Archives For lighting

lydon wade's photo lighting room 107 series on guess the lighting

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of lyndon wade on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Lyndon Wade.

The Room 107 series is pretty sick. There are 12 or so different scenarios that take place in the same motel room. Everything from porn shoots to kidney harvesting to gangster shakedowns (how about that super realistic blood splatter?). This image was created with 6 strobes and 4 room lights. Check out a hi-res version here.

And yes. Lyndon is David Lindsey’s brother.

Camera: Canon D1s Mark II with a 50mm lens, positioned on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: I’m guessing this was a set built in a studio with more room to tweak light than an actual hotel room. The puncher and punchee are lit with a small softbox at f8 boomed high out of frame and slightly behind the two. A small softbox at f8 is boomed high above the man sitting on the bed and aimed toward the camera left wall. A small softbox at f8 is positioned similarly to camera right. Another small softbox at f8 is boomed high and center near the back wall, aimed downward. A standard reflector at f16 (+2 stops) is bounced off the bathroom ceiling and casts the highlights on the rear, camera-right wall. For the perfectly creepy, blueish fill, Lyndon used a silver beauty dish at f2.8 (-3 stops) with full CTB gel. A separate plate was shot at 1 second to capture the glow of all 4 lamp lights and composited together during post.

Comments: To heighten the sense of reality, Lyndon hired a real gangster “debt collector” as an on-set consultant. He proved invaluable in pointing out subtleties such as where the blood splatter should land, the precise ratio of water to cement mix and that duct tape has 1001 uses, from gag to handcuffs to noose.

david lindsey wade's photo lighting for shootout on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram for lindsey wade on guess the lighting blog

copyright, David Lindsey Wade.

Check out a hi-res image here.

This action-packed image is from David’s personal series depicting a drug bust gone bloody. It was created with 5 lights and the sun.

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark II with 28mm lens, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f16, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light on our hero shotgunner is a silver beauty dish at f16, positioned high and six feet to camera right. Another white beauty dish at f11 (-1 stop) is high and out of frame to camera left. This provides fill on the shotgunner and helps light the background characters. A standard reflector shot through a 6×6 silk at f16 is outside the window to camera left. Another standard reflector at f32 (+2 stops) is behind the wall in the kitchen to camera right and aimed toward the table. This provides the hot hair and arm highlights on the guys by the table. A Profoto giant, parabolic reflector at f4 1/2 (-3 1/2 stops) is behind camera for general fill. A separate plate of the bare room was shot at 1 second without lights to capture the lamp light, as well as the blown-out highlights from the sun in the back window. These elements were composited together in post.

Comments: David’s producer somehow swung it so they were shooting with real money and drugs. Since there was over $1 million in recovered, small bills and $200K in uncut cocaine, the real law enforcement was on set keeping tabs. All of the models were required to wear ankle monitors and take a drug test after the production wrapped.

john keatley's photo lighting of annie leibovitz on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of annie leibovitz on guess the lighting

copyright, John Keatley.

This rare portrait of Annie (not taken by herself) was shot for the Seattle Metropolitan and showcases the fact she looks through the camera viewfinder with her left eye. It was created with 3 lights.

Camera: Hasselblad H3D-II 31 with 80mm lens, set on a tripod six feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a gridded, small softbox at f8 1/2 (-.5 stops) positioned six feet to camera right and three feet above Annie’s head. The fill is a white umbrella at f4 (-3 stops) sitting just to camera left at head height. A seven inch reflector with a 20 degree grid at f5.6 (-2 stops) is low, behind Annie and angled up at the background. The shot is slightly underexposed, adding to the soft overall feel.

Comments: John felt just the smallest bit intimidated (who wouldn’t?) taking a portrait of one of the master portraitists of our time. He decided to steer the conversation away from photography and instead asked Annie if she had read any good books lately? She replied, “no, not really, but check this” and busted out into a well-choreographed pop and lock routine Boogaloo Sam had helped her with.

*Thanks to Nolan Wells for suggesting this image.

roger hagadone's photo lighting for polygamist on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram for roger hagadone on guess the lighting

copyright, Roger Hagadone.

Roger’s naughty polygamist, as I like to call her, is a striking image that takes you a bit by surprise as you look from top to bottom. It was created with 5 lights

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark iii with 50mm lens, set on a tripod 10 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a white beauty dish at f8 boomed high above camera and angled downward. A large octabank at f4 (-2 stops) positioned behind Roger serves as fill. Two small strip lights, both at f16 (+2 stops), are behind the model to camera left and right. They’re slightly above head height and create the hard highlights on the sides of her face and shoulders. A small softbox at f11 1/2 (+1.5 stops) sits low and behind the model, aimed at the back wall to create the glow.

Comments: It was tough for Roger to find actual polygamists who were willing to pose in such a way for the camera. He ended up settling on this model who, though not one of a posse of wives, did date a classmate and his father, simultaneously, senior year in high school.

david drebin's photo lighting in room with a view on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of david drebin on guess the lighting blog

copyright, David Drebin.

