With NYCC going on at the time of publishing this piece, here are some tips.
Essential Gear: Off-Camera Flash and a Light Modifier
One of the things that I tell every photographer is that pretty much every camera and lens these days takes great photos. What really matters instead is your lighting. I strongly recommend off-camera flashes and either an umbrella or a softbox. Some of my favorites over the years:
- Phottix Mitros +: A radio flash that is very awesome and reliable.
- Einstein E640: Lots of power for cheap!
- Flashpoint Zoom Li-On: Lots of power, reliability, and they’re cheap! To this day, still one of my most used flashes.
Scout Around and Set Up a Spot Around the Floor
Most convention goers will walk around the floor and take pictures as they go. I strongly recommend finding an area with a neutral background that is still trafficked. Maybe around the lunch area will work well. The neutral background will give off the effect of a studio setup and work well to put more emphasis on the costume.
As People Come By, Ask for a Photo
As people are coming by, simply ask them for their photo. Lots of people (women in particular) feel creeped out when there is no interaction of any sort between a photographer and a person. So instead, ask the person. It’s really easy.
Here’s how my conversations have gone:
- Excuse, hi! Do you mind if we step off really quickly to take a photo?
- So my name is Chris, what’s yours?
- They say their name,
- Nice meeting you! *handshake*
- So can I get you right over here please (motions where)
- Tell me about your character
- Here they tell me about them if I don’t know about them already. And we discuss ideas while I listen to them.
Typically, posing is pretty simple. All famous comic characters have very token and signature poses–just do those!
After the shoot, give them a card, thank them, and maybe have a short chat with them. But be friendly.
Shoot off Site
Though I really, really don’t go to Comic Con anymore due to a busy schedule, I’ve developed professional and friendly relationships with people that I’ve shot before. Some will ask me to come by just to shoot them. Typically what I do these days is go off-site somewhere else and shoot.
The same methods and ideas apply, but we just shoot in a different way and have more creative freedom with the area.