It’s the start of the Comic Con season and I thought I’d share with you some of the preparation that I go through when organising my photoshoots.
When it comes to photography at a convention there are several ways that photographers tend to work. For most simply walking around the venue looking for someone they would like to photograph is probably the most common. Some photographers who have a large following might operate a slot booking system which usually opens a few weeks in advance of the event. They will usually be found at a location that is preferably away from the main con floor either an entrance foyer or on occasion (and subject to the elements) outside.
How I work
Since last year I’ve slowed down my work at cons because I wanted to try working with a few people on getting better quality images than the typical con floor shots that you see on various Facebook groups, as there are plenty of photographers who specialise in creating “con dumps” of hundreds of images within hours of the event ending.
I usually start with picking which con I want to attend and after creating an advertisement for the photoshoot and post it to both the event’s page as well as various Facebook groups. Next I setup a booking spreadsheet on Google that people can add themselves to, it’s easier to keep track of than trawling through lots of direct messages (DM’s) on both Facebook and Instagram. However, due to the changes being made by social media companies making it difficult to be seen I might consider an online booking system via this site in the future.
Once I know who wants to shoot with me and what character they are playing, comes the task of researching the character and getting reference photos as a guide in posing as not all con attendees are models and appreciate the photographer getting the basic poses down as a starting point.
Next comes getting my gear together, checking I’ve got the tickets, charging batteries and deciding what to take with me. Which these days feels like everything and the kitchen sink! With that all done and dusted it’s down to the day of the event before the real fun starts!
The Big Day
Location, location, location is what they all say. And when it comes to some venues there’s no helping that they’re just not great places to shoot in, terrible lighting, crowded floors and nowhere to get a decent shot. This is where you have to get your creative hat on and do a walk around the venue either before opening or as soon as you get in and identify some potential shoot locations. If it’s a nice day I would generally look for somewhere outside that I can use walls etc., as backgrounds. With experience you can get a good idea of the best locations to set up shoots in providing you don’t run foul of security.
And then comes the fun part of locating your attendees and getting the shoot started! Before you know it the day’s over and it’s time to head on home. For most photographer’s this is where the “real” work begins with the editing process but that’s a topic for another post!
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