This striking and filmic still is from David’s book Room with a View (inspired from the eponymous Conde Nast Traveler column). It was taken in the NY Standard Hotel, 12th floor, and created with 2 lights.

Camera: Canon 5d Mark II with a 28mm lens, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a white beauty dish with grid at f8 1/2 positioned high and out of frame to camera left (up against the window). Another white beauty dish with grid at f4 is placed high and out of frame to camera right (also up against the window and aimed almost straight down). The background is a separate plate shot without strobes at 1/2 second, f8 then composited together in photoshop.

Comments: The model received special “hazard” pay because this was shot while the Standard was still under construction. The glass window panes had not been installed yet. The casting specs for this project read, “blond, around 30, not afraid of heights. And preferably without suicidal tendencies.”

platon's photo lighting for bill clinton esquire on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of bill clinton on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Platon.

This was Clinton’s last official portrait as president, created with 1 light for Esquire. After a session of typically presidential posing was complete, Platon asked Clinton to “show him the love.” The result caused a stir in the political mediasphere. Bob Woodward said on Larry King Live that, “the tie is an arrow pointing to his penis, his legs are splayed to present his crotch to us, his hands are big to grope you, and he’s smiling in a way to say I got away with it.”

Camera: Hasselblad 553ELX with 30mm fisheye lens and Kodak Portra film. Shot at 1/60, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key, and only, light is a small softbox at f8 directly over camera. Although it seems that another light is aimed at the background, I’m guessing this effect was created in post.

Comments: To break the ice, Platon tried teaching the president some cockney rhyming slang. Bill just laughed and said, “you said cockney.”

gavin bond's photo lighting of zach braff on guess the lighting

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of zach braff on guess the lighting

copyright, Gavin Bond.

This cinematic portrayal of Zach Braff atypically kicking ass in a barroom brawl was for the March 2006 issue of Giant. Gavin used 4 lights (and a large imagination) to make it happen.

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark II with 35mm lens, position on a tripod 8 feet back from Zach. Shot at 1/100, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: Although Gavin uses both HMIs and strobes in his photography, I’m guessing this image was all strobe (if you look closely, you can see hints in the reflections on the back wall and in the TV). The key light is a 72” octabank at f11 positioned 8 feet to camera left and 8 feet high. A medium octabank at f8 1/2 (- .5 stops) with the top third flagged is placed out of frame to camera left, near the man on the bar stool. A standard reflector with a full CT orange gel at f8 1/2 (-.5 stops) is behind the wall, near the cigarette machine, bounced straight into the ceiling. A 7” grid reflector with a 30 degree grid at f16 (+1 stop) and a full CT orange gel is out of frame to camera right, shoulder-height to Zach and nearer to the back wall.

Comments: When Gavin floated this last man standing idea past Zach’s publicist, she was worried it might damage his “nice guy” image. Zach immediately jumped in, saying firmly, “no, we’re doing this, please.” He later apologized for such a dramatic outburst and bought her a Tiffany charm bracelet and a year subscription to an orchid of the month club. Hopefully smoothing things over.

heimo schmidt's photo lighting for myth series on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram for heimo schmidt on guess the lighting

copyright, Heimo Schmidt.

Heimo’s Myths reinterpret the Norse mythology of Icelandic culture and give it a modern sensibility. This meticulously art-directed image was created with 1 light.

Camera: Toyo 45Aii with 150mm lens and Fuji Pro 160s film, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f32, ISO 100 (pulled 1/2 stop).

Lighting: the key light is a white umbrella at f32 set 8 feet to camera right and 10 feet high. A white bounce card provides the fill (f16)  to camera left. The sun is high and behind the barn, providing the subtle hair light on her braid and added definition to the grass.

Comments: To this day, Heimo firmly believes he didn’t upset or offend any of the Norse Gods with this photo project. And that nothing supernatural or otherworldly happened while shooting. But when, immediately after breaking down this shot, a lighting bolt split the barn in two, the sky turned a brownish red and the model’s hair morphed into a pack of spit-spewing, miniature hyenas, some on set felt otherwise.

Simon Harsent's photo lighting of Mr. T on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of Mr. T on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Simon Harsent.

With the Hollywood remake of the A-Team, Mr. T is back in vogue (did he ever really leave?). This typically moody Harsent portrait was created with 2 lights.

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark II with a 24-70mm lens, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: Simon’s portraiture is usually dark and lit with an elegant simplicity. The key light is a medium octabank at f8, eight feet to camera left and 9 feet high. A seven inch gridded reflector with a full CT blue gel at f5.6 (-1 stop) is behind Mr. T to camera right and head level.

Comments: It wasn’t easy to track down T for the shoot as he’s been hiding for years on a remote island with the ability to move itself. And in deference to the current economic conditions, he willingly removed much of his trademark gold and insisted that one of the PAs keep it. As long as she didn’t sell it on eBay.

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.