Greetings and Happy New Year! Time for a new year of pretty cosplay photos!

I will be making some changes this year. The goal is to move to more of an at location model for shooting.  I would like to limit my at convention shooting as it’s harder to get around and I don’t like feeling rushed and dragging equipment everywhere.  At location is a better pace personally for me.

But that stuff will come shortly.  For now, it’s time to do something people have been waiting for…

 

2016 Survey Results! (Yes, I know this took forever)

It’s a new year and that’s typically when I make changes as far as packages and how I operate Rensuchan Photography. I ran a survey for a short while last year and intend to make this year’s changes based on the results of that survey. As such now is as good of a time as ever to release the results and comment.
 

When picking a photographer, which is your most important consideration?

28 responses
————
12 – Portfolio (Image Quality)
7 – Portfolio (Style / Feel of images)
4 – Price
2 – Photographer’s Reputation in the Community
1 – Photographer’s Experience
1 – Word of Mouth
1 – Other

Based on this I can conclude that most cosplayers are looking at the work that someone produces, whether that’s focused on the feel of the images or the overall quality, before making a decision on who to hire. This is mostly what I was expecting but I’m surprised that price didn’t have higher numbers.

 

Are you at all interested in purchasing physical prints of yourself in cosplay?

28 responses
————
13 – Yes
15 – No

This was about even. Personally in my years shooting I’ve only had a handful of people ask for prints so I was expecting lower but since it’s about 50% I will keep the option going forward.

 

Would you consider a short but much cheaper private session in which you are only guaranteed to get 1 photo back?

28 responses
————
8 – Yes
20 – No

I didn’t know what to expect personally from this question but the large majority of responders seem to not be interested in such an option. Based on that I will not be creating any sort of package like this.

 

Would you consider a reduced price private session in which a photographer does less post processing if the photos were still of sufficient quality?

28 responses
————
22 – Yes
6 – No

A pretty large majority said they’d still pay for this sort of session. I will be creating a package based on this response.

 

Would you consider a reduced price private session in which a photographer uses less equipment (such as not using strobes / flashes) if the photos were still of sufficient quality?

28 responses
————
25 – Yes
3 – No

This one got the most positive response. I’ll definitely be taking this into consideration but as certain weather conditions make it such that additional lighting isn’t necessary in my normal sessions, I don’t want to make higher paid clients feel as if they are getting less value if the situation doesn’t call for strobes. The less edits package is definitely easier to create.

 

What do you feel would be a fair price for a private photo session for up to 2 hours with 5 high quality digital photos returned? Consider it like a photo studio session with strobes / flash / reflectors used and post processing done after the shoot for the best quality images.

27 responses (one omitted due to $0 entry)
————
Mean (Average) – $70
Median – $70
Mode – $60
Minimum – $15
Maximum – $150

$70 is where my base price was in 2016 so this is on par with what I was charging. Most of the responses were distributed between $50 and $80. I believe this is around the range that a lot of photographers that provide what I do are charging and my package adjustments are going to reflect this.

I was a bit surprised that there were a number of responses between $15 and $35. If anyone that responded with a value lower than $50 wants to comment here or on Facebook, I’d be interested in hearing / discussing your reasons for that.

 

Personal Comments

There were two more fields of relevance on the survey. One was asking what would make you more likely to hire a photographer and the other was what would turn you off from hiring a photographer. Most of these responses were pretty straightforward… friendly photographers, patient photographers, good reputation, and communication were commonly repeated in the section for being a quality that would be a plus while rudeness, being creepy, and taking excessively long to return photos were the most repeated in the turn offs. There was, however, one comment that personally struck a nerve with me.

Photographing females only (by male photogs) gives me vibes that they are shooting for personal reasons and not for the customer’s sake.

Let me start with saying I can understand caution in ways here. With the whole cosplay is not consent thing it never hurts to be skeptical in nature and investigate people before you interact / work with them. There are some real creeps and manipulative people out there and the cosplay community is large enough at this point for you to find out who those people are real quick.

Regarding the personal reasons bit… Personally, I believe that everyone that picks up a camera and shoots has a personal reason behind it. People don’t just start something without some sort of personal drive. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s experience, sometimes it might be for reasons nobody will ever know. But I’ll be blunt and honest here… unless someone’s intent is clearly illegal or immoral, I don’t care what their personal reason is. Everyone has a personal motivation for what they do even if they are claiming their goals are altruistic. But in the end, if a photographer is friendly, respectful, and doesn’t do anything to make a subject uncomfortable then those are the things that matter in the session and if they aren’t doing something wrong with the photos in the end then that’s what matters at that point.

That being said, it’s undeniable that my portfolio is majority female but that’s unlikely to change. There are two things I want to say to address this… one logical, and one personal.

First the logical piece.

Since I started doing paid shoots in summer of 2012 charging $25 for 7 photos and not being incredibly good at it, I can count on one hand the number of times a male has been my primary contact for a photo shoot. The number of times a male has contacted me as the sole subject of a shoot is zero. Every time I’ve worked with a male in a paid shoot it’s been as part of a group or couple. In short, the level of demand for my services from males is pretty abysmal. I don’t reject males, they just don’t sign up.

As for the personal side, I’m a straight male photographer that likes cutesy slice of life, idol, and magical girl anime primarily over any other type. This isn’t just a new thing either… if you go back 16 years ago when I first got into anime I thought Tomoyo from CardCaptor Sakura was the most adorable character on earth. The characters I identify the most with in anime tend to be females. I play cute JPRGs like the Atelier series that primarily have female leads. My number two hobby in money spent (behind Photography of course) is ball-jointed dolls which is a largely female dominated hobby… and most of my dolls are pretty / adorable girls. So with all of that being said, while there are some male characters I certainly enjoy and would be happy to take photos of, even my hallway shots are primarily female because I find the cute / pretty female aesthetic appealing and tend to identify with female characters.

I believe that it’s most important to judge an individual on who they are and feel it’s unfair to judge a person’s intent on their portfolio when you haven’t gotten a chance to know them.

And with that, I’m out for now. I’m not going to promise regular blog updates in 2017 because I know I’ll just break that promise but I’ll try to write more frequently.

Package updates and opening shoots for Shuto Con will happen before the end of this week.

~rensuchan

Share
It’s 2017! | 2017 | Life & Events, Photography | Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *