This has been asked of me by quite a few people on how I find photographers that are good at showcasing my costume while also being good people in the community. I hope this is helpful for your next photo shoot! It all boils down to researching for yourself. A photographer that is good for me, may not be for you. These are just the tips that I use.
If you have a Facebook, you should definitely join a group, or even several groups that pertain to the convention you are planning on going to. Some are really organized and have lists of photographers and their handles on other social media in order to check out their portfolio. Most of the time, serious photographers will have a separate Instagram or Facebook specifically for their photography and they'll have a few shots that they've taken. You can see specifically what they are best at. Most will have a specific style that can be really prominent, even in a few shots.
That being said, you can also figure out if this photographer will only have a specific range that they will feature. Unfortunately, these camera-wielders do have a tendency to be fatphobic or even prejudiced towards white cosplayers. Unfortunately, I have encountered and shot with one or two in the past, and therefore will not be featured on my site. With finding a good photographer, you can also ask around to your friends, or if there is a photographer you are interested in, you can ask some of the models they have shot with. I have had a couple of people ask who are available around Saint Louis, and I can proudly say Mouzycat Cosplay Photography, or even MckeltiePhotography. Both are amazing, safe, and worth the time and money you are giving them.
Another aspect of finding your dream photographer is making sure they are safe. Especially right now, there are a handful of predators masked as good people. If the photographer says they don't want other people there (A reasonable number of course. Don't invite your whole family if it's just you.) RUN. Especially men are hella guilty of being predators and taking advantage of newer cosplayers. If you don't feel safe, you probably aren't. If you need to, bring your S.O., bring a close friend, bring a trusted adult (ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE UNDERAGE.) If the photographer has a problem with this, find someone else. It breaks my heart to see others being taken advantage of, and especially those that don't have a lot of knowledge on cosplay photography.
When I speak on being taken advantage of, I don't just mean sexually. We work hard on our cosplays and some of us wanna show em off to the whole internet! Knowing a photographer's turn-around time is really important, and can also be found either by asking the models or photographer. When figuring out turn around time, please also keep in mind that during a convention, the more popular the photographer, the longer the turn around. I myself have waited upwards of 3 months to get photos, so be prepared to wait a reasonable time for those sweet sweet photos.
You also need to find a reasonable price. I'm not trying to talk down photographer's prices, but if it's out of your budget, save your money and get them at the next con. If you talk down their prices, 9/10, you're a jerk (some photographers do have some outrageous prices, but I'm not going to tell them how to run their businesses.) Just figure out what your budget is and work with it. You also might be able to get slight discounts for groups, but you'll have to speak with the photographer personally. And depending on your reasoning of why you want this photographer, you may need to talk to them about pricing for print rights. Print rights are what you need to be able to make and sell prints of your cosplays. Like I have done with Mouzycat. Some do a flat fee and others will request a certain percentage. Figuring that out helps you make money back from the shoot and helps support the amazing photographer you choose.
Hopefully, this has educated you a little and help you find the next perfect photographer for your amazing photo shoot. Please remember to also credit your photographer in your posts so that they can also further their reach and work on their portfolio for better shoots in the future! If you need references for good photographers, you can always check out my interviews of photographers in the other part of this blog. Happy photo hunting!