Ask Adam: How Do You Find and Setup Shoots With Cosplayers

Adam Patrick Murray (Facebook) is a great photographer and we’re proud and honored to have him as part of our family as a Contributor. Adam often does amazing photoshoots with a number of big name cosplayers such as Jessica Nigri, Amie Lynn, Lindsay Elyse, to just to name a few. He also has a great Youtube series called “Ask Adam” where he takes questions and answers it on a weekly basis. Here’s a sample of one that other cosplay photographers may find useful: How Do You Find and Setup Shoots With Cosplayers:

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At Cosplay Photographers, we believe that cosplay is an art form to be celebrated. We believe that epic cosplays are about bringing your favorite fantasy characters to life and, through the latest mediums like digital photography and videography, sharing that with the world. We seek to foster a community of talented individuals who wish to promote the art of cosplay and photography.


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    Great video and I look forward to your future ones. I did want to get a little deeper response from the “how” you arrange photo sessions. Do you e-mail them? Call them? Bump into them at conventions? I know you are a talented photographer, so it might be easier for you to hook up with them since you have that established portfolio etc. But starting out, how did you make your way up the cosplay circuit ? I’m an aspiring photographer so getting that traction in the model / cosplayer world is proving difficult.

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      Maybe I could help a bit. I can think of 2 good points if you want more cosplayers/models to work with you.
      a) Be a fun outgoing confident (not arrogant) person. Give and take with the model, look for their input which can in fact help, they’ll feel more valued that way and can lead to new ideas. If you’re quiet and depressed that will reflect on the model and spoil the mood, and also make the model uncertain of what they should be doing.
      b) Have decent work to show. It may take a while before you notice your work is more than just a snapshot among the sea of snapshots, but quality will help. I find actually showing the picture I just took of the cosplayer actually helps to get more. It goes like this, I’m one of several people taking pictures, I snap 2 or 3, once the crowd clears I’ll walk up to the model and thank them for posing, show them the picture, and if it happens to be good enough the model will gasp and be happy with what they see. Half the time from there I get asked if I have a business card (which can then lead to future photoshoots with that person), but regardless, with their attention and enthusiasm now on my camera I can get a few further shots, and even ask them to come into a better-lit area. Talk to them and communicate on a human-level rather than just being another body holding a camera.

      Hope this helps a bit.

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      Thanks for the response. Point A kind of stems AFTER a shoot starts, though B is very helpful. I am still building up portfolio and figuring out the best way to highlight quality photos but still reach a wide audience (aka lots of event / convention photos that are in hallways / along walls). I’ll work on highlighting / separating the quality photos and hopefully that will help grab a few eyes. I will also try to be more outgoing with the models after the crowds clear, I guess having unhuman-like patience will come in handy finally ! haha

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      Great question Boojitsu!
      By the time I started doing cosplay photography I already had a portfolio filled with portrait and fashion work so it was a bit easier to reach out and show it off to set up individual shoots. I also did a number of conventions and had at least a basic understanding of cosplay and what it’s like to photograph a character based portrait.
      So I’d say the best first steps are to get competent convention shots, have them get used to your face, seeing you around, and your friendly personality. And also to practice your non-cosplay related photography to build up at least a small portfolio to show off your basic understanding of composition, lighting, etc.
      Cosplayers usually have seen enough photos of themselves to know what looks good and what doesn’t even if they can’t explain why. And most importantly they look for safety and comfort with someone. I have no problem knowing that I partially got to work with great cosplayers like Jessica Nigri, Amie Lynn, and Lindsay Elyse early on because I was friendly, helpful, and trustworthy despite my lack of cosplay work.
      Adam Patrick Murray

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      I like that keyword, “Trust”.

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      It’s one of the most powerful factors out there. Cosplayers don’t generally care how awesome your photos are, if you are untrustworthy then they won’t work with you!

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      Thanks for the response and feedback. You’ve provided good keys to work on for me, and I hope to one day be able to work with some professional cosplayers in the future. I have a few tentative shoots lined up, so hopefully that will get the ball rolling 🙂

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      Awesome! You’ll have to show us how it turns out!
      If you need anything else please feel free to email me at

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