Red Bull MOBILE Assignment

Sally Fitzgibbons, one of the faces of Red Bull MOBILE.

For those of you who saw my recent post including a photo of Sally Fitzgibbons (one of the best female surfers in the world), I can now tell you it was for the launch of Red Bull MOBILE here in Oz.

Yep! Red Bull will soon be in Oz as a ‘telco service’ offering branded handsets and unlimited access to  videos, pictures and stories on Red Bull’s events and athletes; plus loads of sport and culture content that make up the World of Red Bull.

With Sally only just returning form an incredible win at the Nike US Open of Surfing, Red Bull confirmed Sal will be one of the many ‘faces’ of Red Bull MOBILE and so a last-minute south coast NSW trip was scrambled along with a brand new yet to be released HTC handset (nearly as hard to get your hands on as scheduling Sal for a shoot)

So with a one day window and only a weekend to get the images from concept to final edit… I charged down south with a small crew from Red Bull.

I clearly had in my head a bit of a retro, surf/trip kind of feel to the images, just to shoot something a bit fun and different from past assignments and from experience I knew the feel would really suit Sal and her ‘fun, always livin life’ attitude… However I also needed to keep in mind the marketing directions of my clients and therefore offer up usable images should the surf/trip retro feel not work for their direction – which was very possible considering we are actually talking about cutting edge technology as well.

The challenge was going to be the ability to get a natural and ‘fun’ easy going photo, while incorporating a mobile phone into the frame and somehow embodying the spirit of Red Bull MOBILE.. Additionally none of the new branded Red Bull MOBILE handsets were in Oz yet and so we needed to also portray the style of handset while positioning and composing to allow for the ‘imaginary’ branding to be visible so it could be dropped in post production at a later date.

With such a tight deadline and only one opportunity to get ‘the shot’ I just hoped the gods smiled on us… and they did!

On arriving in Kiama at some stupid hour of the morning (yes, I was working on only 3 hrs sleep due to deadlines for other clients), the ‘big fella upstairs’ offered up an old-school Chevy straight out of the photo-brief. Being last-minute, I had discussed the use of a vehicle (such as combi van or old classic car) as a prop to allow for simple close-up imagery whilst still retaining a surf/retro feel, but we simply hadn’t had enough time to make it happen. So there were smiles all around when Aaron turned up with his tiny new baby daughter to grab a coffee from his local coffee shop (that we happened to be sitting outside) and he was driving an immaculate old Chevy, and he then promptly agreed to drop by on location to allow us to use the  vehicle for one of our photos.

We had the weather, we had a cool vehicle, Sally was home and her usual laughing-self … it all just fell into place.

Well enough waffling; a few hours of  later and I found myself overlooking the harbour, drinking Chardy in the sun alongside Sal, her mum and the Red Bull MOBILE team considering the possibilities that the weather could easily have been awful at that time of year, the vehicle may never have eventuated and Sal may not have returned from the USA in time, BUT instead we just relaxed and congratulated ourselves on one of the smoothest (or luckiest) ‘last minute’ photo shoots possible.

Below is a taste of one original photo to ‘envisaged outcome’ and the steps along the way… (Note: This may not be the end style and use Red Bull choose to use, rather it is more a reflection of the concept I had in my head on considering the brief )

RAW photo + levels balanced

Post-production: Red Bull MOBILE logo inserted subtly onto handset

Slight desaturation & warm/retro ambience added to photo

Post-production: Lens flare added

Digital Frame added for further 'retro' feel

For a bit of a glimpse at the world of Red Bull and Red Bull MOBILE – check out this trailer


About inciteimages

A magazine recently profiled my life and pretty much hit the nail on the head: Australian adventure photographer (and occasional journalist) Mark Watson is a liar. He suggests his job is “not so glamorous,” but drop him an email and his ‘out of office auto response’ will inform he’s heli-skiing New Zealand or trekking Patagonia. In downtime he surfs and mountain bikes Sydney’s Northern Beaches or can be spied drinking café latte’s on the beachfront when he should be editing photos. He’s a Nikon Ambassador and Red Bull Australia’s No.1 photographer, and after a few Corona’s, admits, “I photograph cool people, in cool places, doing cool things!” Quickly followed by the disclaimer “It’s not always exciting…” But always said with a mischievous grin. View all posts by inciteimages

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