tony duran lights emily ratajkowski for guess the lighting

 

 

ted sabarese lighting diagram tony duran

Copyright, Tony Duran

If a year ago you didn’t know Emily Ratajkowski, I wouldn’t hold it against you. But ever since starring – nearly nekkid – in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video, Emily has blown up. Way up. Her body was barely painted for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and it seems like she’s being photographed for multiple magazines. Every. Single. Month.

This image is from a series shot by Tony Duran for an Ocean Drive Magazine interview (where Emily chats about loving humidity, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts and the androgynous looks of rocker Patti Smith). It’s nice to see that Tony takes a more classic approach to styling and lighting such a “double-take-inducing vixen.” He used 1 reflector and 2 lights, in conduction with a highly reflective background, in this image.

And for all you expensive bracelet fans, that’s a $46k white gold and diamond Cartier on Emily’s wrist.

Camera: DSLR with 24-70mm lens handheld 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f5.6, ISO 100.

Lighting: Tony is a big fan of natural light and reflectors, but he needed a little strobe help to achieve this particular look. The key light is a white beauty dish (+1 stop) 9 feet to camera right and just above head height. This throws the nice white glow on Emily’s cheek. A small silver reflector (+1.5 stops) bounces sunlight from low, camera left onto her arm and chest. A magnum reflector (-1 stop) positioned just above and directly behind camera nicely fills her face and body.

Comments: For the past decade, Emily has studied advanced yo-yo mechanics and has multiple patents pending on a new design. During wardrobe changes, she showed Tony some of the latest tricks she mastered: the Takashi Boing and the Double Suicide.

annie leibovitz lights game of thrones on guess the lighting

ted sabarese lighting diagram of annie leibovitz

copyright, Annie Leibovitz.

If one thing can bring me out of lighting guessing retirement, its Game of Thrones. Well, not just G.O.T., but Annie shooting the cast for the fourth season (which, by the way, I just finished and is freaking amazing!!). This image, in particular, is dripping with nuance. Look how the members of House Lannister and Baratheon are positioned–no accident. Cersei in the foreground with Jaime tucked neatly behind her. Joffrey, although king, small and almost in the background. Tyrion is off the side, never quite a true part of the family. Tywin also sits smugly off to the side where he can pull strings without drawing unwanted attention. And Brienne looks on from afar, as close as she will ever get to Jaime.

Thrones drama aside, Annie delivers a gorgeous and strong image lit by only 1 light and a cooperatively clouded sun. And yes, I’m a G.O.T. nerd.

Camera: Medium format with 80mm lens set on a tripod 16 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: I believe Annie goes back to one of her recent favorite lighting setups here. The key light is a single Photek Softlighter at f11, handheld by an assistant, high and 8 feet to camera right. The diffused skylight fills in the shot at f5.6 (-2 stops).

Comments: While on a green juice break, Annie got Peter Dinklage talking about the upcoming season and who would inevitably be killed off. He wouldn’t give specifics, but said that 2 people at today’s shoot wouldn’t be around for next year’s. Annie tried to tickle it out of him but found Peter isn’t very ticklish.

annie leibovitz photo lighting of lady gaga on guess the lighting

ted sabarese lighting diagram of annie leibovitz shot

ted sabarese lighting diagram of annie leibovitz shot

copyright, Annie Leibovitz.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the poll on the GTL facebook page. Annie was the hands-down winner of readers’ choice for my next guess. So, as you’ve requested, here’s a cool shot by Annie featuring Lady Gaga for the December, 2009 edition of Vogue.

As would be expected, Annie’s interpretation of the childhood Hansel and Gretel story rocks with drama and a high fashion sensibility. This image reenacts the scene where the two children turn the table on the witch and throw her into the oven. Having Gaga and model phenom Lily Cole on hand certainly doesn’t hurt.

I’m also guessing this image was not all shot together, in-camera. I don’t see how Annie could have achieved the vibrant red light on the oven and ground while keeping the models lit mostly white. I think the camera was locked off with Gaga being shot by herself, then the two models shot separately. 6 lights were used in total and the final image was composited in post.

Camera: DSLR with 50mm lens set on a tripod 15 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 400.

Lighting: The key light on Gaga is a Photek Softlighter at f16 (+1 stop), handheld by an assistant, high and 6 feet to camera right. It has been removed in post. A large octabank with a red gel at f8 1/2 (-1/2 stop) is set directly behind camera. This fills in Gaga and gives the red hue to the front of the oven and ground. A gridded magnum reflector with a full CTO gel at f22 (+2 stops) is behind her on the floor of the oven, aimed slightly upward. This adds the yellowish highlights to Gaga’s hair.

In the second setup, a medium octabank at f5.6 (-2 stops) is set high and 10 feet to camera left, providing fill on Lily’s back. Another medium octabank at f8 (-1 stop) is set similarly to camera right for fill on the man. The same large octabank with a red gel at f8 (-1 stop) is set just behind camera. A small, Profoto striplight with barn doors at f22 (+2 stops) is boomed directly above the models and aimed downwards, creating the areas of high contrast on their shirts, faces and legs. I’m guessing the red on the man’s hair has been accentuated in post. Probably lots of the red has actually been accentuated. Finally, the same gridded magnum reflector with a full CTO gel at f22 (+2 stops) sits on the oven floor and creates the yellow highlights on the man’s face. The final image is a composite of the two shots.

Comments: Lady Gaga thought it would be totally rad if she literally set herself on fire for the shot. But the level-headed Leibovitz (who ordinarily has a penchant for “reality” too) convinced her that sometimes “figurative” is just as good as “literal.” Especially when dealing with flames.

Sorry for this interruption in your regularly scheduled lighting guessing. And for the shameless plug. But thanks to everyone was kind/gracious/fantastic enough to send pics of their pooches, I’m able to announce the launch of my latest guessing undertaking:

guess the pooch blog logo by ted sabarese

Guess the Pooch

It’s similar to this blog except it has absolutely nothing to do with lighting. I take fan-submitted pics of their lovable pooches and attempt to guess which doggies got together to create the mutt in question. I then create a brand new breed of dog (which will never be sanctioned by the American Kennel Club) and sketch it with the inglorious lack of detail you’ve come to expect.

I’ll only be guessing on pooches submitted by you, so please send some pics if you’d like me take a stab at guessing their lineage. It’s way cheaper than a DNA test, though most likely less correct.

Here are some examples of the newly developed breeds and corresponding drawings for you to peruse.

a new breed of dog on guess the pooch

a new breed of dog from guess the pooch

The new blog is just a wee baby but will grow like any puppy. With plenty of furniture chewing, sock eating and carpet wetting.

Okay, now back to light guessing. Promise.

Thanks for your continued support,
Ted

Mert & Marcus photo lighting of Adele for Vogue on Guess the Lighting

ted sabarese lighting diagram of mert & marcus adele vogue

copyright, Mert & Marcus.

Thanks to everyone who sent in (and continues to send) pics of their pooches. Now back to the lighting guessing.

It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like or don’t like. I don’t think anyone can disagree that Adele has an angelic voice unlike any other. A voice that can seduce you one second, then grab you by the shoulders and shake you silly the next. The more interviews I see, the more I really like her. She has a refreshing honesty and self-deprecating sense of humor not found in many megastars. It’s unbelievable that her career was nearly ended by necessary throat surgery. Our collective ears rejoice that it was not.

Mert & Marcus’ drop-dead gorgeous and dramatic story for the March 2012 US Vogue couldn’t be more fitting of Adele and her voice. The photographic duo combine unbelievable styling, propping and lighting to create an image I’m sure Adele’s mum has taped to her fridge. They certainly nailed it. And with a combo of 4 hot lights and strobes.

