There’s nothing wrong with sucking.

Enjoy suckingThis photo is dirty and it sucks – Cosplayers Akr Cosplay, Rae Wolfe

There’s nothing wrong with sucking at something you enjoy doing.

 

If you’re having fun it really shouldn’t matter what other people think about it. If cosplay is for everyone then so is cosplay photography. I think it’s wrong to tell someone that they shouldn’t cosplay or that they should quit photography, but that doesn’t mean that a) everyone is highly skilled and b) anyone has to like their cosplay or their photography. Those things don’t matter though if you’re doing something for the pure enjoyment of it. Fuck the critics. If you’re in it only for the fun then you can stop reading here. If you want to be highly skilled though you have to think about things a little differently.

Thats badA photo that I really liked at the time from the first shoot I ever had with JeanWanWan. It’s terribad Jean is gonna fuck me up for posting it but it’s actually out of focus and the composition is boring.

If a person’s skill level were the determining factor in whether or not they should continue pursuing an endeavor then no one would accomplish anything because everyone starts out as a beginner. Talent is often misconstrued as some kind of gift or blessing but it’s really just a hard earned and heavily practiced skill. It’s easy to see someone’s finished product and brush it off as “oh they’re just talented” and ignore the years of experience and work that lead up to it. That said, someone can be anywhere on the spectrum between beginner and expert and it’s moronic to tell them to stop because they haven’t yet made it to some specific point on the scale.

My first yaoi shootMy first yaoi shoot ever definitely sucked. – Cosplayers RaeWolfe, JeanWanWan

It’s up to the individual to choose what they want to pursue, where they want to end up on the proficiency scale and how long it takes them to get there.

If you want to dress up like a swimming anime boy that’s dressed up like a cop and have your teammates stuff you (with cake), more power to you. – Cosplayers zimpup13, Rae Wolfe, M.Kingold

That distinction of what you’re trying accomplish with your work is important when looking at your progress. Cosplay and photography are both forms of art, what are you trying to do with your art? Don’t look at other people’s art and say I want to do that exactly, put your own spin on it.

If you want to judge yourself intelligently (which is critical if you want to improve) then before you make your art, think about why you’re doing it and what exactly it is you want to make. When you’re done making it look at it and decide if you accomplished your goal.

Candy, I love candyStrategy is important whether you’re playing candy land or you’re making art. – Cosplayers JeanWanWan, Rae Wolfe

This is how you determine if you’re doing a good job. If you look at your photos after the shoot and its nothing like what you envisioned then you have room for improvement. If you look at your costume or your makeup and it’s not what you wanted it to be then you have room for improvement. Look at the difference between what you ended up with and what you wanted, figure out where the mistakes were made and figure out how to fix them next time. If you look at your work when you’re done and you think, “Yup, that’s exactly what I wanted” then go ahead and pat yourself on the back you did a good job. Think about attempting something a little bit more challenging next time. The point is don’t let someone else tell you what’s “good”, you determine what’s good based on what you set out to make. If you keep doing something for long enough as your tastes and goals change you’ll look back on things you thought were good in the past and cringe. Good is a sliding scale.

Yup thats what they wantedI’m pretty sure they both know what they want here. – Cosplayers Rae Wolfe, J Stryker

Since good is a distinction that’s useless without context there’s no point in directly comparing artists without some kind of intent. What is a good cosplayer? What is a good photographer? It’s too generic of a question to answer because the topics mean different things to different people. Do you want people to recognize you for your extensive knowledge of trash, friendship, shipping and yaoi? Cosplay sports anime. Like all that minus the boy love? Join Idol hell. You want to show the world how extra you are? Do some JoJo. Save the world? Be a superhero. Destroy the world? Be a super villain. Do you want people to recognize you for your insane construction skills? Build a Gundam suit, make some armor or huge props. Do you want people around the world to see what convention life is all about? Be a hallway shot photographer. Do you want to highlight certain cosplayers and their craftsmanship? Become a portrait photographer. Do you wanna find out who the real nasty people on the internet are? Be an ero cosplay photographer. Do you want to tell a story with your photos? Grab your cosplayer and take them on location and tell your story together.

A very complex storyI want to tell the world about my friends’ lack of personal boundaries and mainstream morals. Cosplayers Akr Cosplay, J Stryker

If someone wants to add their 2 cents in then its up to you to gauge if it’s valid or not. Someone says something belligerent like your sports anime cosplay sucks? Well you made a bunch of friends from your fandom in it and took selfies with your OTP and acted out your yaoi shipping dreams, sounds pretty awesome doesn’t sound like its bad to me. If they want to complain that you chest bound it would have looked more realistic? Yeah valid point and either a) you didn’t want to or b) you did want to but didn’t for some reason. If it’s A then you’re solid fuck them, if it’s B then maybe consider overcoming the reason you didn’t do it and next time go through with it. Someone says something assinine like your con photo sucks because it’s not taken on a mountain top in the snow with rose petals and crazy lights flying everywhere? Bruh its a hallway shot at a convention I wasn’t trying to do that. If someone says that the photo would have been better if you moved the light to a different position? Either a) nah I like it where I put it and I put it there for xyz reason or b) maybe it would have been better there to get the look I wanted, I’ll think about it and possibly try that next time. Either way if you’re actively trying to increase your skill level make the distinction if the criticism is constructive or not and if it is then will it help you achieve your goals.

Now kiss.
Sometimes you need someone to give you that little extra guidance in the right direction. – Cosplayers JeanWanWan, Cameo Olyvia

The point is decide what you want to do, how you want to do it, and do it at your own pace. If you’re in it because you enjoy it then fuck criticism it’s useless to you anyway. Don’t let someone tell you you’re not good enough or that you should quit. If you’re in it to win it then be honest with yourself and reflect on your art, what specific areas you’re weak in, and whether or not the work to improve is worth the return. If it is then work hard, accept constructive criticism and accomplish your goals. If not then keep doing what you do.

TL;DR
You decide what level of skill you want to have and what matters to you. Being highly skilled takes a lot of hard work and suffering, don’t feel like you need to improve if you don’t want to just because someone else said so. If you do want to improve do it and do it with intention.

Totally worth itIt’s exhausting trying to improve but I think its worth it. – Cosplayers Akr Cosplay and Rae Wolfe

Top 5 Cosplayer complaints about cosplay photos!

Dont be trashyDon’t be trashy, leave that to the fandoms! – Cosplayer JeanWanWan

I’m planning on writing a bunch of articles for beginner cosplay photographers so for research I asked a bunch of cosplayers what their complaints were about photographers and the photos they get back so that I could have an idea of what to talk about. There were tons of points worth bringing up so I’ll be writing a lot about all of them in the future but for now here’s a quick overview of the top 5 issues that repeatedly came up. Continue reading “Top 5 Cosplayer complaints about cosplay photos!”

Don’t Be a Creeper! – Cosplay Photography Etiquette

The topic of creepy cosplay photographers is reoccurring issue in the cosplay community. I think it’s a topic worth discussing on its own because a lot of people don’t really understand what it is to be “creepy” and what lines need to be drawn. I asked a few of my cosplayer friends for their opinions on the matter so I could get a view from the other side of the Cosplay/Photographer dynamic and with that information, this is how I’ve concluded photographers and cosplayers should interact.

Dont be a Creeper

Creeper alert! – Cosplayers Jean Wan Wan, Danisaurz
Continue reading “Don’t Be a Creeper! – Cosplay Photography Etiquette”

Bed Studio Setup

For the first shoot breakdown I’m going to start with a simple compare contrast. Since my day job keeps me pretty busy most of the time, I can’t opt for location shoots on a whim. Jean usually needs regular high quality photosets because of her sponsorships so to keep the output high and the stress low we decided to set up our room so we can use it for quick clean shoots.
Vanilla by JeanWanWan

Continue reading “Bed Studio Setup”

Hello world!

First post on the first of the year. This blog is going to be a place for me to discuss my techniques. My goal is to share my knowledge and at the same time reinforce my skills in the process.