I’ve spent the better part of 10 years shooting cosplay, so I figure this was worth talking about.
How far will you go for a picture? I remember initially that I used to fervently chase after every cosplayer and thought I got the best shot – nope. Then I chased after select cosplayers and took them outside for pictures – nope. Then I started doing scheduled shoots with talented people and thought I got the best shots – nope. Then I thought I would roam and try to find famous cosplayers – nope. I’ve even flown out to out of state cons and other cities to try to get dream photos – don’t get me wrong I’ve gotten good photos but I could have done the same locally as well. What I realized the futility is not in the effort but what you expect out of it. Is it the number of likes? Definite NOPE.
In fact, one of my best pictures is from AX2008 with an Assasin’s Creed with 2 flashes – to this day I haven’t produced a better picture. I thought I was going to top one shot with another shot at 2015, but I found something missing.
I found the shots I liked best were the ones I felt passionate about. The ones where I had ideas and were inspired. Ones that invoked certain moods. Was there a correlation between how famous or location or whatnot? Nope.
Looking back, I find chasing after people whose cosplays though would make amazing pictures to be a little wasteful because it’s all about having a idea and putting someone on it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to find people which you think would be good for collaboration, but just be aware sometimes the effort simply isn’t worth it.
Recently I’ve been just taking it slow and finding local cosplayers and coming up with ideas. I talk with them about the cosplay and what they’re looking – and you know what? the product is actually something I was imaging. Sometimes it’s about the road not travelled and building relationships with the people around you first. It’s a two person road.
In a world of social media where cosplay is exploding, to try to do what everyone else does with fanservice and popular cosplays is not the path for me. I want to forge my own path to be a better artist.