Luchador Fighter Photo Series Using Only A Custom iPad3 And Snapseed

Earlier this year, I put together a fun campaign and photo series with my friends over at Nik Software. Nik wanted to find a way to showcase the abilities of my favorite iphone/ipad photo editing software (you can now use the app on your mac or pc as well), Snapseed. I pitched the idea of photographing different adventures using nothing but a mobile device and their Snapseed app. We wanted to show that with a tool you use daily (your mobile phone or device) and a single photo app, you can easily create striking memorable images. The Nik team thought that this was a perfect way to show their application in action and requested that I have a behind the scenes video team follow me around as I photograph a day in the life of a Luchador fighters.

Lucha libre (Spanish: Free wrestling, lit. "free fight") is a term used in Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries, for a form of professional wrestling that has developed within those countries. Although the term nowadays refers exclusively to professional wrestling, it was originally used in the same style as the English term "freestyle wrestling", referring to an amateur wrestling style without the restrictions of Greco-Roman wrestling.

Mexican wrestling is characterized by colorful masks, rapid sequences of holds and maneuvers, as well as "high-flying" maneuvers, some of which have been adopted in the United States. The wearing of masks has developed special significance, and matches are sometimes contested in which the loser must permanently remove his mask, which is a wager with a high degree of weight attached. Tag team wrestling is especially prevalent in lucha libre, particularly matches with three-member teams, called trios. - Wikipedia

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I suggested we shoot this campaign using an iPad rather than an iPhone because it would be easier to see the screen and what I was shooting in the behind the scenes video. When Nik Software agreed, I decided to go one step further and build a custom bomber-inspired one-off housing for my iPad3. I figured people would be less likely to laugh at me for photographing with only an iPad rather than a DSLR if it looked like this (see below). My buddy Tom Bostic, who built this case for me, has consulted the car builds for the show Pimp My Ride, built countless show vehicles, movie costumes, custom functional weapons, and even Deadmau5's new mouse head. He's an incredibly creative guy and was very excited to have him help with this.

The custom iPad housing my friend Tom Bostic made for me and this campaign. It always gets a lot of attention.

It's incredible how intense these performances are. You can really feel the pain of the Luchador fighters and the crowd really gets into it. I mean, the fans are screaming at the fighters on the stage and yelling chants while holding up homemade signs. It feels like one of the most intense, physically demanding, and interactive stage performances I have ever seen. I highly recommend checking out a Luchador show at least once in your life.

The venue was particularly dark, so photographing with the iPad3 was a challenge. My key was to time my shots with the moving stage lights and flashes of other photographers. The iPad3 camera performed surprisingly well considering the fast paced movement of the subjects and the dimly lit room. Snapseedwas used to help increase brightness and contrast, tweak the sharpness, it has a masking tool for selective brightness/color/contrast adjustments, and black and white conversions when I thought it would look good. Snapseed is one of those great apps that every mobile device photographer can use on a daily basis. It's intuitive to use, and has practically every one of the core image editing tools one would need such as: brightness, contrast, white balance, saturation, advanced black and white conversion, tilt shift, sharpness/structure, vintage effects, cropping, etc etc. I can honestly say I rarely, if ever, use any other native image editing software on my iphone or ipad. This is why Snapseed has over 9 million downloads and has won such awards as Best Mobile Photo App and iPad App of the Year for 2011.

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Special thanks to Chikara Pro Wrestling for allowing us into their secret lives to shoot this. I highly suggest checking out one of their shows. Just an amazing experience.

Have questions or want to suggest posts you’d like me to do in the future? Hit me up on TWITTERFACEBOOK

You can see more of my work here:

Video and editing by my 8112 Studios co-founder:

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Here are some examples from the photo series shot only using my iPad3 and Nik Software's Snapseed App. I'm pretty pleased with how these came out. What do you think? At all surprised these come from just an iPad3?:

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Pri tay cool

really really wonderful!  The point and shoot is dead.

Its cool-but why not use a real camera instead of building a case for an iPad to make it more like a camera? How many great shots do you miss because you are not using the right tool?

Douglas Sonders's picture

You may have missed what I was explaining in the first paragraph... This campaign's point was to prove the capabilities of a mobile photography app, which inherently requires photos be shot by said mobile device

I love snapseed but i wish it had more textures. Hell I would buy more! Some new features in a DLC would be nice. They should try to expand the color mixes in the "vintige" filter or add another filter where not everything is heavily yellow. Also while im at it, the ability to errase or pull back the effects from certain parts of the picture would be AMAZING! Great app though. 

nice pics too, i had no idea so many people followed that kind of wrestling.

I didn't think the camera on the iPad 3 was that much better then the iPad 2!