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steven meisel's photo lighting for vogue italia on guess the lighting

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of steven meisel on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Steven Meisel.

Steven’s sizeable fashion story in the November 2010 Vogue Italia, “Venus in Furs,” shows a collection of androgynous, porcelain models splayed on top of each other. The lighting is flat, but deceptively so. With two strobes, there’s just enough shadow to pique our interest and separate the models from the background.

Camera: Hasselblad H2 with Phase One P45+ digital back and 80mm lens, set on a tripod 12 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a large octabank at f8 boomed high above the group and slightly in front of them. A white beauty dish at f5.6 ½ (- ½ stop) with a sock is set three feet to camera right, four feet off the ground. The white floor and walls act as giant reflectors and help to flatten the overall lighting feel.

Comments: Initially, Steven had planned to shoot the models standing, spaced far apart from each other. But when the photo studio had problems with its heating system, he quickly referred to his cold-weather survival training, draping the models across each other for body heat. And, in the end, a sexier shot.

steven meisel's photo lighting for vogue on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of steven meisel on guess the lighting

copyright, Steven Meisel

Part of a bigger fashion story, this visually decadent shot for Italian Vogue was made with 2 lights.

Camera: Hasselblad H2 with 80mm lens and Phase One P45 digital back, set on tripod secured to a cherry picker 12 feet above the model. Shot at 1/125, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is an Elinchrom Octabank at f8 boomed six feet above the model and slightly behind her. The fill light is a medium strip light at f5.6 positioned horizontally six feet to camera right. The overall effect is relatively flat, but glamorous. The draped fabric looks as good as the model.

Comments: Steven and the crew played six card cribbage while a frustrated tattoo artist painted the model’s body with a brush instead of an electric needle. The set was closed on all sides and guarded by Doberman Pinschers.