We, as fans of everything geek-worthy, are living in great times. It’s not uncommon that many of us will go to several comic or media related conventions in a year just to meet some of our favorite celebrities.
The biggest upside when going to these shows, is the huge chance that we will meet famous people whom we have only dreamed about meeting.
However, the downside to that is that, in some cases, we have to make the hard choice between getting something signed or a photo.
Most of us may spend weeks or months prior to a show trying to plot who we want to meet, and figuring out our finances to make sure we are satisfied. There are even a few who are foolhardy enough to throw all caution to the wind and spend money that they don’t have for the chance.
For the less foolhardy among us, when it comes down to it, is whether you would rather get a photo or get the autograph.
There are a few pros and cons to each. On one hand, getting something signed in some cases makes that item you have a very unique object. Some people keep them, some try to flip them on eBay. There is no denying that what you have is genuine. In many cases, of course, unless you took a picture of them signing your object, it’s hard to get a Certificate of Authentication. In this day and age when there are signing machines and ghost signers, it’s hard to prove that some autographs are genuine. Another pro is, while you are getting your item signed, you may have more time to actually talk to that celeb but the minus sometimes may be that you can’t get a picture with them at their table.
As far as getting pictures are concerned, the pro is your picture with them is indisputable proof that you actually met that person. No one can take that away from you or dispute the authenticity. The downside of course is that sometimes depending on the con (especially something the size of New York Comic Con) , you may only have a few seconds with that person to get a photo. That is, unless it’s a smaller show where you actually have the chance to meet them later. In the end, the picture will last a lifetime.
We asked a few of our readers that if given the choice between a photo or an autograph which would they choose, and we got an overwhelming response. Let’s share a few:
First off thanks to Tony L., Chris W. and a few others for the old but true cliché of a picture being worth a thousand words!
Neil A.: “I had to make this decision for Stan Lee at NYCC16 and opted for the photo…I can always buy something signed by him elsewhere but I felt a photo op was a rare and more unique opportunity.”
Val L.: “A photo, definitely, because it keeps that memory fresh. Ask if they would be willing to do something funny, because I like jokes.”
Crystal M.: “I’ve never really been into signatures. I just feel like, unless its super distinctive-looking, it doesn’t inspire memories in me. It’s just a person’s name written down. Even when I was a little kid at Disney I didn’t use my “autograph book”. I had my mom take photos of me with the characters.”
Toree L.: “As an attendee, photos. As a handler, personalized autographs. Like this one, after cracking jokes to Phil Lamarr about being pregnant with my 4th kid.”
Nicole L.: “I’ll be honest: I don’t care for the whole ‘standing in line to meet celebrities on an assembly line’ thing. I do get why some people do it, but it’s always bothered me in a way that’s difficult to articulate. It feels like you’re putting someone up on a pedestal, or maybe it’s just that I don’t see the point of excitedly meeting someone for 30 seconds where the interaction is going to be completely meaningless to them?
I don’t mean to sound snide, I know some people LOVE the experience. It’s not that I think it’s lame, it just bothers me in a weird way.
WITH THAT SAID, if I could choose between the two, I’d probably choose an autograph. James Karen is the only person I can really think of where I’d be willing to wait for an opportunity to meet him, and at that point just being able to tell him that he’s great would be enough for me. I don’t need a keepsake. But getting a poster signed, or something I would be putting out for display ANYWAY would be pretty great.
I hate most pictures of myself, so I’d be worried about commemorating the meeting with a photo, and then hating how I look in the photo.”
Marlin B: “A personal message, not just a signature is more meaningful than just a picture.”
Tim W. :“I prefer getting autographs. I usually bring one of a kind items that in some way represent the person. Usually something I made, friends made or something I commissioned. The reaction I get from them is fantastic and usually sparks a mini conversation.”
