. In my past, I’ve developed a deep-seated hatred for pre-posed Sears family photo sessions (no offense intended to employed Sears photographers), which led me to swear I wouldn’t subject a client to such a boring fate. For theirs and your time, a photo shoot should be a fun and comfortable experience for all parties involved, and the end result is photos of you at your best!

A photo shoot is conducted as such: a photographer will find a location on site that best compliments either their style or your costume. After your designated time together shooting has passed, you’ll receive the photos after the convention when the photographer gets to edit them!

[Even cosplayers can be photographers!]


Payment

The dreaded ‘P’ word. . . and no it’s not paroemiographer, although as one once said, “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”. Many photographers will require payment for their services, especially if you ask them for their time. This is not a guide to a recommended price range to look for, but rather how to go about finding their rates, and a list of considerations when you receive a quote!

For cosplay photographers, it’s common to announce what conventions they will be going to either weeks to even months before the event. With those announcements, some will include their rates in their advertising – easy for you! Others will ask you to inquire them via e-mail or direct messages in order to figure out what works out best for you! On the case of direct messaging: don’t be afraid, they advertise for a reason! Some photographers may charge differently based on the number of photos you’d like, the number of people in your group, and for some, the addition of special effects edited in.

When a photographer’s price is settled on, you could be surprised at the variety of prices between other photographers. It’s important to consider some of the following:

Camera equipment isn’t cheap! Common higher-end cameras start at $1500, with each individual lens costing almost as much, and sometimes more than the camera itself!
Taking photos is only half the battle, and editing is the other half! While a cosplayer’s shift ends once the outfit comes off, the job only starts for the photographer, who has to sift through and edit photos from each of their photo shoots!

Photographing cosplays can be a job for some, and come to conventions with the intention to make a profit. Prices are factored through the research of a character, travel and badge costs for the convention, conducting the photo shoot, and editing the photos.

One Final Secret Tip!

When choosing a photographer, keep in mind that what an artist posts on their page is usually their best work. Instagram has a great feature that lets you see a photographer’s work not shared on their account. By checking the “tagged-in” of a photographer (or any artist!), you can view what other clients have had taken. This allows you to form a more realistic expectation of the type of photos you can expect to receive, as well as make an informed decision on who to hire.

[Let the red circle guide you to the tagged-in section of any profile!]

Creating a cosplay can be a pain, but by the time the EVA foam dust settles, it’s worth knowing it was the means to the end of an incredible end product that’s totally worth getting photos of. If you decide to hire a photographer, know that it will be their responsibility to capture you in your best work!

Thos article was written by our Staff Photographer, Chocozumo!

Darth Mexican
Darth Mexican has been a geek since he first saw a lightsaber ignite. He has strong feelings on subbed anime. He strives to represent the stories of the common man and woman regardless of skin tone, age, sexual preference, or nationality. With every article he strives to bring representation to the voiceless. Unless he finds out they like dubbed anime.

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