So, I've been scratching my head for a couple of days now, trying to figure out what my latest DA journal was going to be about. I definitely wanted to do a new one as my last is from June 30th! My last poll showed far and away that y'all wanted me to talk about Cosplay/Cosplay Photography. Problem is, I was not quite sure what to talk about. Luckily, my roommate (@ realevilgenius on Twitter) gave me the basis for the idea I've now come up with. I've done a few journals now covering differing areas of the "Cosplay/Cosplay Photography" topic (I'll link them below):
A More Serious Note before Massive Otakon UpdateSo this is a note that's going to take a more serious (and bitchy?) tone. The whole "Otakon-in-Review" journal will be full of my normal terrible wit and lame attempts at humor as I recall my Otakon, but I guess I wanted to make a journal for some of the undercurrent of what's been going on. Sort of a bit of some of my annoyances, and observations as of late. If that's not your cup of tea, cool beans by me, you can skip this entry and wait until the next one. Or, if you want to gripe/observe along with me, please, seriously, be my guest.
Before any of this begins, please note that I will be going through my shoots by the days that I shot them. We're part of the way through Friday now, so hang in there! If you want to check out stuff, I have a gallery up here titled "Otakon 2011", I also have previews up on my facebook page: http://facebook.com/mindfallmedia
If you worked with me, you will be receiving a link to a MobileMe gallery that will have edited, full sized pictures available for
This shit has got to stop (please read)Okay. This is going to be a brief vent before I continue photo editing. Honestly, I have no IDEA whether or not me saying it will change anything. But if I can wake one person up, or get the word spread further out there, then GOOD.And, most relevantly:
My next post is going to be how f'ing incredible AnimeUSA was. I cannot even begin to describe it. I had more fun there than at Otakon. But, despite the massive amounts of amazing, I noticed one very disturbing trend. There are fucking weirdos and creeps that don't fucking listen to cosplayers. Allow me to further explain as that is kind of an open-ended statement that I will most likely amend once I think of better wording.
Multiple times, throughout the weekend, I was either participating in photoshoots/opportunities, taking some shots myself, or being a bag carrier. And at multiple times, there were fucking weirdos that would come up and bother/harass the cosplayer/s. From insisting on poses that the cosplayer clearly stated they were uncomfortable with,
So...You Want To Be A (cosplay) Photographer?Ladies and Gentlemen, due to an overwhelming response of "Yes" on one of my latest polls (I think it was something like 35-3 in favor), I'm going to write this journal about my experiences when it comes to photography, and, in all honesty, a majority of it will be aimed at cosplay photography given that that is what I have done the most of since I decided to get a bit more serious about photography. I also feel like it is very important to say that I'm not at all, in any way, saying that this is the "right" way of doing things. What I write about in this journal, and what I say are my own opinions, formed from 4 years and multiple conventions/outside shoots worth of experience. You all are more than welcome to agree or disagree with me, and I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section, as well as ask me any questions you might have (PLEASE keep it respectful, folks).
Also, I'm warning ya now, this is going to be a long journal. So brace yourselves! (You might
And, I'll be honest, this particular journal comes from a number of ideas and subjects. I read an amazing article about posting images online, and I WILL be linking that here shortly. I also read about a various number of things coming out of NYCC. I'm going to address different subjects as I can, so stick with me! I will be referring to various outside sources, they will be credited, and l will be linking to them!
Protecting One's Work Online:
This is a huge one for me, honestly. When it comes to my photography in general, not just my cosplay photography, I'm very very guarded. I watermark everything I post, I put information in the file data via Lightroom, and I try to be very very vigilant when it comes to that sort of thing.
The reason for this is simple, I've had my work taken and used before. Some people have just taken it, either edited out my watermark, or just slapped theirs on top of it, and claimed it as their own. I've also had people alter my images (which makes me cringe to no end, no photographer wants that to happen without their explicit permission). I've also had people attempt to profit off of my images as well.
It can be a massive headache. There is a reason I try to limit the amount of work I put out these days. Once upon a time, I used to post a majority of my shots on the internet, but that is no longer the case (Partially because I'm far more selective about what I want online these days, but also because it limits the work I have to do in terms of reverse Googling) . I have a general C&D ('Cease and Desist' if anyone is unfamiliar with the abbreviation) ready to go at all times. For me, personally, it's about being smart with when and where I post things.
