Cosplay: Etiquette at a Convention

Published on June 8th, 2011

Manners, You Can Bring Those into a Con

*warning this blog may get a little bitchy, we’re talking about some of my/my friend’s pet peeves

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Scenario: You’re at a convention, you have a pretty cool cosplayer in your sights, and you wish to take a picture of this person, here’s how you should (and more importantly) shouldn’t do it. First of all, if you see a cosplayer having a conversation with someone please do not be rude and indignant and insist that the cosplayer take a photo for you RIGHT NOW! Do you like it when you have your conversations interrupted? I would think not! The same can logic can be applied to a cosplayer if they are on the phone. Didn’t your mom always get mad at you when you tried to talk to her while she was on the phone? (I know my mom would get mad at me) Also think about this, if you’re on the phone at a convention, what are you talking about, you’re probably not just chatting it up with your buddy, you’re probably trying to find the rest of your group or some other such important information is being relayed. And when important info is being relayed, you don’t want to stop and take a photo with an awkward phone in your hand, and you don’t want to tell the person on the line to hold on with their important information.

Here’s a personal pet peeve of mine at a con that I’m sure applies to many another cosplayers. If you see me plowing through the crowd or moving at a pace that is quicker than a leisurely stroll through a con…do not try to take a picture of me. If someone is rushing at a con you can bet they are en route to something awesome, like a panel or a signing. And you know how lines are at cons, you have to get in them!! So do not stop a cosplayer on a mission. The other option for why a cosplayer is rushing is something must have gone wrong with their costume (has happened to me) and we then reeaaaallllyyyy do not want to take a picture.

And now about photo rapes. Not.Cool. Especially when a cosplayer is doing something like eating! When a cosplayer is eating, it’s generally a rare thing (I know it is for me) and it’s a time to relax and not worry about looking good or in character. So don’t do a drive by and take a photo of us when we aren’t looking and we’re sitting down stuffing our face quickly with food before dashing off to the next panel. And on that note; if you walk up to a cosplayer who is eating, or talking on the phone, or having a conversation, and you ask them for a photo, and the cosplayer says no…do not photo rape them, NO MEANS NO.

Group shots, yeah sorry sometimes the group cannot be rallied for your photo, don’t get mad at me, it’s not my fault half my group wants to go look at some art. And don’t stand there looking at me expectantly to rally the troops. I mean I’ll give it a try but if they don’t want to rally they don’t want to rally and you are just going to have to get what you get. Don’t you look at me all disappointed!

Now here is how you should ask for a photo. If you see a cosplayer just wandering down the hall or already posing, feel free to walk up to them and say “HI, can I PLEASE, take a photo of you?” What is very important to note here is that you should actually SAY THESE WORDS. Don’t just awkwardly hold up your camera or weirdly get close to me and just stare. (Yes this has happened) I’m not a mind reader, I do not know what you want, and if you want a photo, please USE YOUR WORDS. I just gave you them three sentences ago, please feel free to use them.

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When it comes to getting in the shot with a cosplayer while a bunch of people are taking shots…well that’s a tough situation. Most of the time you just gotta go for it, but that can get you in trouble with some cosplayers. My recommendation is just ask. Personally, I will generally yell out ‘just get in here if you want the shot.’ Scenario: A cosplayer has agreed to take a photo for you. Here’s how to proceed. (This really only applies to on the fly photo ops on the con floor, if you’re running off to do a shoot with someone you know, well you have your own rules.)

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Hold up your camera THAT IS ALREADY TURNED ON, snap the photo, and then say THANK YOU, and be on your merry way! This rule especially applies to phones. This a con people, most cosplayers don’t want to stand there for five minutes while you fiddle with your phone to try to get the photo app to open up.

If you are going to request certain poses, be advised some cosplayers may not like that. It often depends on the amount of rush going on at the moment. Some points I can give you are DO NOT TOUCH THE COSPLAYER. You might mess up our costume and to be honest, I don’t know you, don’t touch me. Also some poses you may think are awesome are probably notalways going to sound awesome to the cosplayer. No I can’t crouch down in armor in the middle of the walkway at a con, don’t get pissy about it, it’s just the way things are. Also if I’m in a midriff baring costume, no I do not want to do poses where I’m seated, it’s not flattering.

When suggesting poses or working with a cosplayer who has agreed to take some shots with you, do not over stay your welcome. This is a con and they probably want to go see things, so don’t take forever to snap a photo! I agreed to take a photo with you, now let’s take it and keep moving.

To sum up,

Here’s a quick list of times to NOT ask a cosplayer for a photo.

  1. . They are having a conversation with someone awesome
  2. . They are on the phone
  3. . They are eating
  4. . Sitting looking tired (I do not want to stand up/put on my shoes for a photo, I’m tired)
  5. . They are walking really fast
  6. . They are in the middle of a wardrobe malfunction

And tip when taking a photo

  1. Have the camera on
  2. Do not touch the cosplayer to try pose them
  3. Do not take up too much of the cosplayers time
  4. Don’t get annoyed if you can’t have exactly what you want
  • a.We won’t do your crazy pose for any number of reasons
  • b.We can’t gather the whole group for your shot
  • c.We say we can’t take a photo due to any number of reasons

Alright kiddos, here’s just a few tips from the gal in front of the camera to make cons a littlemore enjoyable and courteous for all! Hit me up in the comments with your pet peeves at a con!!

Kit Quinn
Kit@ComicImpact.com