Every year, Riot Games hosts the International Wild Card Invitational – a tournament designed to give teams from League of Legends’ younger regions a chance to compete in the big leagues. In 2016, Mexico City hosted the tournament, and the Riot LAN (Latin America North) team pulled me in, once more, as a photographer.
This would be my biggest gig yet for the video game company. It consisted of two phases: First, for a week, eight teams would compete in a round-robin tournament to determine the two finalists. At the end of the week, a massive, pubic even would be held in one of Mexico City’s largest stadiums pitting the two top teams against one another in a best-of-five showdown.
The week started early as I prepared to take the portraits for the 8 teams’ 6 members. Riot (thankfully) has very strict guidelines for team portraits, detailing everything from the lighting set up, camera settings, and six critical poses for each player. This was my first real portrait job ever, and I would be leaving my trusty Sony behind for a rented Canon 5D Mark II: very much an industry standard, but a bit intimidating for me!
The added stress for the whole team was the turn-around time for these pictures. For my third Riot gig, I got to feel like more of a cog in the sometimes frantic, but always talented Riot LAN team. These shots were cranked out through an amazingly choreographed process that got each international team in the door, through make-up, funneled in front of my camera, and back out the door in time to swap memory cards with the post-production artists just in time to shoot the next team.
There were a few late nights getting each pose of each artist color-corrected and cut, but with enough pizza and beer, any job can get done.
Always enjoyable for me, of course, is the opportunity to shoot the Riot team at work. Aco, the team’s makeup artist, gave me some beautiful shots with her blue hair, pink affects, and rich, warm make-up-room lighting.
Pictures from the semi-finals on the next page.