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mert & marcus' photo lighting for dsquared on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of mert & marcus on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Mert & Marcus.

This image from Dsquared2’s “Aseptic Chic” fall/winter 2010 ad campaign is actually relatively tame compared to the others. The dark and haunting sexiness juxtaposes quite nicely with the sterile, glassed and coolly-lit environment. It’s hot, in a this-may-give-you-nightmares kind of way. And I wouldn’t expect any less from M&M (or D&D, for that matter) who shot this with seven lights.

Camera: Hasselblad 553 ELX with Phase One P45+ digital back and 80mm lens, handheld 11 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: Our foreground model on display is lit with a 7-inch grid reflector and 30 degree grid at f11 ½ (+ ½ stop), boomed directly overhead and aimed down at her face. A white beauty dish with diffusion and a full CT blue gel at f8 (- 1 stop) is also boomed high overhead and slightly behind the model. This creates the cool highlights on her hair and on the display box. The background model is lit similarly. A 7-inch grid reflector and 30 degree grid at f11 is boomed overhead (the ½ stop less light focuses our attention to the foreground). Another white beauty dish with diffusion and a full CT blue gel at f8 (-1 stop) is boomed high and slightly behind her. A medium, gridded softbox with full CT blue gel at f5.6 ½ (-1 ½ stops) is positioned eight feet to camera right, eight feet high and almost parallel to our male model.  A medium, white umbrella with a full CT orange gel at f5.6 (-2 stops) is set ten feet to camera left and slightly behind him. This adds just a hint of warmth to his back. An octabank at f2.8 1/2 (-3.5 stops) is behind camera and serves as fill to keep things from going completely black.

Comments: Sticklers for realism, M&M had the glass cases constructed around the models so they would truly feel on-display. The prop stylist forgot to include air vents, though, in his minimalist design. He only realized the oversight when one model began to show early signs of asphyxiation. Luckily, the naked man was an off-duty fireman and broke through the glass with a nearby c-stand. Everyone was okay and, although most on-set wanted to hug him for his bravery, they merely gave the thumbs up.