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michael thompson's photo lighting of juliianne moore on guess the lighting

The Grand Odalisque on guess the lighting blog

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

copyright, Michael Thompson.

This portrait taken in 2003 for the cover of American Photograph magazine pays tribute to Jean-Auguste Ingres’ famous 19th-century painting La Grande Adalisque. Michael was originally supposed to shoot Julianne in a couture dress, but was so inspired by her flawless skin he switched directions. To this day, there is much debate over which is sexier. My two cents: who cares?

This is lit with one (count it, one) light.

Camera: Pentax 67 II with 90mm lens and Kodak Portra 160 film, set on a tripod 10 feet back. Shot at 1/30, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a large octabank at f8 set eight feet to camera left and slightly in front. Michael added an extra diffuser to soften the light even more.

Comments: The final select here was taken moments before the scraggly tree caught on fire (the prop stylist had positioned it too close to the oil lamp). Which then fell into the blue curtain, which set ablaze. No one was hurt and the fire was quickly extinguished, but many happy onlookers ogled in joy as a naked Julianne Moore ran outside the studio. “Wow, she really does have amazing skin,” was heard more than once.

mert & marcus' photo lighting interview mag for guess the lighting

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram diane kruger on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Mert & Marcus.

This shot from the September 2009 issue of Interview Magazine mixes the provocative fashion of Eyes Wide Shut with German military regalia. Like only M&M can do. It was created with 4 lights.

*Special thanks to Alex MacPherson for the suggestion.

Camera: Hasselblad 553 ELX with Phase One P45 digital back and 80mm lens, handheld 10 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: Since this image relies more on shadow than light, the key is actually a silver umbrella at f16 (+2 stops) to camera left of Diane and slightly behind her. A large Octabank at f2.8 1/2 (-2.5 stops) behind camera serves as overall fill. Two small strip lights, both at f8, are behind Diane to the left and right. These are aimed down at the floor and provide some separation from the rear wall.

Comments: Fresh off the Inglourious Basterds set as Bridget von Hammersmark, Diane was constantly pressed for some good Tarantino gossip. She wouldn’t tell anyone about Quentin’s love life or if they got together while shooting, but she did finally find out what was in that briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Apparently after drinking one too many black russians, Quentin confessed that the golden glow wasn’t Marcellus’ soul or anything deep like that; but, an Oscar statue he assumed he’d win later that year.

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.

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.

Guess the “meat couture”

September 20, 2010 — 7 Comments

This is a slight departure from the norm, but hey, it’s Monday. Try to guess who shot these two outfits made from fresh, USDA prime cuts of beef. First one to post the correct answers wins total consciousness, on their deathbeds. Which is nice.

And which adornment looks the meatiest of the two? Ready. Go.

We can talk about lighting at a later date.

terry richardson photo lighting for lady gaga on guess the lighting

ted sabarese photo lighting of meat skirt on guess the lighting blog

 

steven klein's photo lighting for amber valletta on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of amber valletta on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Steven Klein.

Steven Klein’s work usually tends toward the dark – from his lighting to his provocative narratives. This image of a caged Amber Valletta wearing, i believe, a horse bridle (and isn’t that a mountain lion I see directly behind her?) was created with 3 lights.

To get a better look at the pic, click here.

Camera: Canon Powershot G10, handheld 8 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200.

Lighting: The key light is a white beauty dish at f5.6 with a red gel seven feet to camera right. Another white beauty dish at f4 1/2 (- .5 stops) is four feet directly above camera, serving as the fill and helping amber’s skin to not look completely demonic. A standard reflector at f8 (+1 stop) is positioned high, out of frame to camera left (outside the fence), ten feet behind Amber.

