Well folks, C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) has returned. And with this being my third go round, I finally decided to purchase a photo with some celebrity guests. During my two past visits, it’s been obvious that the photo and autograph sessions are one of the big draws of the weekend event. I mean, who wouldn’t love the chance to meet a favorite actor, author or entertainer? Sessions are split between the photos and autographs and I have to say it seems that C2E2 has this well organized for both celebrities and attendees.
So who did I select for my first picture experience? I’m glad you asked! I’ve actually purchased a team up photo with three celebrity guests: Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend and Vivien Lyra Blair. This particular trio was most recently seen on the Disney+ series Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi as Reva (The Third Sister), The Grand Inquisitor and young Leia Organa. I was intrigued by the idea of a picture with the Inquisitors, but ultimately decided to save my money. Then C2E2 emailed me that Vivien had been added as one of the photo/autograph guests. Looking into things further I discovered the team-up photo and having fallen in love with Vivien’s portrayal of my favorite Star Wars character I decided to go for it.
Let me be clear, this isn’t an inexpensive offering. The initial photo (which I received on the spot) cost $160 and pricing varies depending on the celebrity guests. Additional prints were $10 each and a JPEG sent to your email is also $10. In my limited research, this seems to be the standard cost for extra photos regardless of the celebrity. I decided I wanted a digital copy and added the JPEG bringing my total to $170…but we’re not done yet. There’s also an admin fee—$10.20 for me—as well taxes for the physical photo—10.25% (percent) coming out to $18.47—and my grand total ended up being $198.67. The entire cost and breakdown was shown to me before I charged my credit card, so I knew upfront what I’d be paying. Still I wasn’t thrilled about nearly $30 worth of taxes and fees.
Autographs vs Photos
It’s also worth noting that the photos are separate from autographs and, while many of the celebrities will be doing both, they are set a different times, have their own pricicing, and each celeb has their own rules to what can be signed, whether or not guests can take selfies/pictures during the autograph session and so on. There’s a portal/store on the C2E2 website where guests can select multiple photo and autograph sessions with their favorite celebrities and checkout at one time.
The services are provided courtesy of Epic Photo Ops and in my experience their platform was very user friendly. After making my purchase I received near instantaneous confirmation, order number and QR code to present at my session. A few days later when the celebrity schedule was confirmed I was emailed a group number, time, and list of instructions and rules. It was stated that we could not have extended conversations with the celebrities and that up to 4 people could be in the photo. I also opted to sign up for a SMS notification that would be sent out 15 minutes prior to the photo.
The Photo Experience
As requested, I got my text alert and headed down to the back (and I mean back) of the show floor. I joined my line and waited for my turn. When it was time, an Epic Photo employee scanned my QR code and let me and several others in. There were two racks where we could place our bags, gear and anything we didn't want in the picture, then we filed in for the pictures. Let me tell you, this line moved so quickly and before I knew it, I was up! I only got to spend about 10 seconds with the trio, just enough time to make eye contact, shake Rupert’s hand, congratulate them on the series and smile for my picture. It was a blur (the experience, not the photo, thankfully), but it was fun. I made my way out to pick up my 8×10 photo and complete my experience. After I located my picture, another employee scanned my QR code as well as the small barcode on the photo. And that was it! As I walked away, I checked my email and sure enough, the digital copy was waiting in my inbox.
Was It Worth It?
This is a great question and one that only each individual person can answer. Is it worth it to get a photo with actors and entertainers that are special to you? Can you put a price on nostalgia or your current obsession? More importantly, what about asking well known entertainers to interact with hundreds if not thousands of fans over a given weekend and to have every single one of those encounters be special?
I wish I could have talked to the trio for a few moments, but overall, I’m glad to even have this opportunity to meet them. I will continue to be selective about future photo ops, but there’s a very good chance that if the stars align again at another expo or convention and the price matches my budget, I’ll be forking over the cash for a celebrity encounter… and I’ll do it with a smile!
C2E2 2022 is taking place from August 5-7 in Chicago. The 2023 event is scheduled for March 31-April 2.