How to start a local cosplay group

It’s pretty easy to find a group that enjoys sports, cars or the outdoors… but what about the less-popular hobby of cosplay? (this applies to many other hobbies, too)

If you desire something that doesn’t exist yet, the chances are that others feel the same way as you. So start it!

The internet is a beautiful tool for communication and bringing people together. I used meetup.com AND Facebook to make a fun local group. A simple title works best to get the message across, so I used “DC Cosplay Photo Shoots.”

Figure out the “why do we exist” factor and write it down. Make sure it’s somewhere public where the rest of the group can see it. This will be your backbone to support all your future decisions.

 

Have some activities planned out. This doesn’t have to be too complicated. It could be something as simple as a meet & greet or video game night and go from there.

 

  1. Ask people for opinions!
    1. You can’t do everything on your own – nobody can. Your members will come up with stuff you might never have thought of. I have learned SO much about making a group by asking members who are just as interested in making DC Cosplay Photo Shoots grow and improve.
  2. Be patient. They will come.
  3. Once you find a few interested members, urge them to tell their friends. This is how word can spread and your group can grow!

 

Recap:

  • Find out if there’s already a group in the area
  • Make an easy group name & motto
  • Start simple
  • Ask for help

 

Yes, I know that this is a little bit of work. I myself am an ‘artsy’ type that tends to avoid organization and guidelines. But I did it! And so can you! Let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to help! ūüôā

Finding free photographers (4/4) – Meetup.com

Let’s just get this part out of the way: meetup.com is NOT a dating site. It’s a place where people with similar interests can meet up to enjoy these interests together (i.e. sports, wine, underwater basket weaving, etc.).

That’s why it’s oh-so-easy to find a photography group and maybe a good photographer that you want to work with. But it requires work. More work than my other strategy tips for getting a good photographer for free (see previous posts)

Meetup.com doesn’t work the same as a lot of social sites. You can’t just post into a forum and have others actively respond and interact with you. There are ‘Discussion’ forums, but not many people frequent them, and you can’t really put up a billboard saying “HEY SOMEONE COME SHOOT ME IN MY COSTUME FOR FREE.” You will need a bit of finesse to find someone you like, but that work could turn out some really wonderful results.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Find a photography group
  2. Join it
  3. Look through the photos in the group
  4. Contact a photographer who has photos you really enjoy
  5. Magic

Photography finds (magical)

“Yes, I think I’ll join ALL OF THEM”

.
WOW

“Hmm, this ‘Ben’ guy has some cool photos. I shall message him.”

 

Ben

Let the magical journey begin!

 

Problems (dun dun duuuun)

Okay, so many photography groups deal with the nudity realm… which is why your offer of something different might be very appealing. HOWEVER, there are people in the world who will want you to take your clothes off for photos. If you’re not comfortable with their request, move to another photographer. You’re at a disadvantage when you approach a photographer first, because they hold the bartering cards in the deal. Stay strong in your convictions and keep searching for a photographer who is right for you. (Now this is starting to sound like a dating site, lol!)

 

Articles in Finding Photographer series:

The basics

Facebook

Model websites

Finding free photographers (3/4) – Model sites

There are several free sites for models, photographers, and designers to meet up for fun shoots. If you’re a cosplayer, finding a decent photographer here can be very easy! Many photographers are looking for something unique to shoot, so you’ll blow them out of the water by having some cool costumes for them to work with. If I want to quickly find TONS of photographers, I use modelmayhem.com. Many modeling sites have similar layouts to what I’m about to walk you through. Here’s how I do it:

Click on ‘Castings’.

MM1

Casting Call or Availability Notice. Choosing is up to you, but there are TONS of models available to photographers, and your notice might be lost in the sauce. If you have a specific theme in mind, try going for the Casting Call.

MM2

This is where you want to start selling yourself as a good shoot idea .

MM3

Here are some details on my mock-up post. I put the most recognizable characters up at the top and added a bit extra information for characters people might not know. Notice how I didn’t use the word ‘cosplay.’ Non-cosplayers might not understand, and photographers might pass you up because they don’t know what cosplay is. Speak to their understanding.

MM4

If you’re a bit impatient on the waiting, you can find photographers who have an availability notice up. There might not be many, depending on your location, but it’s worth a shot! Here’s what I pulled up with a quick search. ūüôā

MM6

 

Now sit back and wait for messages!

Photographers

 

Articles in Finding Photographer series:

The basics

Facebook

Meetup.com

Finding free photographers (2/4) – Facebook

If you’re as much of a Facebook fanatic as I am, you probably spend a good chunk of your time on the site. Why not use this time to your advantage!

 

  1. When you’re going to a convention and want decent photos of your costume, take a quick selfie/ full-body a few days before. Post these photos on the convention’s Facebook page and ask if any photographers want to do a free photo shoot. Many people will show pictures of the character they are GOING to be, but looking at an animated character doesn’t have the same impact as seeing the real deal. Stand out above the rest!

My first time wearing my entire Snow White before Otakon. It was a test, but I still posted it and got a lot of great responses!

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  1. Join a FB photography group. There are people from ALL ranges of photography skills and they’ll likely be very excited to try shooting a different style of model (that’s you!), even if they don’t know your character. Post a list of costumes you own and see if anyone wants to work with you.
    • Advertise yourself as a FREE model. They might not know what ‚Äėcosplay‚Äô is, but enthusiastic free models aren‚Äôt always easy to come by.
    • Choose your photography group carefully. If they focus on nature shots, cars, nudes, etc. they might be less interested in costume photos. (Still might be worth a try)

 

In my next post I‚Äôll go over some tips for advertising on free modeling websites. ūüôā

 

Articles in Finding Photographer series:

The basics

Model websites

Meetup.com