Archives For fine art

eric ogden's photo lighting of penelope cruz on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of penelope cruz on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Eric Ogden

This highly cinematic and dramatic fine-art portrait of Penelope Cruz tells a million stories, each one as haunting as you care to make it. It was created with 3 lights.

Camera: Mamiya RZ67 with 90mm lens and Kodak Portra VC 400 ASA film, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 400.

Lighting: Eric considers shadow and darkness additional “characters” in his images – as important (if not more) than the subject. The key light is a medium octabank at f8 positioned outside the window and out of frame to camera left. I only call this light the “key” because it’s responsible for illuminating Penelope’s face. A gridded, 7” reflector with a straw-colored gel at f8 1/2 lights her back from the waist up. It’s placed just out of frame to camera right near the back wall. A silver umbrella with a straw-colored warming gel at f8 sits hidden outside to camera right of the window aimed at the hanging foliage and ground. Penelope’s reflection was added in post.

Comments: After Eric served a specially-prepared dinner of duelos y quebrantos, Almodóvar’s muse got into character by reflecting on what life may have been like as Penelope Cruz-Cruise.

irving penn's photo lighting of nude kate moss on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of nude kate moss on guess the lighting

copyright, Irving Penn

Though this timeless image of Ms. Moss from 1996 could have been created with a 2 light setup, Irving shot it using only natural light from a large skylight in his studio.

*Thanks to Nico Silberfaden for suggesting this image.

Camera: Rolleiflex 2.8f twin lens reflex camera with Kodak Tri-X 400 film, set on a tripod 8 feet back from the model. Shot at 1/60, f2.8, ISO 160 (pulled 1.5 stops).

Lighting: A large, overhead skylight lets the graciously-soft northern light pour down at f2.8 toward camera right. This leaves some of Kate in shadow and the right side of the background nicely lit.

Comments: Even approaching 80, Irving was a constant trickster. He would only speak to Kate in a cockney accent and kept referring to himself as Avedon. Tea was served at noon, tequila shots at 2:30, cigarettes continually.

dan winters' photo lighting of schwarzenegger on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of scharzenegger on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Dan Winters

This personality-filled, personality portrait of the Governator from Dan’s book Periodical Photographs was created with 2 light sources.

Camera: Sinar F1 4×5 camera with Schneider 210mm lens and Kodak Portra 160 NC negative film, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f22, ISO 80 (pulled 1 stop).

Lighting: The beauty of all Dan’s images lies in his signature, simple lighting. The key light here is a large octabank at f22 six feet to camera right. An on-camera ring flash at f11 adds just enough punch to open the shadows.

Comments: While Arnold was blowing this big league-sized bubble, the producer asked him how many fish tacos he wanted for lunch.

dicorcis's photo lighting of heads project on guess the lighting blog
dicorcis's photo lighting of heads project on guess the lighting blog

dicorcis's photo lighting of heads project on guess the lighting blog

dicorcis's photo lighting of heads project on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of dicorcia on guess the lighting

copyright, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia

These simple, yet highly-narrative, images from DiCorcia’s “Heads” series were secretly taken on the streets of New York City with 1 light (which was attached to scaffolding and unbeknownst to the subjects).

Camera: Nikon F2 with 300mm lens and Kodak Portra 100 ASA film, set on a tripod across the street. Shot at 1/60, f22, ISO 100. The lens was stopped down to create a dark canvas for the characters to pop against.

Lighting: The hidden strobe is a Profoto Magnum reflector with 10 degree honeycomb grid at f22. It’s positioned high and to camera left on temporary scaffolding with a super clamp. DiCorcia waits until a pedestrian walks by the marked spot, then takes their portrait.

Comments: Most of the New Yorkers in this series were such New Yorkers that they didn’t really notice the blinding strobe flashing in their eyes and walked on without any comment. Except Erno Nussenzweig, who sued DiCorcia for $2 million before the case was finally dismissed.

loretta lux's photo lighting of drummer on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of drummer on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Loretta Lux

Part of her haunting and surreal Works IV, The Drummer (although overall very flat) was made with 6 lights. Sometimes you need a lot of light to make it appear that you don’t.

Camera: Nikon D2X with 50mm lens, set on tripod 8 feet from child. Shot at 1/60, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: Since Loretta’s goal is to create an uber-flat image, no key lighting exists. All of the lights are used to flatten the child’s skin tones, while leaving a hint of shadow (under his chin). 2 white umbrellas at f5.6 1/2 are six feet to both camera right and left, and 4 feet above the boy’s head. 2 normal reflectors on a light tree at f4 1/2 are bounced into the white side of a v-flat behind camera, just to the right. Another 2, with the exact setup, are just to the left. This helps to fill most of the shadow.

