Are you facing the hard choice of canceling an event and suddenly don’t have a nice place to photograph your new project? - Or do you just want to find a neat photo background locally for your latest cosplay?
Read on for a list of sites where you can find and book photo studios in your area if you are in the United States (and some in Canada too!)
Peerspace offers a wide range of bookable places in many zip codes, including lovely homes & photo studios across a range of budgets. This site services locations in the US & Canada.
Splacer is a similar site featuring bookable homes, studios, and venues spanning a range of budgets. This site features US-only locations at the moment.
Giggster is a booking site that features venues in some of the largest markets in the US & Canada. They are currently limited to bookings in a handful of metro areas, so this site may not cover your location yet.
Yelp has a page that aggregates exciting places to take pictures at! This can be hit and miss because not all the locations listed are bookable, but you may find free or low-budget options here with some digging.
Check Google! I’ve linked the search results for my state, but you can replace the CT in the link with your location’s abbreviation. This will bring up many scenic spots, from parks and arboretums to monuments and famous buildings in your area. You’ll have to do your own research into what these locations allow in terms of photoshoots, but this is another excellent way to find free and cheap sites for photographing your costumes.
Okay, full disclosure- This is a wedding site, but it’s also a great place to search for photographers and photo venues. Be upfront with any venue or photographer you are looking to book that this is a costume photoshoot, not wedding or engagement photos. Some, unfortunately, won’t want to work with cosplayers, but others will be open to accommodating cosplay - and may already be advertising shooting cosplay on their own websites!
Now that I’ve laid out some resources on where to find venues let’s go over the protocol for booking these places!
Make sure to follow these steps when booking venues for cosplay:
First, contact the venue and ask about its policy on allowing costumes at the venue. Some places are for weddings, portraits, or fashion projects only and do not allow cosplay.
If it’s not listed on the booking website, ask about the bathroom & changing facilities. Many photo studios provide a bathroom and a changing area, but outdoor venues occasionally do not have one or both of these. Plan accordingly.
If it’s an outdoor venue and you intend to bring more than a camera, ask about their equipment & tripod policy. Some sites do not allow lights or cameras that are not handheld.
If it’s outdoors, ask about their policy on rescheduling for inclement weather. Some places will allow cancelations or date changes, but others will not.
Lastly, if you intend to use props that look like weapons, check with the venue on what they allow or consider alternate costume props. This is especially important outdoors. To you, a giant prop may look comically fake, but to a passerby at 50 yards off, it may look authentic.
Booked locations obviously won’t be a perfect replacement for the convention scene. Still, it’s an option if you are comfortable shooting your own content, booking a local photographer, or know a friend who is handy with a camera.
Take some of that canceled travel budget & document your hard work in a pretty place!