Archives For campaign

alex prager photo lighting for bottega veneta on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of alex prager for guess the lighting blog

copyright, Alex Prager.

Alex Prager is hot stuff right now. If you haven’t heard of her (shame on you—less telly), you surely will. Her fine art work is brilliantly cinematic. She’s a sort of modern-day Cindy Sherman and has been exhibited at little museums like the MoMA and Whitney in New York City. When Bottega Veneta asked her to shoot their latest advertising campaign, they were rewarded with truly provocative imagery that doesn’t look like all the other current fashion ads. This particular execution (with a not-so-subtle nod to Hitchcock) was created with 2 HMI lights.

Camera: Contax 645 with 80mm lens and Kodak Portra 160NC film, handheld 12 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: To mimic and blend with the midday sunlight, Alex has set an Arri 12,000 watt fresnel HMI fifteen feet to camera right, up high and slightly behind the model. A one-stop silk in front helps to soften the light just a touch and create the attractive highlight on his face. An Arri 6,000 watt fresnel HMI with barn doors sits twelve feet to camera left and is positioned in front of the model and lower to help fill the shadows. To achieve this dynamic, upward angle, Alex must have built a stage for the model to stand on.

Comments: Shoot with live birds and you chance the occasional pooping. These pigeons possessed an almost supernatural aim. When the poor model was nicked three times within an hour, Alex told him it was good luck. He had his reservations until he won the local Pick 3 lottery the following day.

ellen von unwerth's photo lighting for Absolut vodka on guess the lighting

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of von unwerth on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Ellen von Unwerth.

When Absolut Vodka asked ex-model-turned-fashion-photographer-extraordinaire Ellen Von Unwerth to tackle their new ad campaign, she jumped at the opportunity. Working with Kate Beckinsale and Zooey Deschanel, Ellen brought a playful, enchanting aesthetic to the imagery (makes me fancy a tall glass of Absolut right this moment, actually). This enigmatic still (I’d like to be a fly on the wall of one of Ellen’s dreams) was created with four HMIs.

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark III with 70-200mm lens, set on a tripod 15 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a 6k Arri fresnel HMI at f11 ½ (+½ stop) set on a highboy roller directly above and behind camera. A set of barn doors helps focus the light on Kate. A 1.2k Arri fresnel HMI with barn doors at f16 ½ (+1 ½ stops) sits just out of frame to camera right. This light is aimed at the Absolut bottle and creates the alluring highlight on the side of the bottle. A 1.2k fresnel at f16 ½ (+1 ½ stops) with a full CT orange gel aimed at the rear wall rests just off the ground, directly behind Kate. Another 1.2k fresnel with barn doors at f16 ½ (+1 ½ stops) sits on the floor behind Kate and is focused upwards at the rear wall. This creates the whitish glow on the wall as well as the floor.

Comments: The set designer for this shoot loved the creative concept but had some logistical problems with its execution. Born into an incredibly superstitious family, she was not willing to chance seven years bad luck (or worse, the death of a family member) propping the broken mirror. As a compromise, she agreed to watch via a video feed from a nearby room and direct her assistant over walkie talkies.

craig cutler's photo lighting for heineken ad on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram for heineken ad on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Craig Cutler.

Craig is a master of lighting. He’ll light a bottle of booze for three days until it’s “just right.” This shot is a departure from his typically fastidious nature. It’s raw. It’s a little sloppy. You can smell it like a scratch-n-sniff. Kudos to Craig for getting out of his comfort zone and driving home the point that it’s all about the beer. Done with 2 strobes.

Camera: Sinar p2 4×5 with Schneider 150mm Apo-Symmar and Kodak Portra VC 160 film, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/60, F32, ISO 100 (pulled 1/2 stop).

Lighting: The key light is an on-camera ring light at f22 1/2 (-1/2 stop). A standard reflector at f32 1/2 (+1/2 stop) is bounced up against the cabinetry (I’m guessing there are some above the sink) from camera left to break up the flatness.

Comments: It took over 4 hours for the stylist to make the food look as perfectly horrendous as it does. Not surprisingly, nobody had much of an appetite by lunch time and drank luke-warm Amstels in lieu of food.

tony d'orio's photo lighting of baby for Huggies ad on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of tony d'orio on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Tony D’Orio.

This ad for Huggies wipes portrays the young, otherwise cute baby as a serious, demanding, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer CEO of his parents’ lives. I think this matches a pose Lee Iacocca made for Forbes Magazine back in the 80s and was created with 3 lights.

Camera: Hasselblad H1 with Phase One P45+ back and 80mm lens, set on a tripod 5 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a small softbox at f11 boomed directly overhead of the baby and aimed straight down. This creates the contrast and the dark eyes (very unique for baby photography). A white beauty dish at f4 1/2 (-2 1/2 stops) is boomed above the camera and serves as a slight fill. A standard reflector at f16 (+1 stop) is sitting low on the ground behind the boy and aimed upward at the backdrop. This creates the glowing gradient.

Comments: Tony had four, 3-month-olds on set, but this boy instantly became the star. Though he couldn’t yet speak, his body language talked at great lengths about his disappointment with the prosecution’s handling of the Enron scandal, the differences between a 10 and 18-year-old scotch and how derivatives weren’t the devil they were made out to be by the liberal media.

Saverio Truglia's photo lighting of taped baby on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of taped baby on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Saverio Truglia.

This charming image begs the question, “is it natural light or not?” Though it may seem this shot was lit with sunlight through the window and some tv glow on the recliner, Saverio used 10 strobes to create the effect.

