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gregory crewdson's photo lighting of woman on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of gregory crewdson on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Gregory Crewdson

This haunting image of a woman planting flowers in her kitchen is one of Crewdson’s cinematic, personal projects shot in studio. I’m guessing he used precisely 11 lights to create this effect.

Camera: Sinar 8×10 view camera with Rodenstock 360mm lens and Kodak Portra NC 160 film, on a tripod 10 feet back from model. Shot at 1 second, f32, ISO 160.

Lighting: Most of Crewdson’s images have a moody, otherworldly feel to them and this shot is no exception. There is not so much a key light as various light sources hitting our model and leaving her in different degrees of shadow. Two 200 watt, tungsten fresnels (shot through a silk) are eight feet camera left. Two other 200 watt, tungsten fresnels are in the same spot camera right. They all serve as front fill on our model. A 650 watt, tungsten fresnel (shot through a silk) is out of frame camera left and slightly behind the model, shaping the highlights on her face. A 1K fresnel (shot through a silk) is behind the kitchen door in the rear left of the shot. Two, 1K fresnels (shot through a silk) are behind the kitchen window in the rear right. Two more 1K fresnels (shot through a silk) are behind the front, right kitchen window. A Rosco Delta 6000 fog machine creates the light streaks. A 100 watt lightbulb hangs in the chandelier to give a touch of reality.

Comments: Though this was an expensive shoot, Crewdson was able to save on florist costs by planting flower bulbs and seeds when the crew began building the set and lighting, then waiting for them to grow. The model initially had a short bob and weighed 10 pounds more, but that was accounted for during casting.