*Warning: This is a loooooooooong post!*
Below you're going to find Kryptonian Warrior's guide, and personal views, on cosplaying and conventions within the UK. Everything I've written is my view, and only my view, on what to expect, what to avoid, how to prepare, and helpful tips on dressing up as your favourite characters and/or simply attending a convention to obtain autographs or experience the geek world throughout the year.
Hopefully some of this will be helpful, most of you reading it who are cosplayers or convention attendees already will know it all, and there will no doubt be some of you may not like what I've said... But it's about time I wrote something about this having experienced it for so long. I'm going to use a whole bunch of images, gifs, and videos etc to make my points and visualise what I'm going on about, so beware! :P
So first off here's me and why I'm writing this: I'm 35 years old, a father of two, a super-geek from very young and even more so now. I'm into comics/videogames/TV/movies/collectables/autographs and now cosplaying. I've been attending conventions up to 4 times per year every year for the last 10 years and in 2007 and 2008 I also attended the San Diego Comic Con in America too. I also owned and ran Red Sun Comics & Collectables one of the biggest and best comic and entertainment merchandise shops in Essex, if not the UK. This closed down in 2012 along with the online store. Before that, and still ongoing at the moment, I run Kryptonianwarrior.com with the occasional help and input from some like-minded geek friends. Although I've dressed up as characters for events before it's only been in the last 4 years (and more so in the last year) that I've cosplayed properly as various characters from TV, comics, or custom-created entities. Unfortunately I do not have, and have never had, the generic cosplay body or look. I'm now pretty much bald, I have a large and long head, and my body is lumpy in all the wrong places. I'll never be able to look like Superman or Spider-Man and I'm fully aware of that fact. I choose to cosplay masked or helmeted characters because of this! So there you have it, experience in spades! :)
So I'm going to start off with Cosplay (Costume-Playing).
MY COSPLAY HISTORY AND EXPERIENCE
Cosplaying is a strange and almost taboo thing in the "normal" world, something often mocked or looked down upon as a hobby for crazy, spotty teenagers craving attention and free hugs. An outlet for boys to dress up as Japanese girls and girls to dress up as male superheroes... It's something I myself mocked and shrugged off for years watching obviously unstable teens running around in event hallways pretending to battle each other or squealing horrendously whilst seeing friends or random characters they recognised walking around the room. My patience and toleration levels were non-existent when I first started attending conventions and was battling to get in, get my autographs, and get out as soon as physically possible, and even having young children at home I still got to the point were I literally wanted to punch some of these kids (and sometimes adults) in their woefully misguided faces. I'm a person who has a lot of internal physical problems and cannot stand or walk for too long without the need for a wheelchair part way through, and that just agitated me more. I'm physically worse now, but as you'll read I'm also more tolerant in my later years! Cosplay has recently become part of my convention life...
The first time I really dressed up to a public event was a company ball when I was in my early twenties (the year 2000 in fact). The theme was movie characters and the first X-Men movie had just come out. I hadn't attended a single con at this stage, never dressed up as a character in public, and certainly never experienced cosplay before. I dressed as Wolverine and cobbled together some black combat trousers, a black top, some toy dog tags, and grew my hair and beard out to the right length to try and mould into Hugh Jackman's hairstyle and huge sideburns etc. Then I had to make some claws, my first ever creation. I hack-sawed some cheap wood, spray painted it all silver and slipped some altered gloves over the top... and there were my adamantium claws, really badly done, but I was proud of them. Some people at the ball recognised who I was supposed to be, others thought I was some sort of crap Freddy Krueger, but I had a brilliant time and enjoyed my night thoroughly. I was the only one there dressed as a comic movie character. In those days I had no money to dress up or buy the correct stuff and I had no experience or knowledge in this respect at all anyway. Here I am doing my first cosplay:
