Sunday, October 10, 2010

IMO - Paid Photoshoot

Fellow photographer Beethy recently started a discussion on photoshoot-and-charging on his journal. "Should photographers charge for their service" is like one of the most frequently discussed/argued topics in the cosplay community. If you are a professional photographer unfamiliar with the cosplay scene you will be amazed by how unlikely cosplayers are willing to pay for your service.

The original discussion posted on Beethy's blog: link

People have all sort of reasons why photoshoots should be free. We have photographers aiming only to build their portfolio and/or practice their skill and thus feel bad charging; we have cosplayers even suggesting that photographers should be the ones paying because cosplayers are spending lots of time on their costumes and they are also the one modeling for the photographers; we also have people who think charging for cosplay shoots will eventually turn the cosplay circle into a commercial hellhole where everything is about $$$.

Personally I am not against photographers charging for their service. It make perfect sense to me for an artist to get paid for the time, professionalism and expertise they put in on a project. Just like cosplayers getting paid on commissioned costumes/accessories. Photographers are free to simply put up a price and start charging for their service, be it $10/hr, $100/hr, $1000/hr, etc etc...

However, the thing is most cosplayers don't have a budge for photoshoots and thus won't be willing to spend money on photography service. Not so much because they don't have the money but because most of them treat cosplaying as a hobby and fancy photographs is not really necessary for them to enjoy a good time.

I think photographers shouldn't expect *every* cosplayers to pay for your service. Just like you don't bust into a wedding, take pictures and demand the couples to pay you. There are people who are willing to pay for excellent photographs. However I do think a different marketing strategy/business model should be used due to the lower demand for photography service in the cosplay community...


  1. "most cosplayers don't have a budge (sic) for photoshoots"

    I've always come to the conclusion this is most important, and with good reason: neither cosplayers nor photographers generally have a profit motivation in shooting. In modeling vs. being a photographer in the real world, normally the one who pays is the one who financially benefits from the shots being taken. Since that doesn't generally happen in cosplay photography, it's more than sound that neither side really has much room to charge.

    I've always figured, at least for me, that since I don't make any serious money doing this, that charging or paying is not worth the cost in poor repoire from making money the issue.

  2. I agree. If you're in artist alley and you like a certain artist's artwork, you pay for it. If you like a photographer's artwork, I think the same should apply. I understand that most cosplayers know the blood, sweat, and tears put behind their costumes. Most people don't realize that there's a lot of work also behind a photo. For many, it's not just a click of a button.

    Cosplay photography is a hobby and as a hobby, you should be able to take pictures of who you want. If someone asks you to shoot and you weren't going to shoot them before, why not ask for compensation? Especially when editing time is involved.