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August 8, 2011
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So 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: 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 you to download. When the final edits are complete, I will also put all of the Otakon pictures into one gallery, so they can be viewed all at once versus picking through a DA or Facebook page. No worries!

Now then! To the observations and what not!

To begin, some notes on photography. To be honest (and at 4:30am, you're gonna get me being brutally honest because I have no filter), I went to Otakon with a serious something to prove. There is kind of an ongoing debate in some circles over whether or not cosplay photographers should be charging. Overall, I really don't care one way or the other. I, personally, like compensation in non-traditional format. I don't view it as reasonable that a cosplayer pay me money to take pictures of them. If they want to buy me food, or drinks, or a subscription to DA or something, then great! Awesome!

But I cannot justify placing a dollar amount per hour or half hour to my photoshoots. It's not like my equipment costs me the same way a cosplayer's costume does EVERY TIME. And, on top of that, beyond giving the cosplayer their photos, and using them in certain places, it's not like I can DO anything with that image. It's a copyrighted character from a copyrighted show. So, it's actually a very rare instances can I actually sell my work to any place. On top of that, while cosplay does look very cool, it's not all that useful, beyond a few of my absolute BEST shots, in a portfolio. It's not yet taken all that seriously by those photographers that don't do it. I speak from personal experience because I applied to multiple photo studios and videographers in my area when I got back from school a year ago.

Now that you've heard my long rambling, maybe it's time I introduce WHY I even got on this topic on this first place. Now, take this with a grain of salt that anything said on cosplay.com should not be taken seriously. At least, I don't take it seriously. That being said, a few threads popped up on there with this debate occurring. And one of the things that people charging what I view as rather expensive fees seemed to imply or come right out and say was that their work was "unique" and "special", and that cosplayers could "settle for free photography that is mediocre", or pay them for something "worth their time". I gotta be honest, I take serious offense to that, and wonder why these jackasses even bother with cosplay photography at all. For me, IT'S ALL ABOUT RESPECT. I don't care if you charge or you don't charge, in this hobby/profession/whatever, your service is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. But I also feel that regardless of where you stand on the issue, you don't have the right to trash someone else to promote yourself. So yeah, I went to Otakon, produced some of my best work ever FOR FREE, and walked away being able to dust my shoulders off.

Like I said previously, I don't mind photogs who charge money. Most of my good friends in this hobby do just that. I guess it's more of a respect thing? I dunno. 'Nuff said I guess, though I'd love to hear comments.

Oh, and another thing. When it comes to photography and conventions, people need to learn some fucking etiquette. Now, obviously, there's the whole PLEASE ASK MYSELF AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE COSPLAYER FOR PHOTOS DURING A SHOOT. Seriously, people, it's PRETTY easy to tell when we're doing more than taking a couple of shots. And I'm a really nice guy, I like to think. I will absolutely let you take some photos, provided the cosplayer acquiesces. But just running up to take pictures without a fucking word is just rude. The cosplayer takes all this time and puts all this effort into making a costume, getting into the right makeup, and getting into character, it would be nice if they could present their best side for a photo, not just some random sniper shot. Seriously. Plus, I get REALLY sick of rude assholes ruining a shot because they choose to ignore my presence. I'm not a small person, it's very hard to miss me.

Another thing that comes to my mind, because this happened to me MULTIPLE times at Otakon. If I'm not working with you, and/or don't know you, then Fuck Off when it comes to telling me about a room, or its lighting, or how to operate my equipment. IT'S MY EQUIPMENT. I PROMISE THAT I KNOW HOW TO USE IT. OR, I CAN FIGURE IT OUT. Seriously. It's one thing if I'm working with a fellow photog or cosplayer, and they're telling me what we're going for/what will look best. I do it all the time. But at Otakon, I had random schmucks come up to me while I'm working with a cosplayer/s and proceed to tell me what would best work for a shot. HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU POSSIBLY KNOW WHAT I'M LOOKING TO DO WITH MY SHOT? AT ALL?! I don't care if you work for a photo studio (one particular jackass), or whatever, I don't want your advice. At all. You don't see me going around telling other people what to shoot. Even with people I know, I usually wait until I'm asked before giving input. UGH. I apologize for the profanity, but seriously, things like that make me go :( face.

