There was recently a question on Facebook that asked cosplayers how they distinguish between a actual photographer and a "GWC"(guy with camera). Just over clear the term GWC' is any poser/creep with a digital camera pretending to be a pro/semi-pro photographer. It is very likely that any convention you will see this type of behavior taking place.(urbandictionary.com) It becomes difficult for actual photographers to connect with cosplayers. I have encountered the same issue. The good news is that I would like to share with you a few ways in which you can distinguish yourself from your classic GWC.
First, it is very important to be aware of your body language. Your body language and tone of your voice can tell more about what true intentions are then what actually comes out of your mouth. If you walk up to a cosplayer with a perverted look on your face, you're going to be telling a potential person you would like to take a picture of that you're up to no good. People already are concerned about their personal safety when in public, especially when they are in custom. Staring is also another no-no. In general no person likes to be looked up and down. It is much different when a person's costume catches your eye.
Secondly, you need to be aware of the request that you make of a cosplayers when taking photos. If a cosplayer is not comfortable with the pose simply move:. If they do not want to shoot at all the best course of action complement the custom, say thank you and move on. People do not like to feel like they're being forced to do something. This is especially true when you first meet a cosplayer. They need an opportunity to get to know you.
Finally, you must be aware of your timing. At a convention no one wants to have their picture taken while they are trying to get something to eat. No one likes to feel like they're being followed by the same person throughout the entire convention area. If the person cannot shoot with you because they have no time simply give them a business card and tell them that they can text, or message you for a later shoot.
In my experience GWCs will generally engage in the following type of behaviors, stocking, inappropriate request, uncomfortable or perverted body language and unwanted physical contact. Professionals will make their subjects feel comfortable and respected. They will engage in good communication, they will also demonstrate poses and exercise good judgment as to when a post is working and when not.
I am extremely concerned about the trend of many hotels, convention centers and even different cons that are limiting access to photographers, cosplayers and other attendees. Today I found out that the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit are now limiting face coverings, and weapon like props to attendees of Youmacon less than two weeks before the convention is scheduled to begin. This only follows the trend that has been happening all this year. Earlier this year security guards at the Renaissance Center during Midwest Media Expo made myself and another photographer shut down our tripod stands because they felt like they were blocking the flow of traffic. Obviously, this is not true because we were shooting in areas where there was little to no traffic.
On Facebook it was reported that New York Comic Con were confiscating props from con goers and throwing them in the trash. Obviously showing a clear sign of disrespect to individuals who spend lots of time creating their props. I also found out that one of the hotels where Dragon con takes place made it more difficult for photographers to set up lighting equipment. This will be the same for photographers who will be attending Katsucon in 2015.
I understand the need for safety and protection of the grounds of hotels and convention centers. But when other events take place the same instructions fly right out the window. It is unfortunate that hotels and convention centers are being more restrictive Con attendees.
These days everybody wants to critique and criticized other people's photography. Everybody seems to have an opinion on the quality of other individuals images. The issue is with all these different opinions and critiques, it hard to find if there actually valuable or offer any constructive pointers. As a photographer you must be able to professionally deal with these criticisms and comments.
Like myself it is all too easy to fall into the trap of getting upset over criticisms of your work. You know that you work to the best of your ability to create images that are both technically sound and pleasing to look at. Criticisms can be a good thing. They can help you plan out weaknesses and areas of improvement. Also, they can shed light on areas where your strong at.
A few months ago I did a photo shoot with Cammy from Street fighter at a convention in Allendale, Michigan. On Facebook one photographer pointed out that there was green fringing on some of my images. I was less than please that this criticism leveled his work. I pulled up the wall files to see if there was any relevance to this comment. I did see lots of green fringing that I miss. I then proceeded to remove all of the green fringing that I found.
I tell the story because sometimes photographers will give you a really good advice on how to improve your images. It is a sign of a mature individual and a professional to take the criticisms and use them to improve your work. But you have to be sure that the source that you are getting criticism from are valid. Some individuals like to spend their time criticizing other individuals work, when their own work falls well short of expectations. These individuals criticisms and comments are not valid and should be disregarded. But you have to be the judge that.
Possibly the best source criticisms should comes from experience photographers. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to shoot with my uncle at his studio in Southfield, Michigan. My uncle has been shooting for over 20 years. He gave me some great advice during that six hour photo session. Which I think has helped me to improve my images dramatically.
So when dealing with criticism of your work keep a few things in mind
· whether or not the criticism is valuable
· consider the source of the Crimson
· whether or not the individual criticizing has good work and experience
I have always believed that portrait photography is about to individuals working together to create stunning images. With that thought in mind here are a few guidelines that will allow us to be able to create great images.
Being prepared and consider will allow any photo session to be more successful. Making sure that your outfit or cosplay looks good and is on properly will allow us to maximize time that we have to shoot. In the past I have had individuals who have touched that make up during the time allotted for their session. This should take place prior to any photo session starting because it could drain the time that we have to work on creating great images.
I understand that life happens. If you are going to be late or cannot make it to a photo session please text me or call and let me know what is going on. If you have friends or family that would like to accompany you to any photo session they are more than welcome. Please just let me know in advance. Please try and arrive 15 min. early for your photo session.
With these few tips we will be able to work together to make great images.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.