Cosplay Photography

CosMeetUp Chicago Event Talk

I attended one of the CosMeetUp Chicago cosplay photography events! This specific event was back in 2022 but I just recently was able to make a video about it. This was my first one since they started in 2019. Their goal is to have safe and friendly events where people in the cosplay scene can share their skills for the sake of creating cool work.

Update 9/29/2023: Eddie was removed and/or left the group due to various misconduct allegations. Apparently two additional organizers “Phoebe” and “Troy” left. I don’t know specifics and haven’t been able to fully decipher the various Instagram posts and stories. I would simply be cautious regarding any future events run by this group. Anyways, the entire situation is ironic given the group’s purpose was meant to be a safe alternative to Anime Midwest which is run by an individual with his own set of allegations.

My photos Gallery from the event.

For this event I used the Nikon Z5 with the Z 50mm f/1.8s lens. It’s a simple and effective combination. 50mm on full-frame allows for a good mix of different looks with it still being narrow enough to handle portraits decently well. The Z5 has dual SD card slots so I’d have an instant backup in the camera.

The camera performed well in this situation. From what I recall I was using aperture priority with face detect autofocus most of the time. Basically settings I talked about in this linked video. This was before the v1.4 update of the camera yet was still more than sufficient.

Nikon Z5 Digital Camera:

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S lens:

Taking a group photo before starting the event.

Their events are well structured with the main point being a safe environment for all attendees. Probably most importantly, photographers are vetting by the group before they can officially join any of the events.

Many of the cosplayers filled out a form with social media information. It’s very helpful information for the photographers so we can attribute them afterward without spending time searching.

On the day of the event it goes something like this:

  • Photographers do introductions to each other.
  • Cosplayers start filling out forms and were introduced to some of the people running the event.
  • Ground rules for the entire group like taking note of the blue wristbands that the photographers were given. This is so that cosplayers know that a photographer is officially part of the group. Along with prop policies and other cautions like being respectful to other people around and not damaging the park landscaping.
  • Photographers did introductions a second time for the cosplayers.
  • A free-for-all of photography. I ended up taking over 2000 photos. There was mention of not spending too much time with each cosplayer so that as many people can work together as possible. Makes sense to me.

After the event there is more work for the photographers. Edit your photos and upload them to a group gallery website. It makes sense to have one source for cosplayers to access pictures so I didn’t mind. Of course, the photographers can post their work wherever they want to as well.

One potential issue I had noticed at the event was on the paper cosplayer social media forms. There was an option to not have their photos posted to Instagram. I’m not sure why it specifically mentioned that one website, but I assume it meant everywhere online.

Trying to micromanage who opted out would add extra hassle and a free event feel like a job because there is not much else to benefit photographers besides having content they can post. That said, in the cosplayer’s online social media gallery it didn’t have that option so maybe they decided to not bother with it after all.

If it’s a strong concern of cosplayers then maybe they could organize specific events where there are more restrictions on the posting of images. That way everyone is on-board and there wouldn’t be any confusion. With the event I attended I see the main purpose as creating photos to show publicly and networking. Anyways, it’s not a big deal but I wanted to share my thoughts on that potential restriction to photographers.

Overall, a fun event! I enjoyed meeting a lot of cosplayers and photographers I haven’t yet met in the Midwest cosplay/convention scene. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend another event in the future.

Here’s a full transcript from the related YouTube video if you want to read instead of watch.

CosMeetup of Chicago! I went to one of their events in July of last year/
Finally getting to the edit of this video.
It’s basically a large cosplay photography, costumer photography.. event where you got a bunch of photographers a bunch of cosplayers getting together taking some photos making cool stuff. Let’s check it out!
In my case it’s quite a drive to get to their events so this is the only one that I’ve been to at this point.
CosMeetup Chicago hosted its first event in July 2019.
The idea was to provide cosplayers and photographers of space to network and collaborate that was safe for all the attendees.
I believe they were doing this kind of sort of in response to a convention in this area that’s got a questionable owner, so anyways I’m not going to go into that but…
How we doing?
So we’re going to take a quick minute to introduce all the photographers.
I know Troy went through this with you I’m just gonna remind
“I’m Troy!”
…for people I’ve missed it, any photographer with a blue wristband is here for this event.
If it’s a photographer that approaches you to take photos or they’re not wearing a blue wristband they are just their own person and, you know, know that!
Yeah make an educated decision based off of that… okay?
Do these events cost anything?
Nope, it’s free to attend though they might have a tip jar because it does cost money to either get permission to use certain areas or maybe just food that people bring, things like that.. it’s time spent, you know, any anything to organize could cost money.
And it says can I invite my friends who also cosplay?
Of course, these events are open to the public.
Then here’s a.. “I’m a photographer that would like to join.”
They want to be inclusive but they do check them out and make sure that they’re legit and safe for the cosplayers to deal with.
Because the reality of the situation is that there have been photographers that have taken advantage of cosplayers.
Don’t want to go into that, but yeah.. I understand their point of view here.
They take photos of the cosplayers at least most of them and then they have them fill out a little form.
It works out and I think it’s a good idea to have everyone know who is what.
Scott, Cosplay Banzai.. Photography Banzai.
I’ve been doing cosplay photos, but I haven’t been to one of your things before so… Well welcome!
Awesome welcome welcome!
Scott’s been doing this probably longer than me?
Two Thou… yeah!
The police did show up and talked and you know didn’t really cause any big problems, but it worked out so that was good.
This specific event was at a park in the Chicago suburbs area.
Very beautiful park.
There were water features.
There was a bridge.
Different spots that worked pretty well for photos, so I think they picked a nice location!
Photography wise I was using the Nikon Z5 with the 50 millimeter F/1.8s.
Having the two card slots in Nikon Z5 means an instant backup.
In a situation like this where my honor is on the line I want to make sure as much as possible that I’ll get something out of it.
With cosplay events like this is going to be a lot of editing after the fact.
I really don’t have time to do serious stuff on this quantity of photos.
That said, it worked out well.
I didn’t spend too much time on the editing afterwards.
I try to get a full body photo and then a close-up portrait style photo at the very least.
Maybe some other ones.. verticals is usually the standard type of photo I do with cosplay.
But horizontal is nice as well especially when the background is good.
So in a situation like this with some water in the background even though it’s blurred out it adds some additional interest to the photo.
So the gist is that I was just trying to do what I could in the moment not spending a huge amount of time per person, but getting a variety of photos for each person so that they got something out of it.
When I asked someone for a photo I want to make sure their time is worthwhile.
They get something nice out of it.
Then as the day went on I was able to get a little bit more detail.
More time spent with the cosplayers.
In this case got some water photos.
A little bit more interest to the backgrounds.
If you are a beginning photographer events like this are good to help you practice taking photos of people.
it’s very good for learning how to pose them.
How to interact in ways that work well to get the results that you’re both trying to achieve.
In this case directing with your hands.
Doing things to uhh position them without actually touching them is good.
Just so I can see bit of the blade.
There you go.
Just it’s right there?
Is that good?
That’s good!
See how my my hand is?
Yeah… there you go!
We’ll try that.
Wanna do some type of like?
Yeah, that’s good! Just have it a little flatter to the..
Rotate a little bit this way…
This way?
Uhh yourself.
Oh, myself? Okay!
Yeah, I’m just trying to avoid a bunch of people in the background.
Overall a fun event, worked well, well organized.
I enjoyed it!
Hopefully I’ll be able to go to one of their events in the future.
So there’s a look at the CosMeetup Chicago event from 2022.