This image was suggested by Joel Bedford. Thanks, Joel.

Camera: Medium format, digital, with 70mm lens set on a tripod 12 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f11, ISO 50.

Lighting: For starters, I want to acknowledge there’s quite a bit of retouching in this shot. But I don’t believe it affects the light sources. The key light (if you can call it that) is a 2.5k Arri fresnel HMI at f16 (+1 stop) placed 8 feet to camera right and 6 feet above Adele’s head with narrow focus. It’s aimed directly at her face and hits very little else. A similar Arri fresnel at f16 (+1 stop) sits low, 12 feet to camera right nearly perpendicular to the couch and aimed slightly upward. This light illuminates the branches of baby’s breath, purple fabric, her hand and dress. A gridded, medium strip light at f11 with a full CT blue gel is boomed in above Adele and aimed at the back wall. It has also been flagged to stop light from spilling onto her. A Profoto XL white umbrella at f4 (-3 stops) is set high and directly behind camera to provide a hint of fill.

Comments: During the little downtime she had between shots, Adele battled Alec Baldwin (he’s a big fan) in a Words with Friends game. She first made him promise that he wasn’t currently on an airplane of any sort, though.

*UPDATE: 12/23/12

Thanks to everyone who has been sending in pics of their lovable pooches. Please remember to let me know their names and who shot the photos so I can give proper photo credit. Keep ‘em coming, they’re fantastic! I’ll have an update shortly where you can see them. 

Thanks again,
Ted 

Hey everyone. I have a request that may seem a bit strange. If any of you dog lovers out there have a cool photo of your mutt, I’d love for you to send it my way. I’m working on a new “guessing” project where i postulate which dogs got together to create the mutt in question. There may even be mediocre sketches of the aforementioned breeding moment. Complete with the inglorious lack of detail some of you find endearing.

If guessed upon, your dog will be slightly world-famous and you’ll know the mix without paying for expensive doggy DNA tests :)

A minimum of 900 pixels on the longest side would be great. Snapshots are perfect. You can email them here.

Back to photo lighting guessing now. Thanks for your continued support.

Thanks!
Ted

Guess the Pooch dog

 

Erwin Olaf's photo lighting for hope project on guess the lighting

ted sabarese lighting diagram of erwin olaf's hope project on guess the lighting

copyright, Erwin Olaf.

Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf holds a special place in my heart. Many would say he’s primarily an advertising photographer with a fashion bent. And yes, his work for Diesel Jeans, Lavazza and Moooi reflects that. But even these ad jobs showcase an imaginative artist. One who is conceptual in nature and enjoys creating unique worlds for his subjects to come to life in.

Recently, though, Erwin has focused more on personal, fine art projects. And they’re all pretty mind-blowing. This image is from his Hope series which is also a hardcover book. It’s beautiful. It’s haunting. It’s stagnant, yet dynamic in its ability to evoke emotion. I can kind of sit here for hours and scour over every detail–the casting, wardrobe, the door number, the open door, that lone umbrella–but I digress in my photo geekery. It’s just pretty awesome. To create this captured moment of hope, Erwin used 5 lights.

Camera: Medium format, with Kodak EPP 100 transparency film and an 80mm lens. Set on a tripod 11 feet back. Shot at 1/30, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: It’ll be easier to break this down by model. Our man’s key light is a small softbox at f13 (+1/2 stop) over his head and slightly frontal aimed at his face. A medium softbox at f8 (-1 stop) is set high and three feet to camera left, also aimed at his head, providing fill. For our woman, a small softbox at f11 is over her head and also slightly frontal and just to her right. Another small softbox at f11 is positioned behind the wall the man is standing against and aimed at her face. A large octabank at f8 (-1 stop) is high and six feet to camera left. This provides fill for her body as well as the entire wall and left side of frame. The models kept very still with the slow shutter speed so Erwin could capture the wall sconce lighting (though it was enhanced in post).

