Archives For vogue

annie leibovitz photo lighting of lady gaga on guess the lighting

ted sabarese lighting diagram of annie leibovitz shot

ted sabarese lighting diagram of annie leibovitz shot

copyright, Annie Leibovitz.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the poll on the GTL facebook page. Annie was the hands-down winner of readers’ choice for my next guess. So, as you’ve requested, here’s a cool shot by Annie featuring Lady Gaga for the December, 2009 edition of Vogue.

As would be expected, Annie’s interpretation of the childhood Hansel and Gretel story rocks with drama and a high fashion sensibility. This image reenacts the scene where the two children turn the table on the witch and throw her into the oven. Having Gaga and model phenom Lily Cole on hand certainly doesn’t hurt.

I’m also guessing this image was not all shot together, in-camera. I don’t see how Annie could have achieved the vibrant red light on the oven and ground while keeping the models lit mostly white. I think the camera was locked off with Gaga being shot by herself, then the two models shot separately. 6 lights were used in total and the final image was composited in post.

Camera: DSLR with 50mm lens set on a tripod 15 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f11, ISO 400.

Lighting: The key light on Gaga is a Photek Softlighter at f16 (+1 stop), handheld by an assistant, high and 6 feet to camera right. It has been removed in post. A large octabank with a red gel at f8 1/2 (-1/2 stop) is set directly behind camera. This fills in Gaga and gives the red hue to the front of the oven and ground. A gridded magnum reflector with a full CTO gel at f22 (+2 stops) is behind her on the floor of the oven, aimed slightly upward. This adds the yellowish highlights to Gaga’s hair.

In the second setup, a medium octabank at f5.6 (-2 stops) is set high and 10 feet to camera left, providing fill on Lily’s back. Another medium octabank at f8 (-1 stop) is set similarly to camera right for fill on the man. The same large octabank with a red gel at f8 (-1 stop) is set just behind camera. A small, Profoto striplight with barn doors at f22 (+2 stops) is boomed directly above the models and aimed downwards, creating the areas of high contrast on their shirts, faces and legs. I’m guessing the red on the man’s hair has been accentuated in post. Probably lots of the red has actually been accentuated. Finally, the same gridded magnum reflector with a full CTO gel at f22 (+2 stops) sits on the oven floor and creates the yellow highlights on the man’s face. The final image is a composite of the two shots.

Comments: Lady Gaga thought it would be totally rad if she literally set herself on fire for the shot. But the level-headed Leibovitz (who ordinarily has a penchant for “reality” too) convinced her that sometimes “figurative” is just as good as “literal.” Especially when dealing with flames.

Mert & Marcus photo lighting of Adele for Vogue on Guess the Lighting

ted sabarese lighting diagram of mert & marcus adele vogue

copyright, Mert & Marcus.

Thanks to everyone who sent in (and continues to send) pics of their pooches. Now back to the lighting guessing.

It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like or don’t like. I don’t think anyone can disagree that Adele has an angelic voice unlike any other. A voice that can seduce you one second, then grab you by the shoulders and shake you silly the next. The more interviews I see, the more I really like her. She has a refreshing honesty and self-deprecating sense of humor not found in many megastars. It’s unbelievable that her career was nearly ended by necessary throat surgery. Our collective ears rejoice that it was not.

Mert & Marcus’ drop-dead gorgeous and dramatic story for the March 2012 US Vogue couldn’t be more fitting of Adele and her voice. The photographic duo combine unbelievable styling, propping and lighting to create an image I’m sure Adele’s mum has taped to her fridge. They certainly nailed it. And with a combo of 4 hot lights and strobes.

This image was suggested by Joel Bedford. Thanks, Joel.

Camera: Medium format, digital, with 70mm lens set on a tripod 12 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f11, ISO 50.

Lighting: For starters, I want to acknowledge there’s quite a bit of retouching in this shot. But I don’t believe it affects the light sources. The key light (if you can call it that) is a 2.5k Arri fresnel HMI at f16 (+1 stop) placed 8 feet to camera right and 6 feet above Adele’s head with narrow focus. It’s aimed directly at her face and hits very little else. A similar Arri fresnel at f16 (+1 stop) sits low, 12 feet to camera right nearly perpendicular to the couch and aimed slightly upward. This light illuminates the branches of baby’s breath, purple fabric, her hand and dress. A gridded, medium strip light at f11 with a full CT blue gel is boomed in above Adele and aimed at the back wall. It has also been flagged to stop light from spilling onto her. A Profoto XL white umbrella at f4 (-3 stops) is set high and directly behind camera to provide a hint of fill.

Comments: During the little downtime she had between shots, Adele battled Alec Baldwin (he’s a big fan) in a Words with Friends game. She first made him promise that he wasn’t currently on an airplane of any sort, though.

annie leibovitz's photo lighting in Vanity Fair for wizard of oz

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of annie leibovitz for guess the lighting blog

copyright, Annie Leibovitz.

Talk about a challenge. In 2005, Vogue Magazine posed this to Annie Leibovitz: take the Wizard of Oz, one of history’s most important films. Recreate the iconic scenes, but add your own personal, touch. Looking at the photo story as a whole, I have to say Annie nailed it. Crushed it, actually (it certainly didn’t hurt to have Keira Knightley at her disposal). Google the story. Each image is more beautiful than the next. This shot of Dorothy, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry rushing to shelter captures the cinematic feel while adding Annie’s modern sensibility. It was created with one light and the help of the sun.

Camera: Mamiya RZ67 with 50mm lens and Kodak Portra 400NC film, handheld 15 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f16, ISO 400.

Lighting: To mimic a gloomy, tornado-laden day, Annie underexposed the shot by two stops. The key light is a large Octabank at f8 set high and 12 feet to camera left. The sun at f8 is high in the sky and slightly to camera right. This adds fill and some flatness to the image. Two large wind machines are out of frame to camera right aimed head-high adding to the stormy feel. Though a stickler for realism, Annie did not wait for an actual tornado to touch down. The background was added in post.

Comments: The cute puppy, though a dead wringer for Toto, wasn’t the most obedient pooch. While the rest of the talent moved toward the shelter doors, he ran in the opposite direction. Usually chasing a vagrant squirrel or his own tail. After numerous failed attempts, the prop stylist replaced him with a taxidermied fox. The dogs features were retouched in in post.

Mario Testino's photo lighting for British Vogue on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of mario testino guess the lighting blog

copyright, Mario Testino.

In a Vogue issue paying homage to the Royal Wedding, Mario shot Freja Beha Erichsen, Lara Stone and Natalia Vodianova in some of the season’s loveliest wedding gowns. It also marked the first time the magazine had been published with a choice of three different covers. This silk soft cover shot of Lara was created with five lights.

Camera: Hasselblad H2 with 150mm lens and Phase One IQ140 digital back, set on a tripod 12 feet back. Shot at 1/125, f5.6, ISO 50.

Lighting: The overall lighting is somewhat flat with highlights taking the place of shadow. An Arri 1200 watt fresnel (shot through a silk) with tight barn doors at f4 ½ (-½ stop) sits at head level, just off to camera left. A 2500 watt fresnel at f5.6 is bounced off an overhead 6×6 framed silk from camera right. This helps to even out Lara’s hair. A 2500 watt fresnel (shot through a silk) at f11 (+2 stops) rests ten feet behind her to camera right and creates the hot, soft glow on the rear of her face and neck. Another 2500 watt fresnel (shot through a silk) at f11 (+2 stops) is placed to camera right, slightly behind her. A 2500 watt fresnel with barn doors at f11 (+2 stops) is set behind the wall to camera left and aimed at the background. This creates the angelic glow around her head.

Comments: Lara was slightly jet-lagged, but extremely excited on the shoot day. She had just returned that morning from Vyborg, Russia where she picked up a newborn, petite lap giraffe. The wee giraffe quickly made itself comfortable on-set and huddled against Mario’s pant leg while he worked with Lara. Natalia was smitten.

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.

*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


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.

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.