I spoke with one of my closest friends and fellow photog, SoulFirePhotography, and she had this to say about protecting one's images when posting online:
~ Post photos online at about 75 pixels per inch. (High enough quality to appreciate, but low enough to make doing anything with them difficult.)
~ Put both a watermark and a discrete watermark. (along an edge or in a piece of the photo that people wouldn't notice to delete.)
~ Put in the copyright information into the file data itself.
~ Regularly reverse-search your work on Google. (only do it for your favorite or most popular pieces unless you have tons of time on your hands!)
To wrap up this segment, I'm going to link the article I referenced earlier in this post. Sarah Ann Loreth is the author (and an amazing photographer), and her website has some really great articles. When it comes to the topic at hand, I'm going to close out by linking you to her article that really takes everything I just typed about and elaborates very well on it!: sarahannloreth.wordpress.com/2…
Protecting One's Self Legally:
While I haven't gotten many questions personally about this topic in a few months, this is a question/topic I see pop up ALL THE TIME on DA, on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And not just for cosplay either. As a photographer, or, as a cosplayer, when a photo is taken, what rights does each party have? Honestly, I could go into a lengthy spiel about both sides of the fence on this, but BGZ Studios posted an excellent article 14 months back that covers a lot of this more succinctly than I feel that I can:
I want to add in something about this from a legal perspective, brought up to me by Flying-Fox during a conversation: READ EVERYTHING before you sign it. Don't short change yourself by simply signing a piece of paper (or a digital app, depending). She also mentions the excellent point of finding out, before paying for/participating in a shoot, if a release form needs to be signed.
I will say that talking with a photographer and/or cosplayer (depending on who you are) ahead of time is the easiest way to solve most disputes that will arise. You can also hammer out details of when/where the shoot will take place. I know that when I plan shoots, conversation before hand is a must for me!
Protecting One's Self Physically:
This, to me, is one of the biggest topics, and it warrants discussion. On both Twitter and Facebook this weekend, I have seen repeated accounts of groping (or other physical abuse) and/or verbal abuse by multiple cosplayers. Some of whom I know very well, some of whom are big names in the community. It was a theme. And, as conventions/the convention scene get bigger, this seems to be a very common topic of discussion.
Let's go right here and say this: I do not, in anyway, support harassment or abuse of any form. I find it to be disgusting, and if it happens in front of me/during a photoshoot of mine, you're damn right I'm going to physically interpose myself. I have before, and I will gladly do so again in an instant. No one should feel scared for their physical well being because some creep or weirdo has decided they need to make their presence known. I won't tolerate it.
I also feel that we, as a community, should try and come together on, at least, this. Drama is a thing that this community can't help but indulge itself in. We all know this. But there are certain things we can do to change perceptions, and this is one of them.
That being said, while I really want to work towards an ideal that includes a scene free of harassment, in the interim, here's a list of advice I've gathered or experienced when it comes to protecting yourself both at a convention, and during private photoshoots (If you feel I've left something out, please feel free to include it in the comments below!):
~ ALWAYS bring someone with you to a photoshoot. (For me, I love meeting new people, so anyone who works with me is encouraged to bring someone along, be it a handler, another cosplayer, etc, particularly if you've never worked with me before.)
~ Let someone know where you're at/how long you'll be while shooting! (Ideally, you've brought someone along. Still, it's a good idea to let your friends [that aren't with you] know where you are shooting, location wise, and when the shoot starts and ends.)
minniemoon adds in the following!:
~ Do NOT be afraid to report someone for inappropriate/lewd behavior. (Take a picture if you can, report the person to officials.)
~ Don't be afraid to get loud if someone acts inappropriately towards you. (This lets others near you know what's going on, and hopefully stops the individual from further harassment.)
Flying-Fox had this to say!:
~ ALWAYS bring your phone with you! (And make sure it's fully charged!)
~ Don't follow someone you don't know if you're by yourself! ("If a photog I don't know comes up to me in a con setting, surrounded by people, and asks for some photos, fine and dandy. However, I'm not going to a remote or offsite location if it's just the two of us.")
~ If you think your costume is going to fall apart for any reason, bring a coverup.
~ If you have to walk outside the con area (particularly if your costume is sexy/revealing), bring a coverup as well.
Alrighty folks, so this wraps up this journal. I hope it's been informative! Obviously, if you have any questions or want to add in, feel free to comment!
...see you space cowboys...