Hello, my name is Vincenzo Spina. I’m a full-time Presentation Director at Ubisoft Montreal. Although I make games for a living I also love photography and comics.
I grew up on comics and 90s superhero TV shows, and I’m a big fan of Marvel and DC. So when Liam Wong and I got the opportunity to shoot Hendoart as Spider-Gwen, I wanted to create a unique cosplay look. I wanted those classic spidey poses, the neon city vibe that Hollywood had to offer, and the right color treatment.
For inspiration, I looked at Rico Renzi’s Spider-Gwen comics, since has these fantastic vibrant purples, pinks. However, I didn’t want to just copy it, I wanted to translate it into a more cinematic feel. Keeping it slightly underexposed, but with really punchy rim lights and Hollywood neons to bring the character out.
I think choosing the right colors for a series is important, if the colors have meaning and make sense to the context of the photo they become part of the world instead of feeling like added lights and gels. Which I hope people agree worked out into being a nice colorful cinematic feeling cosplay shoot.
Finding the Shots
Although we did quite a bit of research for where we could shoot in downtown Hollywood, I tend to find that when you’re there, certain areas will call out. After finding a good location and background, what I tend to do is improvise with the angles to make the location seem more interesting than it is.
One of my shots was where most people would sit for a break. But with the right angle and composition it looks like Spider-Gwen could be on the top of a tall building.
Having a great model who interacts with the environment can help to create these interesting shots. The highest we actually got for these shots was maybe 2 to 3 floors up.
Looking for alleyways is a go to tactic. I usually find some really nice urban scenes, with some nice strong key lights. The only surprises are cockroaches.
We tend to keep the gear to a minimum since we’re traveling and focusing more on the moment rather than on studio lighting and setups. This can help keep unwanted attention away.
We had a few run-ins with securities guards, but overall the experiences were pretty good. Being polite and moving along quickly always helps! Also having a Spider-Gwen in full cosplay helps — people like superheroes!
About the author: Vincenzo Spina is a photography enthusiast who works full-time in the video game industry with Ubisoft Montreal. You can find more of his work on his Instagram.