Coconut Jacobs (Emma Frost) Photo by TEA (Through the Eyes of Aitch Photography)
You put so much time and effort into building out your costume, including source materials from multiple places around the world, months in advance. Then when you are ready to show the world, you post a photo, and the public response is lackluster. It makes you wonder: “Why does no one care about my cosplay?”
The lack of excitement and social engagement actually makes some people want to quit cosplay altogether. But the solution is not to stop doing what you enjoy. The answer is to figure out the problem and fix it.
Here are 5 main reason why no one cares about your cosplay.
1. You are not willing to go the extra mile.
I am based in Maryland so that is where many of the Urban Cosplayers events happen. Yesterday, was day two of Winter Storm Gia in the Northeast and Midwest. A call was put out on Facebook at Urban Cosplayers and Black Cosplayers for a free photoshoot.
Harry, the photographer at EyesofAitch, contacted me about doing cosplay shots in the freshly fallen snow. An amazing setting for sure. The natural white-out background would make for some interesting shots.
The posts reached over 4000 people. Many of whom are in the Maryland, Virginia, DC area, (or they know other cosplayers in the area).
Yes, yes, I understand that we were in the middle of Snowmageddon 2019, but why let a little bit of snow stop you?
To get amazing shots you have to be willing to go the extra mile.
Too many cosplayers don’t take the time nor the effort to get great photos of their cosplay, outside of convention time. You put so much work into building the perfect ensemble to have the only pictures of you, in cosplay, taken with someone’s 7-year-old fuzzy focus iPhone.
Had other cosplayers came out they would have got some fantastic shots like this:
2. You won’t pay for professional photography
It saddens me when I see a great cosplay, but the photo is filled with bad lighting, random people in the background, or your bags on the floor and still in the frame. I have seen some cosplays that would have been amazing shots if only the cosplayers took the time to get a proper professional photo.
One of the main pictures that
I absolutely love this cosplay, it’s so adorable!
However, everything about this photo is wrong in so many ways. Too many other distracting elements take away from the sheer awesomeness of the cosplay. These ladies look amazing; everything else does not.
I have searched high and low for a better picture, but there are none to be found. This photo is the sole memorialization to date.
I totally get that you expect to take photos at the conventions. That’s a part of the process. But what you don’t want is for those pictures to be your primary and only representation.
You can get professional photos for as little as $50. You spend more than $50 every time you step foot into Hobby Lobby or browse Amazon. You can afford to forego one craft store shopping trip to get keepsakes that will last a lifetime.
Just remember, you get what you pay for. $50 bucks is not a lot in photography terms, it may not be the most artistic shots. But even a $50 photo session is better than no session at all.
***Results of professional photography vs. camera phone***
These are the exact same picture ⬇. They were taken at the same time. But one was snapped with a camera phone while the other was skillfully crafted by a professional photographer with a professional camera and lighting.
Below is another example of the same concept. This time I have the photographer and the cosplayer in the frame. You can see the setup. I took a photo of a photo being taken. (That is some Inception type of stuff….a dream within a dream…)
This is the result of what the photo above produced. It is literally like night and day. I promise you, it is the same shot… the difference is crazy, right? Almost mind-blowing.
As you can see it’s a world of difference in how awesome the professional photo looks compared to just having your cosplay shot via camera phone.
Currently, Harry charges $200 an hour to capture this kind of emotion and realism in one photo. But he was offering his services for free this weekend… and bearly anyone took him up on the offer. It was definitely a missed opportunity.
3. You cosplay obscure characters.
You cannot (or should not) get upset if people don’t care about your cosplay when you always dress as an axillary character from an obscure series. Dressing as bad guy #6 from the second issue of (insert random comic), will not get people excited to see what else you have to offer.
Of course, I am not saying you should never cosplay lesser-known characters. We need variety. It’s underwhelming and boring to see 934 Deadpools at a gathering.
It’s refreshing to see different characters portrayed. However, you have to give the people what they want if you want them to be interested in your cosplay adventures. And people want to look at characters that they recognize. So go ahead, provide the people with 80% of what they want, the popular characters. Then you can do 20% of what you want, the characters that no one knows off-hand. Compromise. Everyone is happy.
4. You don’t engage on social media.
How many times have you posted an amazing picture of yourself in cosplay and that was it? You never replied to any of the comments. You never answered any of the questions. You clicked ‘publish’ then moved on to the next project and forgot about the one you just did.
This is a problem I see with many cosplayers across the board.
Honestly, what makes you think you are so great that you cannot be bothered to reply to others who are actually interested in you and the art you just produced? Why do you think you are above social engagement?
When you grab someone’s attention with a great cosplay, the hardest thing to do is to keep that attention. However, one of the simplest things you can do is just reply to the messages they left you on the page. Recognize someone who recognized you.
If someone asks you what type of lipstick you wore.
You answer them.
If they ask you how you did the build-out for your armor, you give them a brief description of how you did it, or you direct them to your tutorial.
Don’t just gloss over that person’s comment.
Social media is a tough field. You have to work hard for every “heart”, “share”, and “like”. You have to be engaging if you want others to engage with you.
5. You don’t collaborate or network with other cosplayers.
This is an awful condition that we as a community face all the time. Everyone is just out for themselves. Very few of us cosplayers want to collaborate or help out other cosplayers.
I think it’s 50% because we, as a group, aren’t very good at communication. It’s hard to coordinate if it’s not coordination for an in-game raid or group PvP (that is player vs. player for all you non-gamers out there).
Having to actually have in-person social interaction is super scary for some.
But you will never progress and gain traction if you don’t learn some people skills. Learn to network, be willing to help each other out.
If you can get two, three, or four … creative people collaborating with each other, you can make magic.
The other 50% is just selfishness.
You think that if you take the time to promote someone else, then you will lose followers to the one you supported. But that’s not really how any of this works.
You are an artist. People are allowed to like more than one artist at a time. Trying to hold on to all your fans and followers by saying look at me-me-me and no one else might end up costing you valuable social cred.
I’m not saying you should not self-promote. Of course, you should. But there is enough room in the world from everyone. Give a little love to your neighbor.
And remember, we are all just #CreativePeopleCreating
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Writer, Cosplayer, Wine Lover.
Founder and Editor-in-chief for Urban Cosplayers, a website dedicated to spreading the representation of People of Color (PoC) in the cosplay culture.