Annie Leibovitz’s fairy tale lighting for Disney Theme Parks

August 10, 2010 — 4 Comments
annie leibovitz's photo lighting for disney on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of disney ad on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Annie Leibovitz

This image featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov as Peter Pan, Gisele Bundchen as Wendy and Tina Fey as Tinkerbell is part of the “dream portrait” series for Disney theme parks. My guess is that Annie used only 2 (albeit, big-ass) lights for this shot.

Camera: Hasselblad H1 with 50mm lens and Phase One P30 digital back, on a tripod 10 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: The drama created with the lighting is achieved by the “less is more” philosophy. One Profoto 6 foot giant parabolic umbrella reflector at f11 is boomed over Mikhail and aimed down towards his head. Another one, also at f11, is boomed over and slightly behind Gisele and pointed down at her head. This setup allows for beautiful, soft lighting on the faces while letting most of the room drop off. The scenic skyline out the window was put in in post. As was tiny, glowy Tina Fey.

Comments: This was a tough shot to pull off. For authenticity’s sake, Annie set a 3:30AM call time and required the entire crew to wear bedroom slippers. Plus, Tina kept making fart noises from behind the window just as Mikhail “landed” in the room.

  • Somehow I doubt that Gisele and Mikhail were present at the same shoot (judging by other large-scale Leibovitz assignments – see her Leibovitz At Work book for examples) – I am guessing that shoots involving each of them were composited together.

  • Two lights, really? Really? REALLY? Dude, Annie uses more than two lights when she shoots with her cell phone. Annie is a firm believer in “More is More” and “Much More is Much More”So for starters, why add the night skyline in post when it’s much more expensive to commission a giant canvas backdrop which you must light with at least 4 grid spots just so it doesn’t look flat? Of course you still have your assistant shoot it by itself just in case Pascal needs to tweak it (add) in post…You left out at least a dozen fill lights placed all over the set including the honey wagons. Finally don’t forget the Tinkerbell lights. Tinkerbells added in post don’t light themselves…And finally dude, if you’d just read the monthly listings of Annie’s lawsuits in PDN, you’d know that she “rented” Briese parabolics – not Profoto.But I’m pretty sure you may be right about Tina’s “sound effects…”

  • Chris

    You can see some of the lights in this video at 0:50:

    and in this one around 0:18: