Annie Leibovitz lights the cast of Game of Thrones for Vanity Fair

July 3, 2014 — 18 Comments

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.

  • p

    Nice to have you back!!!

  • luc

    Good to see you again!

    • thank you

      • Daniel James T. Cook

        Holy lord, you’re back. I thought you had abanded your blog for good.

  • R

    Thanks for posting again!

  • Mike Yamin

    I’ve been missing this Ted… hope you keep it going!!

    • thank you. i’m planning to keep it going again.

  • I

    Yesss you’re back! 🙂

  • Sebastian

    Pretty close. No tripod though. Here’s the BTS video where you can see all

    Good to have you back! Post more often!

  • Frankie


  • Chim Patel

    Wicked man, was reading your articles last year, not a bad way to get active again 😀

  • B

    Glad to have you back!

  • Clayton Rascoe

    hey ted! would you be able to feature how bruce weber shoot some of his BW and colour images? Thanks!

  • JBedford

    Yessssss. Thanks for posting again. Leibovitz breakdowns are always fun to see, but generally default to the Softlighter I think. What of the light falloff…A factor here?