Comments: For lunch, the caterer served fish sticks, chicken strips, carrot strips, apple strips and ketchup. The boy had been beating like a maniac on the drum, but stopped abruptly, here, when Loretta told him her real name is

tim flach's photo lighting for equus on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of equus on guess the lighting blog

 

copyright, Tim Flach

This award-winning image from Tim’s tribute to horses, Equus, was made with 2 lights and the sun.

Camera: Hasselblad H1 with 100mm lens and Hassy CF-39 digital back, resting on a tripod 12 feet from the horse. Shot at 1/60, f.5.6, ISO 200.

Lighting: The key light is a medium softbox at f8 with a grid and no baffle, positioned high, slightly behind and six feet to camera left of the horse. This keeps the light specular and focused on the horse’s face and neck. Another gridded, medium softbox at f2.8 is set four feet to camera right, filling the image so it doesn’t lose any texture. The sun outside the window at f.4 neutrally lights the desert. The cumulative effect directs our eye right to the horse’s.

Comments: Tim hired a real-life horse whisper who was advertised as even better than Robert Redford in the movie. Most of the day he did, in fact, use words to keep the chestnut calm on set. But for this particular expression, he decided a red-hot, branding iron would be more motivating.

brian finke's photo lighting of flight attendants on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of flight attendants on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Brian Finke

Brian traveled the world and embedded himself with different groups of airline employees for his photo book Flight Attendants. This image of a training exercise (I’m guessing) was shot with 3 speedlights and 2 overhead, reading lights.

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark II with 35mm f.1.4 lens, set on a tripod 8 feet from model. Shot at 1/60, f5.6, ISO 400.

Lighting: Knowing that Brian shot much of this series while on real flights, I think he used smaller speedlights instead of packs and heads. The key light is coming from a speedlight at f5.6 held high by an assistant out of frame and to camera right of the flight attendant (it catches the back of her head as well as the smoke-filled cabin). Another speedlight at f2.8 is held by an assistant high and just to the right of the camera. This helps light the smoke near the top of the frame. The last speedlight is on-camera at f2.8 and slightly fills the model and the area under the overhead compartments. The two reading lights are airline issue.

Comments: Lunch during the shoot was served in Saran Wrapped plates and drinks were poured into plastic cups. If you asked nicely, you were allowed to keep the whole can of soda. Cocktails and wine were an additional $6. Brian also tried to avoid any turbulence with the model by making a moratorium on mile high club jokes.

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.

fullerton-batten's photo lighting of falling woman on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of falling woman on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Julia Fullerton-Batten

Here’s one image from Julia’s “in between” series (really provocative series of women not exactly falling). My guess is that she used 3 lights to make this image.

Camera: Hasselblad H4 with 50mm lens and Hassy digital back, on a tripod 8 feet from the falling model. Shot at 1/250, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light on the model is an Elinchrom octabank at f11, up high and to the left of the model, out of frame, pointed downward. A small softbox is boomed high and overhead of the bed at f11, creating that nice highlight in the middle of the duvet cover. Another small softbox is boomed high over the chair at the right of the image, also at f11. By using only these 3 lights in such a large room, the absence of light in the other areas helps bring emotion and focus to our falling woman.

Comments: This image was shot after lunch where Julia finished half of a tuna fish sandwich and a green tea. The model, a trained stunt woman, actually launched herself into the air and fell for each take. Just before hitting the ground, she spun around and landed on her feet just like a cat would, to much applause.

phil toledano's photo lighting of plastic surgery on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of phil toledano on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Philip Toledano

This is a portrait of Steve from Mr. Toledano’s recent series “a new kind of beauty” (profiling people obsessed with plastic surgery). I’m guessing 3 lights were used to capture this haunting and strangely beautiful image.

Camera: Contax 645 with 80mm lens and a Phase One P25 back. On tripod 8 feet from the subject. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: Key light is a Profoto, white beauty dish with a sock at f8.5 positioned 6 feet camera left. There is no fill light, but a white bounce card has been positioned to the right of the model. A small soft box is boomed directly overhead the model at f5.6 to keep the hair from going black. A head with normal reflector is about 6 feet behind the model and camera right at f8.5 to create the shoulder and neck highlights.

Comments: Phil shot this topless and let Steve keep the towel afterwards. Neko Case and Blind Melon alternated on the iPod.