Jinx W.: “I always have preferred picture over signature. There’s a visible memory frozen in time on paper. To look back at your piece of history with that person is better than a framed scribble. I should note, it’s better to get your own picture than the photo-op. It’s not personable in the photo-op, and that’s what I love about getting the picture. Having a conversation with them, and seeing the genuine happiness in that frozen moment.”
Nathan L.: “My gut goes with autographs. With how photo ops are set up currently, it’s so fast and you don’t really get to have a good moment with the person you are going to see. In the autograph line, you have a minute to talk with them and tell them how much you appreciate their work, how it may have inspired you, or just gush about your undying love.
I also like getting comics or memorabilia signed for the collector’s side of me. However, if you have an announcement to make, photo ops are the way to go:”
Liam S.: “Thought Process on both: Autograph- One may get an extra few seconds to nervously blurt out a statement that one might regret later, so practice first.
The signature on an item without a CoA is worthless, which most never have time to give, so be sure to have a non-starstruck friend there to take a picture of the signing to prove it happened. Photo Op- You can set up some fun interactive shots, even if they are only a second long. Those can be the best!”
Candace W.: “Signature of something that is cool. I would love to have my Kaneda on the bike Akira toy signed by Todd McFarlane. I think i would cherish it more do to the fact of the sentimental value of the item.”
Tiphani D.: “In general I prefer pics but I’m always afraid I will look terrible in the shot and then ruin the moment forever, or that I’ll be a nuisance by asking haha. I don’t really follow that many famous people that I would want to spend the money on, but I got a few:
Brook H.: “Photos because they’re more “evidence” than a signature. That also makes them feel more personal, even if the autograph is made out to you. It is far better to look through a book of photos than a book of signatures.”
Brianna I.: “A picture. You usually get to see more personality in a picture, as long as the celebrity is cool and not in this “I’m just doing this for the money” mind frame. It will have more sentimental value. On the flipside, however, autographs are cheaper to get, and if you get merch autographed, it will have more monetary value.”
Justin C: “A picture. While it’s always possible to lose what they signed, be it paper, a prop, or what have you, there is always a way to find your photo of them. Once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever.”
Russ P.: “A signature, which is worth more on eBay.”
Ray E.: “I’d go for the photo, but these days, I don’t even go for that. I don’t want to pay $50 or more to get my picture taken with someone. In most cases, I don’t want to meet celebrities on shows I’m currently watching because I find it ruins the illusion for me. If I meet a celebrity from a classic show, I’m usually content to just shake their hand and tell them how much I enjoyed the show.”
Christina R.: “Signature. I personally don’t like photos (I’m getting over being afraid of taking pictures) and if I had a photo I’d be too tempted to get it printed out, which is extra money and wall space or photo album space. Signatures I can keep forever on whatever I get signed (usually it’s a DVD or a manga or something) and since I already have shelf space for said thing it doesn’t take up much extra space. It’s also fun to make a memory of them reacting to what you brought. I met Steve Blum twice, my first time I got a signature and a pic. The second time I just got a signature but I brought my first edition Digimon Adventure 02 manga and had him sign where Blackwargreymon appears. He lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw it and said “They MADE these?! OH MY GOD THIS IS SO COOL!” and proceeded to try and steal it. It was adorable and I’ll remember that moment forever.”
Santiago A.: “Depends on the celebrity entirely. Voice actor? Autograph a copy of whatever they were in, especially if its a video game. Animation artist? Copy of a cell frame from whatever movie/series they worked on. TV or film actor? Picture with them to then hang up in my classroom. Also, if getting something signed, just have them dedicate it to you so it feel more “authentic”.”
Missy B.: “My autographs mean the world to me. You get more time with them at the autograph session usually. They’ll personalize it and you get to interact often for several minutes and have some personal time. I hold those memories.
Often with the photos (outside of SpartaCon), you go in, quickly get in place, they snap the pic and you leave. No time for interaction. I’ll take the autograph time and memories any day.”
What are your thoughts? Which would you choose? Give us your thoughts below in the comments.