• Tascha

Convention photography etiquette

Photo by Lisa Bee

I've been going to conventions now since 2012 (ish) and if my maths serves me correct, this is a grand total of 6 years now!

Conventions have been a brilliant way of helping me to experiment with all kinds of models, (lack of) locations and also gives me at least 2+ times a year where I know I will be taking photos.

In these years, I have noticed a lot of different things involving con photographers and how I personally think is a good way of going about doing it; my points are in no way gospel but I thought I would share just in case it would help out any newbies!

How do I take photos of people?

You quite simply - just go up and ask!

Doesn't matter how much of a social media following they have, they're the same as you and they'll want their photo taken!

Just be polite, maybe compliment what they're wearing if you like and go 'excuse me, can I take a photo of you?' and if they say yes, do your thing!

If they say no, just say thank you, ask if they'll be around later perhaps and move along, they're not doing it to be an ass, everyone is really damn busy over convention weekends and they might be too knackered, have somewhere to be etc, so try not to take it personally!

When shouldn't I take photos of people?

If they say no is the obvious one, but the big nono is if people are eating, taking a rest (sat down with a part of their costume off etc) or in the middle of having their photos taken by someone else. It's very rude and if you're tired and haven't eaten all day, you just want a little moment to re-collect before you continue on. Leave them be.

Can I join in when other people are taking photos?

If they are part of a set up shoot with another photographer, please do not assume it's okay to get over their shoulder and nick their shot. This is what we call 'Shoot sniping' and not only is it just generally very rude, it also means that you've flat out copied someone else's hard work: It's not your shoot, not your set up or (in some instances) your lights. Please just be patient and wait until they are done.

Obviously if there is a spectacle going on - like a parade, a masquerade etc, then snap away! You just need to pick and choose your moments.

Can I touch the cosplayers if I need to pose them?

Always ask first. Do not just assume you can get up and move them. Not everyone is comfortable with being touched, even if your intention is just to move a piece of hair out of the way etc.

Photography elitism

Thankfully, I've not seen a huge amount of this, but unfortunately there will be a few photographers who do have a bigger/ more expensive kit than you that will quiz you on what you're doing when you're doing it. It's the only downside of being creative is there's always a couple of people out there who want to do some good old fashioned dick measuring. Just remember; it literally does not matter what you're taking the photo on, whether it's a phone, a hefty camera or a film camera, all photography is unique and if you, and the person who are photographing love it, long and short. F*ck em.

Sum up

+ Always ask first

+ Don't snipe other people's shoots

+ Don't take photos of people eating

+ Don't be an ass

+ Be patient

+ You will miss out on taking photos of some people due to bad timing

+ It does not matter what equipment you do or do not have!

+ Have fun!! We've all paid to be here, we're all big nerds. Just don't take anything too seriously and enjoy yourself.

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