Comic Con Cosplay Etiquette 101

Comic Cons are some of the best people watching there is but there are some things that you should know before Photographing and Taking Video of Cosplayers.

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If you are a costume enthusiast like me you might find yourself giddy to be surrounded by all the amazing cosplay creativity that comes with con life. I'm not going to lie my absolute favorite parts of conventions is the cosplay. Whether it's the variety of Salt Lake Comic Con or the video game focus of PAX I just adore seeing all the amazing DIY costumes. While most cosplayers are flattered by the attention that their costumes bring, there are few things to keep in mind so that, in the midst of your excitement over seeing your favorite character from that obscure-but-awesome fandom come to life, you don't accidentally cross any lines.

Amazing Doctor Who weeping angel cosplay and comic con photo etiquette

  1. Always ask before taking pictures or videos. Most cosplayers are more than willing to pose for a picture, but make sure you ask permission before clicking that shutter.
  2. Respect the person in the costume. While it might be normal to throw an arm around your friends in photos, don't assume that's okay when posing for pictures with cosplayers. Sometimes the contact might damage their costume and, more than that, they are strangers - you've got to ask before touching strangers. If you want to put your arm around their shoulders or waist, ask first. Under no circumstance is it appropriate to try to touch a cosplayer inappropriately. Make sure to stay away from private areas. If their costume has patches of exposed skin, be extra considerate. And finally, if they don't say yes, that means no.
  3. Don't touch the costumes or props. Sometimes in the excitement over the awesomeness of a costume it might be easy to forget that there is someone in that thing. If the costume is oh-so-amazing and you're oh-so-curious about how something feels, do not try to sneak a touch. Oftentimes, costumes are more delicate than they look and some people just do not want to be touched even if it's through layers of gear. Politely ask if it's okay and respect their answer.
  4. Consider your timing. Cons are long and everyone - including cosplayers - needs to take breaks to eat and run to the bathroom. If they are sitting down for a bite, heading for the restroom, or talking on the phone, be patient and, if possible, wait for them to finish and ask them politely if they have time for a picture.
  5. Watch the flow of traffic. There will be a lot of people so when you do take a photo (after asking permission), step to the side so you're not smack in the middle of everyone else's way or blocking an emergency exit.
  6. Don't jump into someone else's picture. No one wants to show their friends pictures of themselves, that awesome cosplayer and that jerk of a stranger that forced himself into the shot. It takes time to get a good picture and there will often be a line of people wanting to get a picture with popular cosplayers. Don't just butt in. Wait your turn.
  7. Be nice. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. If you don't like the character that the cosplayer is dressed up as, you don't need to announce it. Skip any hateful talk, even if you think it's a playful joke. Hearing hateful comments (even if it's addressed to the character) can get old fast. Please don't criticize their costume, how it looks on them, how accurate it is or how it's made. Everyone comes with different abilities and experience and, in the end, this is about having fun.
  8. Don't go all crazy. Control your excitement.You are a stranger and even though you might interpret your own behavior as appreciation or excitement, screaming and running up to someone you don't know might just make the person terrified.
  9. Be extra mindful of kids. When kids are involved, keep all of the above tips in mind - times 10. Whether it's kids in cosplay or just nearby, be careful not to come on too aggressively in a way that might scare them. Of course, do not touch them. Kids in costume can be super cute, but always ask permission from their parents or the adult that is with them before taking their picture.
  10. Report inappropriate behavior. Finally, if you see a cosplayer being harassed or endangered, please report it.

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I originally posted this on the Salt Lake Comic Con blog. You also might like:

Costume Tips from Cosplay Pros - Rae Gun Ramblings #diy #comiccon #halloween

Fabulous tips for costume making from Cosplay Pros