My next time of dressing up was about 5 or so years later when I was attending cons and had a major Stargate SG-1 love affair going on. Over the course of a year I paid an extortionate amount of money for screen accurate/canon military gear and BB gun weapons (even a resin Zat gun mould from the U.S. and custom Zat leg holster, shoulder patches etc) to be absolutely 100% in line with what the team wore on the show. I still never really considered this "cosplaying" at this stage and certainly nothing like the other people around me dressing as Anime and Manga characters. This time was also a bit different as The Dark Knight had decided to join me at one con and also got himself all the same gear as I had to visit Collectormania Milton Keynes (when it was still in the shopping centre and not the football stadium). I donned this gear twice more after that (by myself), once to meet Amanda Tapping from SG-1 at London MCM and again at Collectormania the year after. This was my first proper go at being accurate and it was also my first time of having people ask for my photo and compliment the gear. Amanda Tapping and I had a photo shoot together and she said she'd never seen an attempt as good as mine... Even if she was just being kind, that cheered me up no end! This is me in SG-1 gear from that time:
So after this I knew in my mind that not only was spending good money to attain the proper look the best (and sometimes only) way to go, but you'd get recognition and enjoyment out of it. After this the next time I dressed up was for the opening of my store as the mascot "RED SUN" and another robot suit we obtained, along with a Rubies made Darth Vader costume for Halloween a year or two ago pictured below again:
Red Sun (my shop) was where everything changed. The store opening saw the 501st Legion (UK Star Wars costuming and charity group) attend as well as customers dressing up to see this shop our town had never had before. And this is where dressing as Red Sun got me firmly into cosplay... A couple of my staff members were already cosplayers at this stage but I still looked down on it and didn't understand what the hell they were doing, even though I'd technically done it myself. And I feel bad that I thought that way and laughed at the whole thing for quite a while. It was those staff and the consequent visits by UK Cosplay members to each of our special event days dressed as superheroes (Green Lanterns, Batman, Marvel characters etc) or movie characters that made me realise what cosplay was really about. The friendship these (quite clearly normal and intelligent) people had together, the accuracy of their handmade costumes, and their commitment to not breaking character in front of me and the public was a massive game changer. Watching Batman walking down the back steps to the shop was like watching THE ACTUAL BATMAN walking down the steps... A clearly child-like innocence of belief crept back in and I realised I wanted some of that coming my way.
Unfortunately Red Sun Red had to close down last year (2012) but I decided that this year I would attempt some real cosplay appearances and this time at the big events like MCM and LFCC. I attended MCM at Deathstroke which I put together myself, and then I recently attended LFCC '13 as Ant-Man (commissioned by 4th Wall Design) and a generic Star Wars Sith (also put together by myself). As I'll discuss later on I had some major issues with both LFCC costumes due to the July heat, but I'll explain specifics and remedies in a mo.
I will say one thing, I joined a group of DC cosplayers for a DC Comics photoshoot at MCM and it was a great experience. I managed to hide behind my mask which gave me some well-needed confidence, and loads of people took pics and commented on how cool my outfit was, and that was HUGE. I'll also say another thing - Coming up the escalator from the car park of LFCC up to the entrance of Earls Court 2 was one of the most frightening things I've ever done... Dressed in skin-tight spandex all over (when you're a bit podgier than you used to be in all the wrong places) and the helmet I honestly thought I was going to be instantly laughed at as I came over the top and into the crowds outside... However exactly the opposite happened and I had people coming up and asking for pics straight away, people saying it was an awesome costume, and even getting my bum pinched by an Ant-Man loving lady (her husband taking a pic at the time!). This was once again a revelation. I enjoyed yet another awesome photoshoot, got into 3 or more cosplay videos that are now being viewed around the world, and have some awesome professional photos taken of me in costume to boot. The Sith costume, though done well, started out a disaster (the first papier-mache mask took 5 days and fell apart) and then the day before LFCC I managed to salvage it all with an Eva -Foam version completed in less than 24 hours that looked better than I could have ever hoped. Unfortunately the heat from the event plus by own searing body temp melted all the glue and velcro backing and the suit and mask fell apart, leaving me only an hour in costume, but again I had loads of photos taken and positive comments shouted my way. Now I'm ready for more! Both my kids have dressed up at conventions before when they were younger, but now having seen me doing it properly they've asked me to make them cool costumes so that they can attend with me and have fun joining in! Unfortunately my current weight and my health problems (out of control Diabetes for one) will eventually stop me from enjoying cons and cosplay, but for now I'm hooked.
COSPLAYING FOR BEGINNERS
Beware there might be some swearing here and there below!
So now I'm going to go over cosplaying first and then general convention attending second with the hope of helping some of you get started, or helping you understand a little more.
Cosplay should be about finding a character you really want to portray. What do you like? Star Wars? Marvel or DC Comics? A well-known TV show? Find something you love and look at the characters within it. Who can you be? In some cases there are multiple versions of a character like Spider-Man or Wolverine. Sometimes over 20 different versions. Should you try to do one of the lesser known versions? My answer is yes. Be unique, be something that hasn't been seen before. If you're looking for positive attention, as most cosplayers are, then this is the way to go.
There is an ongoing and fairly cruel stigmata when it comes to bodyweight and size when cosplaying. Not everyone has the superhero physique and not everyone can pull off a cosplay accurately if they are not the right shape or size. This should never stop you from cosplaying that character. All you should ever be aware of, if you are indeed bothered by that kind of thing, is the negative attention you may receive. Again, this is not to say you shouldn't do it, or that it's wrong to do it. There are so many "cosplay fail" pics all over the internet and so many people who hate cosplayers due to being overweight, or in some recent instances underweight, and it's not fair or right to judge. I used to do that all the time, and now I don't. Well, like anyone who is truthful I think we can say that there are limits to everyone's ability to hold back opinions and sometimes no matter how ethical or immoral it is, we all still judge. Understand though that there are those of us that know what we cannot feasibly cosplay for those reasons, and then there are those who do not. The latter should be left to it and never ridiculed for trying.
There are those of course who will always defend weight and accuracy and tell you never to give a f**k. It's up to you to decide what's best for you and whether you do indeed care. I'm overweight and bald and I still do it... Use this to your advantage. Some people are born to cosplay a certain character, some are born never to have that luck and have to work to reach that goal.
Also the other thing to consider is "do you have the money and time to accurately create/buy the costume you're looking at". If not then you may again face ridicule, however perusing the correct places on the internet will always find you people who have created unbelievable costumes at ultra low prices if they know what they're doing. I'll list some sites later on.
This would obviously be considered the classic cosplay fail. Right or wrong?
The difference between expensive custom accuracy and shop bought, or home-made, cheapness. One is not simply "better" than the other, but the one on the left will no doubt have more pics taken and attain more fame, for positive reasons, than the one on the right. The people inside will not necessarily have different levels of fun wearing either costume though!
A purposeful "fail" which produces positive tongue-in-cheek reactions.
What is considered as a "cosplay win". The cosplayer looks exactly like her intended character and is naturally beautiful as well. Not everyone is lucky to be built this way.
Another cosplay win but this time the hard work of building an impressive physique is what counts, maybe more so than the costume. Not everyone can attain such a level, but people do try. Having a body that gives you confidence and brings you closer to your character will always give you a better experience, no matter what anyone tells you... unfortunately.
Attempting to create something "based" on a well-known character is as good, if not better sometimes, than looking exactly like the actual version from a movie/TV/comics. Money and the ability to customise your costume is sometimes key. This is an art and a science at the same time.
Those who don't care about opinions on weight or accuracy. Most of the cosplay community that I know in fact.
Sometimes you'll think to yourself that this chimp dressed as a superhero is better looking, and maybe even more accurate, than the cosplayer you're looking at. Try to keep it to yourself if that's the case. At least they're trying.
This is the reaction most people are looking for when another person sees their costume. Don't lie, it's what you want and if you are lucky enough to get it right it's also what you'll get.
This is the kind of reaction nobody wants to see regarding your cosplay. That heartbreaking moment where your dreams are shattered.
" What do you think of my costume?" - Not the reaction you're looking for
As in all walks of life and inside every job and career you'll ever have there are arseholes and there are genuinely good people. In the world of cosplay there are extreme versions of both. Over the last 10 years I have met my fair share. Always be prepared for strangers to mock you, for fellow cosplayers to shun and ignore you, for people you look up to to disappoint you, and to sometimes not get what you want. Also be prepared for the opposite, but never expect it! Cosplayers can be (and I stress not all cosplayers) fickle, unstable, socially inept, swept away with their character so as not be be coherent in an attempted conversation, insecure, sarcastic, egotistical, and depressed. The majority of people I have met have the traits above, but a lot do not. If you want to go around in costume by yourself that's fine, and I've done it before. But teaming up is better. Just beware of the weirdos, the pervs, and the downright nut jobs all around you. A guy came up to Amazon Princess and I this year and shook our hands, he then said "by the way, I have Aids" and walked of. That's just f*****d up and that's not an uncommon experience either.
Geekdom gives birth to strange individuals, but it also gives birth to strong characters with potential BFF possibilities too. Even the usually unique motorbiking phenomenon of nodding to another unknown biker (something you'll only know about properly if you ride a motorcycle like me) can be a huge boost to your ego and confidence when given by another cosplayer, especially if their outfit is awesome and you're feeling a bit low. In general if you find the right people to hook up with your're going to have an amount of fun. If you're a girl, and considered sexy too, beware the hordes of photographers that don't have the best of intentions for those photos. Happens all the time, but a lot of the con photographers are well known by the community and will usually give you their card. Also be aware that arguing or taking the piss out of a cosplayer at any time (internet or in person) is always unwise. You'll have the rest of the community on you like a pack of raving dogs within minutes and you'll be shunned shortly after. Keep classy and stay humble.
If you're commissioning a custom costume, or a piece of a costume, beware that you may not get what you want or get the item the way you want it. You may wait far too long for an item and it may be that your plans to have that item for a certain time or event don't happen. I've dealt with quite a few prop-makers over the last few years (more than 5 now) that are a law unto themselves and often either take too long to answer you or charge ludicrous amounts of money for the items they can offer you. They call themselves businesses, but they're really not. At the end of the day though they are trying to make a living like everyone else and prop-making is an expensive line to be in. Some people have given up their normal 9-5 careers to make props for this growing community and this is commendable. Unfortunately this is the decision you have to make based on how accurate you want your costume to be: Pay for quality that you can't do by yourself or do everything yourself and save your money. Maybe you have family or friends that have specific skills like being a seamstress, a painter, a handyman etc. If your costume has something like a helmet or mask it's probably likely you won't be able to do this well by yourself and have to turn to an expert, unless you want to go to the trouble of learning skills in sculpture, casting, and finishing.
I've had my fair share of catty fights with the cosplying community, with people who seem to think they sit on the thrones of Mount Olympus looking down on the meagre peasants that they trample on down below. I've seen derogatory comments about costumes and cosplayers from those that are in a position that should never do such a thing. Don't ever be one of these people, always stay humble and positive in every way that you can. If you become famous, or a sensation due to your attempts, act as an example.
There are many online cosplay communities that you can get tips and ideas from and most of them answer rapidly and accurately and can really give you the boost you need to get yourself going. You'll also find groups that will book photoshoots and videoshoots and some will even have their own tables at the conventions and events which you can visit and get info from. I'll list these at the end.
That moment a fellow cosplayer or someone you look up to treats you like crap. "I respected you..." :(
The reaction of one "normal" cosplayer to that crazy one you always meet...
That thought that goes through a cosplayer's head during some sort of catty conversation
Argue or take the piss out of a popular member of the cosplay community and suffer the wrath of all their followers, fans, or friends
That amazing moment that someone compliments your costume
That moment that another cosplayer smiles at you or gives you the nod of approval
That moment that you're not getting that commission when you want it, how you want it
Your unrealistic expectation of what you want your finished costume to do and look like
That moment when you see someone at the same event as you wearing the same character costume as you... but 100 times better than you
"Oh I'm sorry, I didn't know you were changing into your costume in there"
Cosplaying is about having fun and creating that smile of recognition on a strangers face, about meeting up with friends and like-minded people, about being something you're not (but would like to be), it's about showing your love for that little section of geekdom you support, and for some it's about ego-boosting, fame, and recognition.
This is from our own Mistress of Magic:
"To me, Cosplay at conventions means quite literally wearing your fandom on your sleeve. There's nothing more empowering than essentially becoming a character (or item - I've seen a few Tetris blocks and companion cubes!) that you love. Even something as simple as dressing in a tweed jacket with a bow tie and a fez to an elaborate motorized, light up set of wings and an elegant ball gown. Most of us cosplayers are geeks and we do what geeks do best, we express our love by (in some cases) dressing up in spandex and really feeling like a super hero.
Sadly there is an elite side of convention cosplaying as well, I say sadly because this seems to be somewhere drama springs up from often and can lead to cosplayers hating on other cosplayers. To me I like to think seeing other people in cosplay is uniting, we're all sharing our interests and love of "dressing up" but looking down at someone because they couldn't get a certain aspect of the costume quite perfect, they don't have the right body type or because they're dressed as a very popular character (Naruto is a very common one this happens to) is not in line with what I feel is the spirit of cosplaying.
For me personally I don't have a lot of skill but I enjoy creating my own versions of creatures in human form as it gives me a little wiggle room with design and means I can usually wear something comfortable as I'm not someone who goes to cons purely for cosplay, I like to enjoy the whole event and cosplay while I'm at it!"
If you want more info visit the following sites/pages:
Or you can always contact me through our Facebook page if you want more info: www.facebook.com/redsuncc
And here are 3 music videos featuring cosplayers from LFCC July '08, all three of which I'm in for a second or two as Ant-Man (and Amazon Princess is in there too as a female-style Darth Maul!). This will show you how much fun you can have and how awesome the costumes can be!
CONVENTIONS FOR BEGINNERS
OK, so now we've covered a bit about what cosplay is all about and what you should look out for I'm going to go over some points about conventions.
Figure out why you're going to the convention in the first place. To buy collectables you can't find anywhere else, to get autographs from famous people, or simply just to look around enjoy the atmosphere and meet up with friends, or take photos of the event and cosplayers etc.
If you're going for the guests you can do what I do and make a military-style plan up front. The convention websites usually list the guests and their autograph costs either directly or on their respective forums. List the guests in order of importance and when you get in you can go from 1 - 10 in order and make sure you have who you want and maybe drop who you don't really want. Obviously make sure you take enough cash to cover the maximum amount of autographs you're looking to get as well as extra for potential food and impulse purchases. £5 notes are usually a Godsend to the staff taking money as they run out at almost every event.
On top of making a list you should also look for the basic map layout, the talk and photoshoot timetables, and make a note of any cosplay or friend meetups so you can micro-manage your time properly.
For the July London Film and Comic Con every year I save up for a Gold Pass. This allows early entry, to go into any guest queue without a virtual queue ticket (negating the massive waiting times you sometimes face if your ticket is a high number etc), and gives you other benefits throughout the entire weekend. If you're going to MCM then you're going to be queueing for a long time regardless. I always get an early pass and queue to get in quickly, but I've learnt the hard way that getting there after 11am, maybe even 12pm, is the better way to go (unless you really need a certain autograph and don't want to be hanging around all day to get it).
Never rely on help from the staff working at the events. People sing their praises all the time but in my experience they are of little help in any regard and a lot of them are plain rude and sometimes aggressive (drunk on some kind of misguided power trip I always feel). Even in my wheelchair for the first two hours of LFCC this year I was treated like shit by at least 3 members of the event crew when I was asking simple questions or needed help. Having said that try and be extra polite and funny to some staff and you'll find you may have a very helpful member who does something more for you than they usually would, this also happens on the odd occasion.
Take a small bag with you which contains, a drink, some food that'll keep you going, some hand wash, a closable/lockable 8"x10" or A4 folder to keep your autographs in, and a suitable digital camera with a good zoom. Wear comfortable shoes for standing and walking, and the appropriate clothes for the time of year (although you'll almost always be sweating an hour in due to the hot bodies walking around and heating up the place). A change of clothes if you have room or have driven your car up is also recommended in Summer. If you can, go with a friend, it's always better when you're sharing an experience with someone else and you can always be in any photos taken if your friend takes them for you!
Popular or very famous guests will usually have "no photos or videos" posted up somewhere near them but that shouldn't deter you from trying. You can get into trouble or have arguments with the staff or guest reps if they catch you, and they almost always will, but as with all things if you're discreet and witty you'll usually be able to get a good pic. Zoom lenses are handy from a distance, turning off the flash and holding your camera down low whilst looking inconspicuous works well too. Wait for that gap between the attendees and make sure you focus well, then snap!
Make sure you know where the closest toilets are at all times and make sure you go before getting in any queue. Guest autograph queues can be 5 mins to an hour or more and believe me once you're in the queue you won't be able to leave and return to your old position.
When meeting a guest (especially one you idolise) try to hold your composure and think of what you want to say to them long before you get to them. Nine times out of ten you're going to be rushed through with anything from 2 seconds to 20 seconds to talk to them. In the past you could talk for ages with some guests and if you have kids and decide to take them with you then the guests who are parents themselves usually make a big deal out of yours and can spend ages talking or playing with them which enhances your own experience tenfold and can grant you some awesome picture moments. When offering to shake a guests hand make sure they were doing it before you got to them and that they don't have a bottle or two of hand wash on their table. Some guests hate shaking hands or hugging, so beware. Always say something like "I'm a huge fan of your work" rather than focusing on one film or TV series the guest was in. Remember that actors and actresses act as a job and like to be told that you like what they do and appreciate their hard work in the industry rather than "I really liked you in that one movie". Also remember though that they may test you and ask what your favourite part they've played was and you may have to discuss it. Don't let the experience be all about the autograph without a word said or a glance exchanged if you can help it. I've had fantastic experiences and terrible ones, some caused by what I've said, or by not responding with a level head due to panic. I'm used to it all now though! Do remember that the guests are normal human beings, no better or worse than you, and they're being paid to be there and meet fans like you. If they're smiling then you should be fine!
