We’re here for the highly anticipated geek and pop culture event of the year, San Diego Comic Con. With over 150,000 in attendance in 2015, Comic Con is going to be massive this year. With celebrities, cosplayers, and people from all over the globe in tow, Comic Con, whether on Harbor Drive or across the pond, is a photographer’s paradise. So, we’ve got a couple of tips that will make documenting this con, or any con, a breeze.
Pack the night before and take inventory
List equipment, electronic devices, and their serial numbers on a spreadsheet or notebook. This list ends up being a life-saver in the event any items are lost or stolen. Don’t forget to list your cables, batteries, cards, hard drives, and even badges.
Plan ahead and take what you need
Are you working as press and are scheduled to cover certain events? Are you documenting the night life and need to photograph in low-light? Are you on foot or will you need to set up a backdrop and lighting? Pack for the day according to the assignment and for how many hours you will be on your feet. There’s no need to lug around bags of gear through these crowds. But, do use that extra pocket for snacks and water. And remember, your phone and cameras will die.
Know your shuttle stops
Lugging around that gear? Ask the front desk at your hotel about shuttle times. Often times, they are complimentary services; so, why not take advantage of not having to walk 20 minutes through a downtown area with thousands of dollars in equipment on your back.
Not staying at a hotel? Keep in mind: PARKING IS NON EXISTENT. Do yourself a favor and request an Uber or Lyft vehicle to and from the convention.
Set your white balance
Do this as soon as you enter a building or change locations. It’s basic, we know; but, it’s a surprisingly easy step to forget.
Keep it on
You never know what is going to happen at any given second. So, keep that iphone, GoPro, point and shoot, or DSLR close by and ready.
Back it up
When there’s downtime, back up your photos! When done, wipe the card. Format. Repeat. There’s nothing worse than a full SD card in the middle of a shoot day.
Keep up on what’s trending
Social media is a photographer’s best friend. See what’s happening in real time, discover cool events and group shoots, which are highly popular in the cosplay scene, and make contact with possible subjects. Oh, and if there’s an app, download that too. It will usually have everything you need to easily navigate the con floor and surrounding areas.
There’s more than the convention
The panels, the signings, and the convention floor are just the tip of the iceberg: Comic Con takes practically takes over the city.
Keep it professional
When it comes to keeping it professional, remember the golden three:
When in doubt, ask – For the most part, attendees, cosplayers, and recognizable faces are usually very nice and accommodating, within reason, when it comes to taking their picture. Just ask, and always exercise con etiquette.
Print model releases – Have them handy if you plan on shooting with a setup or plan on using the photos or video for a for-profit project.
Network – Exchange business cards or swap instagram handles. Many a professional relationship have been forged at conventions.
Because photographers are given the task of documenting these major events, they forget to make time to actually experience the event themselves. Take occasional breaks, don’t forget to eat, and enjoy the sights.