gossamer88 wrote in post #18146601
So what are the rules? Is Jacob Javits a private place because you have to pay to get in? Am I in my right "not to ask" if I don't feel like asking?
If you bought a pass to the convention, the specifics will be laid out in the T&C of the pass. Every con has slightly different language.
Regarding your question that I bolded: The petapixel article covers it well enough.
You likely have the legal right to take a photo without asking. Otherwise, use your best judgment as to whether you need to ask to take a photo. If the subject is obviously standing and posing, and there's a throng of other photographers around, then snap away without the need to ask. If the subject is obviously rushing to get somewhere, or their costume is falling apart, or they're resting and half-dressed, then don't.
Note that you have the legal right to do a lot of things that will get you branded as a jerk and blacklisted in the community. The subject has the legal right to yell at you for taking photos even though they asked you not to. If you persist in being a jerk, word gets around. If enough people complain about you, the convention and/or the convention center have the legal right to kick you out without refund, and trespass you from the premises. However, none have the legal right to demand you delete images that you've already taken.
The number one rule is Wheaton's Law: "Don't be a dick."
Here's a copy-n-paste from a previous thing that I wrote on cosplay photo etiquette:
May 23, 2016 15:55 | #239
Quick run-down on cosplay photo etiquette.
You got three different scenarios:
1) Hallway snapshots, when you just see someone and want to take a quick picture.
Smile and ASK, nicely. You don't even have to verbally ask, just hold up your camera and flash a big friendly smile, and if the cosplayer is OK with it, they'll stop and pose. Don't be bashful, people worked hard on their costumes and love to have their picture taken. Then SAY THANKS, and if you have a business card or calling card, pass it to them.
1a) Sure, you CAN just take a candid snapshot without asking first, but [Unless you're a skilled candid/street photographer] it'll invariably be better if they stop and pose.
1b) If the cosplayer is obviously not "ready" to have their picture taken - they're resting, eating, fixing costume, in a hurry to get somewhere, visibly upset, etc - be kind and don't bug them, there'll be someone else in a great costume 15 seconds later.
1c) If you ask but the cosplayer says "No," don't take it personally; smile and say thanks anyway. They might be in a hurry or just grumpy or tired or whatever. While you're [probably] within your legal rights to take their picture even if they say "no," please don't be THAT GUY. There'll be someone else to photograph 15 seconds later.
1d) Sometimes when someone in a GREAT costume stops for a single photo, there will immediately be a crowd of cameras surrounding them. Use your best social skills to fit in and get a shot or two, while being mindful not to ruin anyone else's shot.
2) Pre-arranged group shoots.
You can sometimes find a schedule of these on the social media surrounding the con. These will be anywhere from a half-dozen up to several hundred cosplayers from the same genre/universe/game. Show up and take as many pictures as you like. However, if there's obviously a "lead" photographer or an organizer, try not to get underfoot or detract from their directions. A skilled photo group organizer will be able to ensure that all the cosplayers and photographers get some good photos. If you have what it takes to be that organizer or lead photographer, watch and learn, and organize/run a group shoot next time.
2a) before and after the big group-shoot, you can probably get lots of individual and small-group shots. Again, be polite and ask and say thanks. Be mindful of other photographers and cosplayers around you, don't monopolize anyone's time.
3) "Private" or pre-arranged shoots. In this case, you have a dedicated shoot with one cosplayer or a small group. You can arrange for these beforehand (Facebook, instagram, forum boards are a good way to get in touch), or sometimes find people at the con and arrange a shoot later in the day. Like any other non-cosplay shoot, do your best to set expectations beforehand: How much to charge*, how many photos the cosplayer should expect to receive, what's the timeframe for receiving the results, how much editing they can expect, what's their usage license after the fact.
* 3a) On charging for photo sessions. You're not going to get the same rates as you would for a family portrait session or a corporate session. The cosplay community just doesn't support that kind of rate yet. If you're skilled and have a good reputation and portfolio, you can get anywhere from $20-100 for a portrait session. If you're new and don't have a portfolio, anything more than "free" likely won't get you many takers.
3b) Some cons expressly prohibit photographers from charging for photos. (no comment as to whether they're actually able to enforce it)
3c) DON'T be creepy. Allow (or encourage) them to bring a friend or escort. Don't touch the subject. Photographers already get a bad enough rap as creeper GWCs, and if you're THAT GUY, word will spread fast.