Archives For GQ


Michael Thompson's photo lighting of Rihanna for GQ on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of rihanna for gq on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Michael Thompson.

Rihanna may currently be entangled in a dab of plagiarism controversy over her latest video, but that doesn’t take away from the utter sexiness seeping from this January 2010 GQ cover. Michael’s soft, backlighting paints a glamorous yet angelic picture of this rock and roll siren. Five strobes did the trick.

Camera: Hasselblad H3D-39 and 100mm lens, handheld 10 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 50.

Lighting: The main light sources come from the sides and behind. A large softbox at f16 ½ (+2 ½ stops) is positioned behind a framed, one-stop diffusion silk to camera left and behind Rihanna. Another large softbox at f8 ½ (+ ½ stop) with framed silk sits similarly to camera right. A medium softbox at f5.6 (-1 stop) sits four feet to camera left and eight feet high. Two white umbrellas at f11 (+1 stop) light the white background from both camera right and left, in the rear.

Comments: Both avid potholers, Michael and Rihanna spent a good part of the shoot discussing their favorite secret caverns, halogen vs. LED helmet lights and whether a figure-of-eight knot was stronger than an alpine butterfly. All of which helped distract Rihanna from the fact her shorts, although very cool, wouldn’t zip up all the way.

Antoine Verglas' photo lighting of angelina jolie on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of angeline jolie on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Antoine Verglas.

Pre Brad. Pre mother of 37 children. This 2000 portrait of Angelina for British GQ was created with 3 lights. Soft lights.

Camera: Pentax 67 with 90mm lens and Kodak Portra 100 negative film, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/30, f5.6, ISO 100. The image was color, then scanned and converted to b&w.

Lighting: The key light is a large octabank at f5.6 boomed directly over camera and angled slightly downward. The two large soft boxes at f11 (+2 stops) positioned behind the frame with a full silk create the softly glowing, white background and also add the highlights on Angelina’s cheeks and torso.

Comments: Angelina flew herself to the shoot in a Cirrus SR-22 single piston engine aircraft, which she ejected from and let crash into the ocean. While parachuting toward the studio, she changed into wardrobe, applied makeup and curled her hair. She then cut the chute, shattered through an oversized skylight, landed upright, brushed off any stray chards of glass, winked to Antoine and said, “let’s do this bitch, Ant.”

nadav kander's photo lighting of spike jonze on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of spike jonze on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Nadav Kander

A contemplative Spike Jonze for GQ was created with, I’m guessing, 5 heads. The cool berry/flower/weed design was done in post. But you knew that.

Camera: Hasselblad H4 with 120mm macro lens and 50MP Hassy digital back, hand-held, 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a white beauty dish at f8 boomed high behind the camera and pointed down. Two normal reflectors, both at f5.6, are shot through white, translucent umbrellas 5 feet camera left and right for the fill light. To light the background, one normal reflector at f5.6 was bounced into the white side of a v-flat on both the left and right sides of frame. This allows the background to fall off from true white and match, more closely, Spike’s skin tone.

Comments: To get this visual reaction from Mr. Jonze, Nadav asked him to try to think of ten other famous Spikes while everyone on set just stared in silence and waited for the answer.