2 Browncoats, a Nightwing, and a…a…Hey, What is That, Anyway?
This past weekend I went to the Charlotte Mini-Con, which is a small scale Comicon that took place at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte. It was my first con. If I have any say in the matter it won’t be my last either. I’ve had plenty of friends who have done various cons through college and after so they had plenty of advice to give me. My favorite being, “Bring your camera and take lots of pictures,” because I didn’t plan on doing that…
All kidding aside though, when I first heard about the Mini-Con one of the major reasons I wanted to go was for the photo opportunities. I admit it; I collected comic books as a kid, and even into my 20s. I remember growing up watching all of the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve ad nauseum, and I even remember my dad once bringing me a reprint copy of Action Comics #1 (First appearance of Superman), a few old Batman comics. When I started collecting myself I was a Marvel kid, mostly X-Men.
So going into the Mini-Con, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I had a feeling it would be about on par with what I saw. When we got there, the Ecto-1 was parked outside, and once you went in, it was literally wall to wall comic books and merchandise. It was enough to make an old fanboy drool…just a little.
It seemed like it took a little while for things to warm up, but once they did they really got going. There were the obligatory Stormtroopers and Klingons. I saw Dr. Who in a few variations, a very lovely female Nightwing who was tiny and spry. It took me almost 2 hours to get her photo because every time I spotted her she was gone in an instant. Supergirl walked in on the arm of Snake-Eyes. I saw a version of the Joker that I had never seen before (Gold/Yellow suit instead of purple). A very convincing Kaylee and Jayne. A Dark Knight Joker and Catwoman, as well as an old-school Nightcrawler and someone that I assume is from the world of Mario, but honestly, no one I talked to could figure out who she was supposed to be. The best description I have is an orange jumpsuit, large freckles, and carrying a mop.
Now, part of the reason I’m writing this post is because although any cosplayer wants to be photographed, or at least should, especially with the effort they put into the details, it doesn’t mean that as a photographer you shouldn’t ask permission to take the photo.
In a crowded place like a comicon, I would say that it doesn’t even have to be a verbal question and answer. A nod, or simple gesture such as lifting your camera should be sufficient. On the off chance that someone doesn’t want their photo taken ***gasp*** respect their wishes and don’t take the shot.
The biggest problems to overcome at a con though are lighting and distance. There are plenty of bright lights, but I would recommend a flash, unless you can be that steady, and your subject is not moving.
Distance can be a problem for two reasons. 1) Getting enough distance to your subject. Most cosplayers put A LOT of time and effort into their costume. Therefore they would like to get a full body shot. This can be a huge issue when you’re in a crowded room. If you use a wide angle lens you risk distorting your subject. If you use a longer lens (85-135mm typically), you have to back up more, and with that many people the gap won’t be there for long. 2) Getting closer to your subject. I know this is the exact opposite problem from the one that was stated above, but it can go both ways. For example, at the Mini Con, they had this awesome backdrop to use that was designed to look like an Action Figure’s packaging. If you backed up enough to get the whole thing in there, the person was usually dwarfed by the size of this thing. It was still awesome though. Not to mention that during times when there are a lot of cosplayers on the stage, there are also typically a lot of photographers on stage.
Unfortunately, I was unable to stick around for the official costume contest, so I know I missed out on a few other costumes, but overall I had a great time. I think part of the fun was that I went with a friend who had almost no experience with comic books in general, so it was fun being the tour guide even if I only knew a little bit more than they did.
Anyway, I think that’s enough for this week.
Keywords: Charlotte, Comicon, Comics, Cosplay, Distance, Etiquette, Focal Length, Grady Cole Center, Mini-Con, Tips
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