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark II with 35mm lens, set on a tripod 20 feet back from the baby. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a magnum reflector at f8 set, gelled with 1/2 CT orange, outside the window and aimed in through the blinds. This lights the baby and creates the square of light that immediately draws the eye. A standard reflector at f4 1/2 (-1.5 stops), gelled this with 1/2 CT orange, is positioned against the rear wall to camera right, pointing down at the book case. Another standard reflector at f4 1/2 (-1.5 stops), also gelled with 1/2 CT orange, is low out of frame to camera right and aimed at the recliner. A standard reflector at f8 1/2 (+.5 stops), gelled with 1/2 CT orange, is high out of frame to camera left, aimed down at the recliner. A standard reflector at f4 1/2 (-1.5 stops), gelled with 1/2 CT blue, is placed low to camera left and angled up at the recliner to create a glow from the television. A standard reflector at f4 (-2 stops) is bounced into the white side of a v-flat behind the camera to the left, and another to the right. The 3 lamp heads are powered with AC slaves.

Saverio also shot a plate without strobes at a longer exposure so he could composite the lamp’s glow on the ceiling in post.

Comments: The prop stylist brought along a boat-load of different tapes before settling on the hardware store brand duct tape. It was the perfect complimentary color, had a pleasing, medium sheen, held well to the wall and didn’t take off a great deal of the boy’s skin upon removal. win, win, win, win.

Child services was not contacted.

sacha waldman's photo lighting of kohler ventriloquists on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of ventriliquist

copyright, Sacha Waldman

This mid-century feeling ventriloquist shot from the Kohler faucet campaign (photographer’s alternate cropping) gets funnier the longer you look at it. It was created with 9 strobes and 12 AC slaves with standard household, screw-type, lamp socket connections.

Camera: Contax 645 with 55mm lens and Leaf Aptus 22 back, set on a tripod 8 feet from closest models. Shot at 1/125, f16, ISO 100.

Lighting: A lot of light is used for this large set and cast. The key light is a 7’ Octabank at f16 (without any baffle) boomed 5 feet directly over camera and angled downward. A large softbox at f11 is centered below and just in front of camera, angled upward. Notice the nice highlights on the faucet this creates. Another large softbox at f16 is boomed high over and 9 feet in front of camera, out of frame and angled downward at a 30 degree angle. High out of frame and to camera left, a normal reflector at f11 1/2 is angled downward toward the center of frame. Stuck up in the top center of the tent, a standard reflector at f22 and attached to the pole creates the bright highlights on the material. In the rear of the tent to camera left, another standard reflector at f22 is hidden behind the fold and aimed upward. Outside the rear of the tent high to camera right, a magnum reflector at f22 is pointed downward. This creates the flare in the tent hole and the highlights on the man standing in the opening. Hidden behind the open trunk in the rear to camera right, a standard reflector at f22 is aimed into the bottom of the tent. Out of frame to camera right and ten feet in front of the camera, a standard reflector at f16 is aimed toward the middle of frame. This helps light the second row of models. The string of bare light bulbs and the hanging lantern are AC slaves. With longer recycling times, some did not fire every shot.

Whew. That was a mouthful.

Comments: Having all the ventriloquists drink water was a genius idea conceptually, but led to “logistical” challenges. Nothing a row of luxury Porta-Johns directly outside the tent couldn’t fix, though.

achim lippoth's photo lighting of girl on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of achim lippoth for guess the lighting blog

copyright, Achim Lippoth

This cute, but punchy, shot of a little darling getting the age-old squeeze from Grandma is from an ad campaign for Findus Fraich’ Frites. This image was created with 4 lights.

Camera: Hasselblad H1 with 150mm lens and Leaf Aptus 75 digital back, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 50.

Lighting: The key light is a small softbox at f8 (with outer baffle removed) above and five feet to the right of camera. A second, small softbox at f8 (with outer baffle removed), high out of frame camera left and slightly behind the girl provides the highlights on her hair and cheek. The highlights on the top of her head are created with a small softbox at f11 boomed above and slightly behind her. The directional light on the back wall is shaped with a final, small softbox at f5.6 (feathered so the light fades off to camera right).

Comments: After the 42nd take, the girl karate chopped the elderly model in the stomach and stomped off set screaming “Sie zahlen nicht genug für mich diese alte Dame.” The final image, here, was take 41.

erwin olaf's photo lighting of dirty denim on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of erwin olaf on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Erwin Olaf

An oldie but a goodie, this shot for the Diesel Jeans “Dirty Denim” ad campaign features a pair of naughty octogenarians. And was created with 2 lights (not including the 4 light bulbs in the wall sconces).

Camera: Hasselblad 503CW with 80mm lens and Kodak EPP 100 transparency film, set on tripod 10 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: Erwin uses a very simple but effective lighting setup to direct our focus to grandma’s hijinks (while managing to make the jeans look pretty good too). One small softbox at f5.6 1/2 is boomed above and slightly in front of grandma’s head (and angled towards her) from the right. Another softbox at f5.6 is boomed above and in between the couple (and aimed toward grandpa) from the left. Just the slight bit more light on her helps to lead our eye to grandma first. The wall sconces were shot as a separate frame with a long exposure (2 seconds) and then composited into the final image.

Comments: The couple spent most of the morning arguing over whether to listen to Benny Goodman or Glen Miller on the turntable Erwin had rented especially for the occasion. By the time they finally started shooting, Grandpa was worn out and took an impromptu nap, which happened to work out okay. The glasses were intentionally filled with real, rye whiskey instead of cola.