Comments: The models were not the docile, overly reserved duo they appear to be. They were two members of the now-defunct German comedy troupe, The Supernaturals, and had themselves, the crew and even Erwin in stitches most of the day. Apparently, their bit about a fax machine salesman with two right feet caused the digital tech and the stylist’s assistant to wet their pants. Once and twice, respectively.

nadav kander photo lighting for time magazine on guess the lighting

ted sabarese lighting diagram of nadav kander's morsi shot

copyright, Nadav Kander.

Nadav Kander is one of the most successful advertising and editorial photographers today. What makes his portraiture unique is that he doesn’t have a single photo lighting “look,” but many, actually. He’s consistently trying different setups, pushing himself to remain fresh and relevant. This shot for a recent Time Magazine cover illustrates this point. It’s a standard, tight headshot of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, but the lighting and subtle retouching make it anything but ordinary. Fitting for the “most important man in the Middle East,” right? Nadav achieved this look with 4 lights.

Camera: Medium format, digital, with 100mm lens set on a tripod 6 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 50.

Lighting: The key lighting for this image is perfectly symmetrical. Nadav uses two, small softboxes (with the outer baffle removed to increase specularity) at f13 (+1 1/2 stops). They are placed 3 feet to either side of Morsi’s head and slightly behind it. This placement creates the sharp highlights on his cheeks but also manages to fill the front of his face. It also keeps away any reflection from his glasses. Two white umbrellas at f5.6 (-1 stop) are aimed at the seamless from both the right and left sides to create a flat background. The shadow behind Morsi’s head is added in post.

Comments: A big fan of Hank Williams Sr. (definitely not Jr.), Morsi played a medley of his songs on his oud between shots. His crooning and wailing were pretty spot on, too, with more than one crew member suggesting he tryout for next season’s the Voice.

Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

dimitri daniloff photo lighting of ps2 ad on guess the lighting

ted sabarese lighting diagram of dimitri daniloff ps2 ad

copyright, Dimitri Daniloff.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of Dimitri Daniloff’s imagination. His volume of work goes from cool to shocking to what the #$@*? It’s highly stylized, highly conceptual and usually with quite a bit of compositing and post work. Which makes sense since his college schooling consisted of mathematics and science, instead of photography and art.

This image entitled “Rebirth” for Sony’s launch of its PS2 game station won lots of critical acclaim, as well as the Cannes Grand Prix for Advertising. I’m going out on a limb and guessing the man’s head and shoulders were not shot in-camera. The lighting is achieved with a mixture of HMI and strobe lighting that Einstein, himself, would be proud of. If Einstein were in to photography. Dimitri used six lights in total.

Camera: Medium format, digital, with 80mm lens set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f16, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a 6K HMI fresnel shot through a 6×6 silk at f16. The light is positioned high and 10 feet to camera right. Let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment and pretend the man’s head could be where it is. A gridded, silver beauty dish at f22 (+1 stop) is high, just to camera right, and aimed down toward his newborn face, with a more specular feel than the rest of the lighting. Dimitri has a ring flash on his camera at f8 (-2 stops) for subtle fill and a nice layering of light. Another 6K HMI fresnel shot through a 6×6 silk at f18 (+ 1/2 stop) is set 12 feet to camera left and slightly behind the mother. This gives her just a touch of rim/high light on her arm and neck. Two standard reflectors in white umbrellas at f22( +1 stop) are aimed at the background, blowing it out just a touch.

Comments: Coincidentally, the “mother” model’s sister was actually giving birth to a baby-sized boy at the exact moment Dimitri was shooting. The sister’s husband was stationed overseas, so she was alone in the delivery room. The third assistant rigged a cell phone (set to speaker) to an autopole and dangled it just out of frame. The model was able to yell “push, Chloe, push” as the entire set was privy to some of the most unbelievable cussing imaginable. A trucker, delivering supplies to the studio, hadn’t even heard a few of those peaches, before.