I cooooould do all the typical griping about how I don't really attend convention functions anymore unless I'm there to support friends (and even then, you won't see me anywhere near a masquerade most times). I prefer hanging out with people, photo shoots and drinking. I could bitch about how annoying the younger generation that's starting to attend is, but honestly, most of my venting is done, and all that other typical whining and crying is booooooring.

SO, ladies and gents. I want to hear YOUR thoughts. I want to know what YOU think. Am I being a whiny little bitch? Have you had experiences similar to mine? Care to share? LET'S DISCUSS!!!!


As always, until next time:

...see you space cowboys...

~Corey
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:iconr-legend:
R-Legend Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
As far as random people interrupting photoshoots, I don't mind as long as they make it quick. "One shot and gone" usually doesn't ruin what I have planned. As long as they don't try to talk my ear off or distract me for a long period of time. And I'm not opposed random sniper shots, my only condition is I BETTER be able to see it afterward in person or on the Internet, because I like to see how I look from all angles. Will the random pic get any more special attention than the photoshoot pics? Probably not, unless its exceptionally good.

Charging or no charging makes no difference to me. It's all about who's available when I'm available. Some people I know charge because they're in school/need the money/do it for a living/whatever. That's understandable. Others don't charge because do it for fun or simply because they can. That's fine too. For me, it's all about the end result, and I alone am the judge, jury, and executioner of what works and what doesn't.
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:icondust-bunny:
dust-bunny Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Personally I spend a lot of time and effort on my costumes and adding an extra $30 on top of my costs to get a great set of photos I can keep, use on my website, have published in magazines or news articles or whatever is worth it to me.

I get free photos all the time that get posted to facebook and twitter and whatever but they aren't always the best quality and half the time I look like derp (for whatever reason), and if it takes $30 insurance that my photos will turn out useable and pleasing then that's a $30 that I am willing to invest.

I know a lot of people feel differently, but personally I will never think less of a photographer that asks a reasonable amount for a photoshoot. Heck beauty shots in a studio cost almost $200 an hour.... at least $30 is affordable.
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:iconmindfall:
MindFall Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
I agree. And I think that if you have a photographer/s who's charging $30 for work that you know is going to be great, then you should absolutely go with that. Honestly, I'm planning on doing some actual cosplay in the near future, and I know that I'm more than willing to invest in paid work if it means getting work that I will like.

Personally, when it comes to my work, as I said in my original entry, I just cannot justify charging. I've come a loooooong way since my photography beginnings in 2007-2008, but I know there's so much more I have to learn, haha. I think the other thing that keeps me from asking for money is that, honestly, to me, this is a hobby. I like to take it somewhat seriously and produce the best work I possibly can, but at the end of the day, this is not what pays the bills (though, admittedly, it would be cool if it did).

Again, I've got nothing against photographers who charge. I know tons of cosplay photogs who I would gladly pay to take photos, for me it boils down to respect. There is so much talent out there from both the cosplayers and the cosplay photographers, and I just feel that if someone feels the need to belittle the rest of the field in order to get noticed, then, in my book, that is highly uncool.
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:iconwashuuotaku:
WashuuOtaku Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
As one of those people that sometimes snipes the shot, I'm sorry! I probably did do that to you, though I'm typically good at asking and/or waiting... unless your Eurobeat King.

As for giving advice on how to use your equipment... NEVER!!!

As for paying for services rendered, it's a free market and I'm fine with others charging for there time. I don't do it simply because I treat photography as a hobby which I'm always learning from and don't sell myself as an amazing photographer or anything. Also, I rarely ever do any post-production work, so my pictures being "as is" typically isn't worth charging money over. ^^;
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:iconmindfall:
MindFall Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
lol, I most markedly am not EBK. As for sniping shots, don't be sorry, just ask the cosplayer for permission in the future, haha. This way, you're guaranteed to get a good pose and someone looking right where you want them to.
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:iconskwinkography:
skwinkography Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
WHUPS. Apparently I'm so opinionated I made a journal to respond since this would've been a forever comment, and that's just rude.

On people who snipe shots or interrupt private shoots, I feel kinda ambivalent about them. I use a trigger flash, so I never really feel that people are "stealing" my lighting or shot, and every time someone who has done this that I remember had a point-and-shoot. It might be over assumptuous of me, but I usually assume this is just a casual con goer, and they just want a picture that they'll keep locally on their computer and it won't go anywhere else. They aren't asking to use my camera, and I don't think they'll end up with the same shot as me.

