This year, in a brilliant move, Otakon allowed people to submit official photoshoots for the convention schedule. There were three locations, all of which had been popular cosplay areas in prior years, each holding shoots from opening until closing of the con each day. I think the main idea was to keep these popular locations more organized resulting in less traffic jams which I believe they succeeded in. I hope it also brought more cosplayers to the shoots as well as fans and photographers. I know it helped me since they only way I had attended any photoshoots in the past was through word-of-mouth or by asking cosplayers during the convention.
The biggest oversight may have been leaving off the incredibly popular Skywalk as a fourth photoshoot location. It is a huge area connecting the BCC to some of the hotels and it was packed all day, every day, with cosplay shoots. It also has enough area to host at least four shoots at once. However, it may be that since it isn’t inside the convention center Otakon can’t officially schedule events in that area.
In the future, I’d like to see more staff, I actually saw no Otakon staff members at any of the official shoots I attended, or at least more guidelines for the cosplayers. This left the start and end times as well as the organization of the group up to the person who scheduled the shoot. This makes sense to some extent, kind of like a panel, but it also means things are really only as organized or efficient as the people there. Nearly everything I went to started early unfortunately. Whether they would redo poses once more people arrived was uncertain even with an hour’s worth of time. It would be nice if the photoshoots had almost a circular schedule starting and ending with big group photos or similar shots for those you aren’t there from the beginning or can’t stay for the entire shoot.
I really loved that Otakon opened up the schedule for cosplayers and I hope to see other conventions follow suit.