Comments: Though Ms. Valletta is not afraid of oversized cats, she is allergic to them. Next to the M&Ms, Twizzlers and Cool Ranch Doritos, the person in charge of craft services had an assortment of antihistamines. The mountain lion, conversely, was allergic to sugar and went into anaphylactic shock when the third assistant unknowingly tossed him a Lifesaver.

jeff minton's photo lighting of juggler on guess the lighting blog

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

copyright, Jeff Minton

Jeff’s lighting usually has a seemingly simple, pleasing quality to it (though there’s more going on than we’d think). In this image for the New York Times Magazine, Jeff has managed to evenly light the room and bring out the character of the subjects with 4 lights. To get a better look at the image, click here.

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark II with 35mm lens, handheld 10 feet back from the subjects. Shot at 1/250, f5.6, ISO 100.

Lighting: It’s not easy to light a large room like this, but no prob for jeff. The key light is a white beauty dish at f8, up high and eight feet to camera left, aimed at the juggler’s head. The room is lit by an on-camera ring flash a f5.6, which also serves as a nice fill for all the people. A standard reflector at f8 is out of frame to camera left and positioned three feet past the older man. A narrow beam reflector with barn doors at f11 is placed outside the window to camera right and aimed in at the juggler’s head, creating the hair highlights and rim lighting on his shoulder. The mountains outside are pretty evenly lit by a cloudy sky, metering at f5.6.

Comments: Jeff brought along a whole arsenal of juggling objects other than the pins: chainsaws, machetes, chickens, tennis racquets, bowling balls, torches, urban axes and legs of lamb. Unfortunately, he never got to shoot with any of them. Early in the day, the juggler dropped a pin which chipped the coffee table. The elderly woman in the shot, who also owned the home, threw a fit and everyone out. She then called her son-in-law to come by with “some glue” and “maybe a pliers” to fix the table before her Texas Hold’em group met the following morning.

chris buck's photo lighting of steven martin on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of steve martin on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Chris Buck

This quietly hilarious shot of Steve Martin was on the cover of Photo District News Magazine. And it’s deeper than it looks. It’s based on Robert Doisneau’s shot of Picasso taken in 1952 and an homage to all three artists. You can get the whole story here. Oh, and this shot was made with 1 light and the sun.

Camera: Mamiya RZ67 with 110mm lens and Kodak Portra NC 400 ASA film, set on a tripod 10 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f5.6, ISO 400.

Lighting: With the higher speed film, Chris is able to compliment the natural light from the window with 1 medium Octabank at f5.6 positioned three feet to camera right. For fill, a v-flat with the white side facing out is placed camera left of Steve, just out of frame. The sunlight through the window at f4 helps to warm the room just a touch and create an evenly lit image with just enough contrast to pique our interest.

Comments: There were originally five bread fingers for each hand, but Steve made a couple of Nutella sandwiches for breakfast before he realized he was eating the props. His look of shame is authentic even though everyone assured him it was no biggie.

aorta's photo lighting for 125 magazine on guess the lighting blog

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

copyright, Aorta

This cinematic and heroic image for the cover 125 magazine was created with 5 lights. FYI, Aorta is Swedish duo Marco Grizelj and Kristian Krän.

Camera: Hasselbad H2 with 80mm lens and Phase One P30+ digital back, set on a tripod twelve feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a silver beauty dish at f11, seven feet to camera left and angled down. Another silver beauty dish (for fill, if you can call it that here) at f8 is set seven feet to camera right and angled down. A 30 degree grid reflector at f11 is positioned behind the door out of frame to the left. This creates the punchy light on the kneeling woman’s face and arm. An Elinchrom spot reflector at f11 positioned outside the glass doors shoots in. A normal reflector at f16 is boomed high above the main model and slightly behind her and to camera right. This gives the strong highlights on her hair.

Comments: Team Aorta likes to give the talent intricate back stories to help shape the cinematic tenor of the image. For this shot, our hero woman’s husband smashed one of her favorite Norman Rockwell collector plates when she told him he couldn’t participate in fantasy football. She’s deciding between keying his cherry red 1967 Mercedes 250SL or divorce. Her mother, on the floor, is relieved because she had accidentally chipped the plate earlier this month and glued it back together. Now she will not be caught and disinvited from any future Thanksgiving dinners.