John Keatley’s lighting on his Annie Leibovitz portrait

October 18, 2010 — 3 Comments

john keatley's photo lighting of annie leibovitz on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of annie leibovitz on guess the lighting

copyright, John Keatley.

This rare portrait of Annie (not taken by herself) was shot for the Seattle Metropolitan and showcases the fact she looks through the camera viewfinder with her left eye. It was created with 3 lights.

Camera: Hasselblad H3D-II 31 with 80mm lens, set on a tripod six feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a gridded, small softbox at f8 1/2 (-.5 stops) positioned six feet to camera right and three feet above Annie’s head. The fill is a white umbrella at f4 (-3 stops) sitting just to camera left at head height. A seven inch reflector with a 20 degree grid at f5.6 (-2 stops) is low, behind Annie and angled up at the background. The shot is slightly underexposed, adding to the soft overall feel.

Comments: John felt just the smallest bit intimidated (who wouldn’t?) taking a portrait of one of the master portraitists of our time. He decided to steer the conversation away from photography and instead asked Annie if she had read any good books lately? She replied, “no, not really, but check this” and busted out into a well-choreographed pop and lock routine Boogaloo Sam had helped her with.

*Thanks to Nolan Wells for suggesting this image.

  • Great stuff. I’ve been a fan of John Keatley’s work for quite some time now, and it’s good to see it dissected here.

  • I love this portrait. A solid nod to Avedon. The PDN win was well-deserved.

    I’m guessing the key light was a 6′ para though!