My problem with cosplay photography

A picture I edited, that got shot down. Cosplay by Chaly and I.

I’ve been telling my friends for a while now how much I am annoyed with the current “meta” of cosplay photography. While I understand that in the past there have been a lot of abuse from cosplayers in regards of cosplay photographers, I feel that right now, cosplayers are stuck in this meta where we are stuck paying photographers for pictures we often have little to no control over.

But Shmuberry, Canadian photographers officially own the Copyright to all their photos. Yes, that is correct and they should. However, I find that cosplay photography stands out from regular photography as it is two artists coming together to create a beautiful image. A cosplay photographer is nothing without the skillful cosplayer who has perfected their costumes for hundreds of hours. Owning copyright doesn’t mean you have to be an ass about it, especially when you were hired to take the picture.

“Even if you hired me, I own the picture, ergo I can do whatever I wait with it.” “It’s mine, you can’t touch it”

This is the type of attitude a photographer shouldn’t have in this community.

I feel instead, it should be a collaboration between the two artists and not just in front of the lens but also when it comes to the editing process. How many of us have waited 6 months for pictures and when we got them we thought: “I waited for that? Let me quick fix this…” and here comes the photographers, insulted that you DARE smooth your skin or color correct a picture better than he did, because he owns the picture. We’re cosplayers, we’re anal about everything. It’s not that we don’t like the pictures, our idea of perfection is so different for everyone, you couldn’t possibly know that I want my nose liquified a certain way or my idea of a soft picture is actually a completely different tone curve or that I have a problem with the colour yellow.

It annoys me, because I can’t say anything but “ok, sorry” but I’m actually thinking “I waited 6 months for these pictures but it’s not quite the way we both envisioned. I thought I was doing you a favour since I’m sharing this under your name…” because then you’re guaranteed to sever ties with an otherwise talented individual. sigh.

It’s not like I’m incompetent or stupid with Photoshop and Lightroom. I’m not going to crop out your watermark or erase your metada (for those who even bother with that) !

In an ideal world, I would love to have my own contract where a photographer will agree to take pictures and submit the raws to me. In exchange, I edit the picture and credit the photographer for taking the pictures and myself for the editing. Think about it; less pictures to edit, no back log, no cosplayed lamenting over the wait and your style of editing. It seriously needs to be an option photographers should offer.


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