Whenever this happens I always put down my camera and stop to let this person know that yes, you've interrupted something I'm doing with this cosplayer. At the same time, I still smile and ask if I can help them (if they didn't ask for a picture first) and I always tell them they may take a picture if the cosplayer is okay with it. I'm not going to move from my spot, so they're not going to get my shot, so I'm not losing anything. If the cosplayer doesn't mind this either, I really could care less.

I only wish that if people were uncomfortable with this, they say no. Everyone's allowed. :T
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:iconmindfall:
MindFall Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
lol, I responded to your journal and stuffffffffff. But I'm pretty sure you already saw that ;)

Honestly, I'm not so upset because I think people are going to "steal my shot". That doesn't concern me nearly as much, mainly because I'm fairly confident in my end product, and thus, no worries :D I think it more so concerns me about sniping, or just walking up and snapping away because it can break up the flow of a photoshoot if you have to wait for two or three people who didn't ask to sit there and grab pics until they're "satisfied". Plus, as someone said early in one of the responses, it's respectful to ask the cosplayer and allow them to compose themselves so they can present their best side.

But yar, it looks like we are very much on the same page here, lol.
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:iconkamokuu:
Kamokuu Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011
Well in regards to the whole charging for photos and such, I guess people could justify charging if it were actually costing them something more than their time, given the fact that, if they're going to cosplay conventions not cosplaying and bringing all the equipment to take pictures with, chances are, they're there to photograph cosplayers because they too enjoy it, otherwise they'd figure out something else to do with their time, therefore, paying a photographer at a convention thats going there anyways for a digital image (not an actual print mind you) is a bit silly. Its their choice to be there, they're either there for fun, or there to try and capitalize on the whole deal, but, unless you're SO in demand that you're going to conventions just based on the number of requests that are being made by NON-friends, than yes, I suppose you could charge a fee. Another problem with paying a photographer (as well as a photographer whose basically mass producing cosplay pictures at cons for profit and NOT enjoyment) is, they take your pictures, leave, and you risk not getting the pictures, not getting good pictures, or getting okay, but, extremely generic pictures.

As for the interrupting shoots and stuff...I can not express in words how much I absolutely HATE walk-bys. I HATE HATE HATE people who just snap a random ass picture of me without 1) my consent or 2) giving me time to look presentable. I've had people just snap pictures of me while i'm eating, THATS gonna look really nice when it inevitably shows up online.
I also agree with your anger about people telling you how to do things. I cant tell you how mad it makes me when I get the random ass basement dwellers coming up to me trying to debate with me a part of my costume, or a pose, or stance, or prop or concept that they dont agree with. I do not CARE what your opinion of TP verses OoT or a link to the past is. I also do not care if you think my buster sword isn't the exact right height, or if you believe that Cloud would never leave the house wearing white socks. I dont need you to tell me how Link uses a bomb, I understand the concept of how he uses it, but get this, ITS NOT A REAL BOMB, AND ITS NEVER GOING TO BE NO MATTER HOW YOU "USE" IT! SO GROW THE HELL UP!
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:iconmindfall:
MindFall Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
lol, looks like someone has had more than a few experiences with idiotic fanboys. I find the biggest thing to remember when dealing with any "fan" at a convention is that you have to remember, for as many cool people as there are going to convention, you also have tons of people drawn there by the event/spectacle. People that, in everyday situations, are socially awkward/uncomfortable. I suspect that is why you encounter what you do when you do, but I do not know for sure, haha.

As for everything else, you're spot on. I could go on and on, but my thoughts have been pretty well established, I think, both in my journal, as well as my responses to those who replied in this journal ;) It is important to have a wide spread network of people that you work with, but there's tons of factors that come into it that we could debate for hours and hours ;)
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:iconkamokuu:
Kamokuu Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2011
Haha, I know, I try to be understanding about the socially awkward thing when i'm at conventions, I mean, a large percentage of people attending are the types that Otakon is one of the few times they leave the house for longer than a few hours during the course of a year but some people I could just slap senseless, like the jerks that think its funny to grab my props up and end up breaking them, or the trolls that just waste your time trying to get you to argue with them about non-sense. Grrr. May need a few more anger management courses after this past Otakon. XD

Indeed, theres many levels to the argument of "to charge, or not to charge!" but in the end its entirely up to the individual.
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