Gabriele “Gabbo” Gaiba

Stories > Gabriele “Gabbo” Gaiba

Athlete: Gabbo
Sport: e-games
Client: Red Bull
Location: Milan, Italy

This shooting was organized on the occasion of the entry into the Red Bull family of a new e-sport athlete: Gabbo.
As always, an athlete’s calendar is very busy and when you manage to set a date for a shooting, it’s rarely just photos.
Also in this case priority was given to the creation of a presentation video of the new athlete and consequently the time for pictures was very little.
To get ready for the shooting and be as fast as possible on location, I conceived and drew all the shots I wanted to take, studying all the light schemes.


That’s how I imagined the first shot, the key shot, a “hero portrait: three-quarter subject, black background, two strip back lights with red and blu filters plus one main light with octabox.
At first I drew it horizontally but then, once on set, I realized the vertical cut was the best one.


As a second shot I though about a portrait similar to the so called “hero portrait” but with a touch of mysticism. To do so, I adopted the same setting of the previous shot but removing the main light. By doing this, the subject’s face would automatically remain in shadow, but its profile would be perceived thanks to the colored back lights.
In order to get a moodier shot I shielded the back light to keep the background darker.


With very little time available I tried to get the most out of every lighting setting and have a good workflow. In accordance with this reasoning I planned a third shot that allowed me not to change the light setting: a close up.
Once again, therefore, the scheme included only the two back lights that outlined the silhouette of the subject with the face in shadow.
After some test shots I decided to move one of the two back lights more laterally in order to light up part of the face a little more.
Finally, to give more aggression, I had the subject pose with his hands crossed in front of his face, for a more decisive and thoughtful mood.


In order to be able to contextualize the athlete more, I decided to make a shot in which I included an element that suggested his field: gaming.
Also in this case the lighting scheme has remained unchanged, a back light and a side light with colored filters, subject in profile.
The shot was designed horizontally, but after a few attempts, I preferred a vertical frame with a slightly more dynamic pose than the original drawing. Check it out!


Before leaving the black backdrop and completely changing the set up I wanted to try to simulate a “stolen shot”. I therefore decided to position the subject from behind with the idea of framing him in profile while he was pretending a spontaneous gesture. With the athlete that was not facing me I had a branding problem which I solved using a bright neon.
Finally, to get a slightly different mood from the other shots, I decided to add some smoke.


This time I wanted to do something really different and creative. A long exposure shot with flashes synchronized on the second curtain that allowed me to draw light trails in the background and freeze the subject in the desired pose at the same time.
I have adopted a cross lighting scheme: the main light with softbox and a strip back light with a blue filter.
Finally I added a faint third point of light to dye part of the background red and create a nice color contrast.
The shot was designed and taken horizontally, but then I went for a vertical crop in post production.


I wanted to take a full-figure shot, which would frame the athlete in a context that remind gaming and technology.
Then I organized my frame by placing him centrally and encircling him with Astera lights in a symmetrical way.
I wanted the background to remain as dark as possible, that the silhouette of the subject was drawn by the red back light of the Asteras and that a beam of blue light fell from above lighting part of his face.


When shooting with Red Bull athletes a key shot is the so called “drinking scene” or at least a portrait of the athlete with the can in a natural pose.
I decided to shoot it in a lifestyle key to give some variety to the shooting.
At first I imagined it with the subject sitting on the ground in a relaxed pose not looking at the camera. But then the light pattern I had devised did not reflect my expectations, so I switched from a 2 light points scheme to a single bigger one, 45 degrees above him and closer.
Finally I found a pose that was fitting my tastes with him standing in a relaxed and natural pose leaning against the wall.

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Gabriele Seghizzi