Have you ever run into this problem? You make an amazing cosplay, go to a convention, and get asked for a ton of photos. Then all those photos disappear and you can never find all those pictures of your costume. Unfortunately, if you don’t make a plan of action ahead of time, there’s only a small chance you’ll find photos of yourself after the convention.
The best way to get good photos of your cosplay is to schedule a photoshoot with a cosplay photographer. You’re also more likely to find photos after a convention if you take part in a group photoshoot and if you hand out business cards to make it easy for people to tag you on social media.
If you plan a little bit before a convention, rather than waiting until after and seeing what you find, you’re much more likely to come out with at least a few pictures of your costume. They’ll also likely be better quality photos.
Working with a cosplay photographer
If you really want high-quality photos of your cosplay, you want to work directly with a photographer. This way, you’re not leaving it up to chance. You can plan a photoshoot during the convention (or even at another time/place), and stay in contact with the photographer so that you get photos after the event.
After you work with a photographer, give them a few weeks after the convention before asking about the photos. As a photographer myself, I know I spend a lot of time retouching photos for better lighting and color, so it can take a while before I finish everything. Ask in advance for a time estimate, so you know how long you’ll have to wait for the photos.
How to find a photographer
You don’t need to go out and hire a professional photographer to show up at the convention. Cosplay photography is a pretty fun hobby, and many enjoy the amount of creativity involved in the photoshoots.
Here are some ways you can find a photographer to work with for your costume:
- Get the contact info of someone you like at a con. If you love a photo that a photographer at a convention has taken, ask them for a business card or contact information. You can schedule a photoshoot with them at a future event.
- Join a group on social media. There are groups for cosplayers and con-goers on social media platforms like Facebook. You can make a post asking for photographers willing to work with you (it helps to add a photo of your costume).
- Contact an Instagram photographer that you like. If you see a cosplay photographer on Instagram that goes to the same conventions as you, contact them to see if they’d be willing to schedule a photo shoot at the next convention.
- Some anime conventions have forums or listings. Larger anime and comic conventions have forums or message boards where you can try to contact other con-goers ahead of time. You may be able to find a photographer who’s trying to schedule photoshoots at the convention.
- Find a friend who enjoys photography. If you have a friend who loves taking photos of cosplay and wants to improve their skills, it can be great to work together for a photo shoot. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!
How much do cosplay photographers charge?
Some people may still charge for photoshoots, but it’s also common to find photographers willing to work with you for free if they like your costume and character. Many cosplay photographers see this as a hobby and won’t charge at all for photos. I’ve done a lot of photoshoots with my friends, but I never charge since that takes the pressure off of the whole experience. This makes it a lot more fun, but it’s also a learning experience to level up my skills.
While I’d like to think I’m decent at cosplay photography, I am by no means a professional. If you want to work with the best photographers, it’s a lot more likely that they will charge a fee for a half-hour photoshoot or a certain number of final photos.
Schedule shoots at a convention or outside locations
Generally, the best way to approach photoshoots with a cosplay photographer is to schedule them in advance. If you’re planning to wear your costume at a convention, decide on a time and place to meet up with your photographer, and stick to the plan. If you’re late getting ready, the photographer might have other cosplayers to photograph or things to do at the convention and won’t be able to fit you into the schedule.
You can also schedule photoshoots with a photographer at any time outside of a convention. This way you can get photos in an environment that’s perfect for your cosplay, and you won’t have to worry about all the people in the background of your photos. Of course, if you are working with a photographer who you don’t know, it’s important to pay attention to your safety. Stick to public areas if possible, and always bring a friend with you to the photoshoot location.
Another way to ensure you get photos of your costume is by participating in a group cosplay or photoshoot event. At conventions, you are much more likely to get photos taken when you are in the vicinity of other cosplayers from the same series. People will be more likely to recognize you, and photos from group photoshoots are almost always posted online.
There are generally two ways of going about group cosplays. The first is to organize a friend group and plan to cosplay different characters from the same series. If you walk around together, your group will automatically stand out.
The other way is to find a photoshoot event for your cosplay. This is when many different cosplayers from the same series, game, or universe come together for a large photoshoot. These are often organized informally by other cosplayers and the location and time are passed around by word of mouth. Some large conventions will have official photoshoot sign-up forms so that you can look for the time and place of a relevant photoshoot.
Getting photos at a convention
If you haven’t scheduled a photoshoot with a photographer and you don’t have a group to cosplay with, you’re not completely out of luck. There is still a lot you can do to get your photo taken and make it more likely to find online after the convention.
The first thing you can do is to wear the type of costume that gets photos. This will get the attention of more people, making it more likely you’ll find good photos posted online after the event. This includes:
- Intricate costumes. Cosplays that include a lot of detailed work, such as princess gowns, armor, complicated wigs, and realistic props are much more likely to receive attention, even if people don’t know who the character is.
- Popular characters. Costumes from series or games that are popular at the moment will receive the most attention and photographs.
- Nostalgic characters. Characters from shows that used to be very popular also tend to get a lot of attention. For example, a cosplay from Cowboy Bebop is sure to hit the nostalgia factor because it’s such a classic anime.
- Funny costumes. Meme costumes or cosplays that include an aspect of humor get a lot of attention as long as it’s obvious enough for people to understand it in a split-second glance.
You can also hang out in areas with a lot of photographers to get more (and better) photos. At conventions, cosplay photographers tend to stay in wide-open areas with good lighting (especially natural lighting). If you make a point of standing around in these areas, there will be a much greater chance you will catch the eye of a photographer and get some good photos.
A little tip that I have is to try to wear your cosplay and hang out in these areas on Sunday morning of a convention. There are usually fewer elaborate cosplayers during this time, while there are still many photographers looking to take pictures.
Finding the photos after the convention
If you had a lot of hall photos taken of you during the convention, there is still the problem of finding those photos afterward. You’re not going to be able to find every single photo, but if you use these tips, you will likely be able to find a good portion of the photos taken.
- Give out business cards. Many people will be happy to tag you in Instagram photos if they have your information. The easiest way to do this is to print a bunch of business cards with your social media handles and hand them out to photographers (business cards are pretty cheap to order online). It’s easiest if you have your face on the card so the photographer can easily identify you.
- Ask for the photographer’s website. Most of the time photographers will also have social media accounts or a website, so don’t be afraid to ask for a business card or place to find images. I always try to hand out my business cards to cosplayers I photograph, but I often forget. So, I appreciate the reminder.
- Check social media with the convention tag. The obvious place to look is through all of social media under the convention tag. Keep looking a couple of weeks after the convention too. It can take a while to edit all the hall cosplay photos I take, so many of them don’t get posted until 2-3 weeks after a convention.
- Post in groups asking if anyone has seen your character. Don’t be afraid to ask in forums and groups if anyone has seen your cosplay. If I know I took a photo of a character someone is looking for, I’ll look through them to see if I can give someone the photo they’re looking for. In this case, it’s useful if you have one of your own photos as an example so people know what to look for.