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guess the lighting blog's ted sabarese bio pic

Doggett's lighting diagram of ted sabarese bio pic for guess the lighting blog

Ted photo, copyright, Ted Sabarese. Illustration, copyright Eric Doggett.

I always appreciate all the comments, recommendations and props I receive from GTL fans. But today in my inbox, Eric Doggett blew my mind.

Hi Ted –
I love what you’ve done with GuessTheLighting, and I always enjoy each post.
However, I felt that while you were great at giving out the lighting love, no one was returning the favor. So, I decided to break down your profile image myself.

Here’s what Eric had to say on his blog.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out, I recommend you give it a look (especially if you are into lighting like I am). Ted Sabarese runs the show over there, where he dissects images and offers his take on how he thought the lighting for an image was done.

Always entertaining and informative, it will give you a good primer on lighting if you are new to it. If you are a veteran it will offer you some great ways to think about how to light your next shoot. In any case, you will get a laugh with each post as Ted pontificates on the behind-the-scenes drama of a particular shoot.

So, in deference to Ted, I offer my own “Guess The Lighting” post to breakdown his bio picture:

Camera: Canon 5D Mark 2 with 50mm lens, on a tripod, remotely triggered from 5 feet away. Shot at 1/100, f5.6, ISO 800.

Lighting: Tungsten light bulb, camera right, 10 feet off the ground. Otherwise known as ‘porch light’. Ferrari headlight, camera left, 40 yards back.

Wardrobe: Nike hunter green parka with matching hoodie, 2006 (discontinued).

Comments: This image was taken at the winter home of Sean Connnery. On this rainy day, Ted was tasked with walking Mr. Connery from his house to the photo set (which involved a 2014 Ferrari concept car and a Louis Vitton bag). Ted managed to keep Mr. Connery dry for the 7 minute walk to the car (and its pre-activated heated leather seats).

Thanks again, Eric, for taking the time to post this (badass sketch, by the way).

So how do you think he did? Anyone care to comment?

professional photographer magazine heidi klum on guess the lighting blog

One thing that’s happened during my hiatus is pretty cool. After many emails and a couple phone conversations, the editors at Professional Photographer Magazine in the UK have asked me to contribute monthly. Starting in this February’s issue, I’ll have a new GTL page in print with completely exclusive content (sorry, you won’t find those guesses here). Pretty exciting stuff.

If you’d like to subscribe to Professional Photographer (which is a top photo mag even before adding GTL), you can do it here.

Special thanks to editor Grant Scott for reaching out and giving me such a super opportunity. He also has a photography blog with thoughts, observations and tales from the world of professional photography: Dreams, Themes and Photography Schemes.

*SPOILER ALERT* Don’t read any further if you’d still like to try to guess who the two photographers are. If you have already guessed or have no idea what I’m talking about, read on.


terry richardson meat skirt lady gaga

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of terry richardson lady gaga meat skirt on guess the lighting

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of hunger pains on guess the lighting

copyrights, Terry Richardson (left), Ted Sabarese (right)

So there you have it. Terry shot the meat Gaga and I shot the meat skirt with potato skin top. But how?

GAGA: This Japan Vogue cover inspired the Lady’s full-on beef evening gown at the MTV Music Awards. Terry created it with one, on-camera speedlight.

Camera: Nikon D3x with 50mm lens, handheld. Shot at 1/60, f5.6, ISO 100.

Lighting: One on-camera flash. Lots of assistants watching.

Comments: The meat dress was originally more filled out, but Lady Gaga snacked on the mid-section when craft services ran out of Goobers.

MEAT SKIRT: This image from my “Hunger Pains” series is one of five outfits representing a meal that the model was craving. It was created with two lights. And this isn’t a guess.

Camera: Hasselblad H1 with 80mm lens and Leaf Aptus 75 back, set on a tripod 12 feet back.

Lighting: The key light is a gridded, white beauty dish at f11 six feet to camera left and eight feet high. The fill light is a large strip bank at f4 1/2 (-2 1/2 stops) with the bottom half flagged to keep the focus on the model’s face. It’s set six feet to camera right and slightly in front.

Comments: Watch the behind-the-scenes video.

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


Well, here it goes. Time to  scour the internet for cool images and methodically and scientifically figure out the photo lighting setups. I can’t divulge my entire method, but I will say it involves an iPad, an analog calculator with paper tape, trigonometry, a large loupe, 2 interns and a light meter (of course).

Please feel free to comment. Let me know if you’re 100% convinced or if you beg to differ. If you’re the artist who created the image, give us the whole scoop. And if you have a pic you’d like me to work on, email it over.

Let the “guessing” commence [sound of gong follows].

Ted Sabarese of Ted Sabarese Photography