Beginner’s Guide: Starting a Cosplay Page

As cosplayers, we don’t necessarily think of ourselves as a “brand”, but we are essentially marketing ourselves to our viewers… even if we aren’t selling them anything. Your brand will be a guideline on what and how you post in the future, so before you start a cosplay page, please consider the following:

 

  1. What outlet should I use? (Website, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
    • The type of posts you make might determine the best place to put your product. Do you post often? Do you make lengthy posts? Are you posts heavily image-driven? Do you like to schedule posts?
  2. What direction do I want my page to go?
    • What is your main reason for having a page? Tutorials? Updates on costume progress? Reblogging cool cosplay-related things?
  3. What name will I use?
    • Make sure this is something that you identify as. For instance, I use “Life Of Cosplay” because I update on everything in my life that involves cosplay.
    • Do you want it to be unique? Easy to remember? Easy to spell? Remember that this name will STICK WITH YOU FOREVER.
    • How many variations of this cosplay name is there already?
      • Initially I chose “Peachy Cosplay” as my page, but realized there are several pages out there with a similar name.

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! 🙂

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 (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 ‘cosplay’ is, but enthusiastic free models aren’t 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’ll go over some tips for advertising on free modeling websites. 🙂

 

Articles in Finding Photographer series:

The basics

Model websites

Meetup.com

Finding free photographers (1/4)

Whether you buy your costume, make it yourself or find something in your closet to throw together… you’re probably going to want a picture of it. And you’re not alone! I myself have spent hours online searching through google to find photos of myself that people snapped at conventions. They’re usually not a very pretty sight.

If you want better quality photos, you usually end up paying through the nose for a ½ hour photo shoot at the con, or spending 5 minutes in a tiny photo booth setup in the corner of the dealer’s room. This is not for me. And if it’s not for you, I have found a solution!

There are plenty of photographers out there who want to shoot you just as much as you want to document your amazing costume. All you have to do is sign up for model websites or group meetups. It is that. Easy. Below are few places I recommend trying out. I will go over some of the benefits and ways to advertise yourself on each site in the next couple of posts.

(Click for direct link)

1. ModelMayhem.com
2. Facebook.com
3. Meetup.com