"Hover-Hands". Ever heard of this? If not then I'll explain. When having a photo with a guest at their table, or when in a photoshoot, there will come that point where you have to pose for the photo and have to choose a face to pull (or just a smile) and whether or not you're going to put your arm around that guest. The best case scenario is that you get really close with that male or female and manage a full-on hug or face on face cuddle and the worst case scenario is the dreaded "hover-hand" where you cannot bring yourself to actually touch the guest and instead you fake the hand touching them around the waist or shoulder and it noticeably hovers above their body. People who then view that pic see that you were either embarrassed, scared, or in some cases just sweaty and not happy to lay your hands on the actor/actress. Try and judge this by the body language of the guest and if there are other people in front of you see if they are getting full contact. I know of cases like Charisma Carpenter (from Buffy) who cancelled her photoshoot halfway through a Collectormania event because she couldn't stand the touching and hugging (I believe I heard some guy put his hand on her butt, but I don't know if that's true). Then there are guests who will quite literally squeeze the crap of you or even kiss you on the cheek during a photo... Every single guest is different.
If you're taking photos of cosplayers make sure that you're not doing it when they're sitting down, talking to friends, or having an obvious rest. Sitting down and taking off all or part of a costume is the universal sign of "I'm off duty, leave me alone until I'm back on". I had this experience at LFCC where I sat down and took some of my Sith kit off to make a phone call and a lady and her son had a go at me because they wanted to take a picture... Please remember than female cosplayers, however "hot" you may think they are, are human beings and no matter how low their top is, how short their skirt is, or how sexy you think their cosplay is, they are still human beings and don't want you drooling over them or telling them how hot or sexy they are. Simply say "awesome costume" and be on your way. They're not there to turn you on, they're there to implement their right to represent a character and not be judged in any way, including sexually.
If you're travelling a great distance to go to the con you might want to think about getting a hotel room nearby. Be aware that the closest ones will no doubt be booked up if you leave it too late. Cut the cost by sharing with friends!
Be efficient in everything you do at a convention. Go exactly where you want to go exactly when you want to go there and make sure you stick to a plan. If you're happy just to hover for hours however then by all means do so, I'm not the boss of you... :P
This is supposedly what you'll find at most conventions, although in America rather than UK, but it works both ways really!
Guests signing, what to expect
Guests who are happy to be there and pose for photos are the best!
Be prepared for guests who will suddenly forget they're supposed to be signing your autograph because and old friend from their past career turns up. Armin Shimmerman spoke to his Deep Space Nine co-star Andrew J. Robinson for over ten minutes about theatre shows they were both doing whilst he was half way through autographing a picture for me. He apologised, but it drained the life out of me waiting for them to finish talking and I couldn't be impolite.
Some guests you idolised as a kid live up to your expectations and strike up a conversation that you will always remember. David Hasselhoff went above and beyond whilst signing a pic for me and was so polite and interactive I had a huge smile on my face when I left him. Danny Glover on the other hand almost totally ignored me and when I asked for him to write "I'm too old for this shit" on the pic he looked like he was ready to punch me in the face and ended up literally slinging the picture at me when I was leaving...
The cardinal rule when photographing cosplayers!
Never ever fear the guest cuddle. If you want that perfect pic that will always make you smile when you look back at it go for it. This is me and Gigi Edgley (Chiana from Farscape) at SDCC '08, both having a very close double handed squeeze. I will always cherish that pic and that moment
This is a case of serious hover-hand. If in doubt ask the guest if you can put your amr round them for the pic, it never hurts to at least ask.
UK Convention links:
OK, so that's it. I may think about amending or updating this post very soon as I'm sure there are things I've forgotten or I've not said something in the way I should have. Either way these are my views and opinions and shouldn't reflect on anyone else in any way. Take my advice or don't, it's all good. :P