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Author Topic: Annie Leibovitz lighting question  (Read 5535 times)

UlfKrentz

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Re: Annie Leibovitz lighting question
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2017, 05:43:37 AM »

Absolutely true. But that has nothing to do with the point being made about who does the lighting/setup/production/post production.

I was refereeing to: "They set it up and she takes the credit." Nothing wrong with splitting up the task in a team, it is mandatory in film productions. Still, it is her approach to light things the way she wants it to be done and direct her assistants to do so. That´s why she takes (and deserves) the credit. YMMV.

Rob C

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Re: Annie Leibovitz lighting question
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2017, 11:20:19 AM »

I was refereeing to: "They set it up and she takes the credit." Nothing wrong with splitting up the task in a team, it is mandatory in film productions. Still, it is her approach to light things the way she wants it to be done and direct her assistants to do so. That´s why she takes (and deserves) the credit. YMMV.

Absolutely right. People know that they live or die by the results - no way that chances get taken unless the photographer is under the influence of whatever. at which point, work vanishes, bit by bit...

(" Posted by: Kirk_C
 on: Today at 01:49:36 AM

"Absolutely true. But that has nothing to do with the point being made about who does the lighting/setup/production/post production.")

But that doesn't mean that those doing the setting up are doing their own thing rather than the photographer's thing. Now, if the photographer allows somebody else to print/retouch for him, that's a different question, and a lot of other artistic powers/contributions come into play. Shifting a few lights around isn't such a big deal, especially in today's world where the results are visible at once, and changes made in no time. If the photographer doesn't pick up on something that displeases him or her at that moment, then yeah, the work isn't really his, but the mistakes are.

Regarding the rest of the process, I think the time always comes where the photographer has to say okay, that's the best I can do, now you can do what you want with what I just handed over to you. Then whose work is it? - the client's I guess, and he should take responsibility for what he commissioned and subsequently changed.

Rob

Msstudio

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Re: Annie Leibovitz lighting question
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2018, 07:11:53 PM »

I was readings Annie's book 'At Work' and I had a question about her lighting. Regarding light meters she said quote

"A light meter is only a guide. It shouldnt be used literally. When I decided to tone down the strobe, we made it even with the natural light rather than being a stop over. Then we went a stop or two under the natural light. I liked the way things looked when they were barely lit. The darker pictures seemed refined, mysterious."

Now in terms of lighting, I learned that you basically stop your camera down then add flash to fill in the shadows on the face or body. Can somebody tell me what she means by saying we made it 'even' with the natural light? Does she mean she would get a basic exposure with no flash, then add flash in to help shape the face? Or meter the light hitting her face and simply adjust her flash to the same power as the aperture she is shooting at? She then goes on to say she went a stop or two under the natural light. Does this simply mean she stopped her camera down a stop or two and simply filled the flash in? (i assume this would be a more dramatic photograph) Or is she pretty much referring to a lower power setting on the flash that is less than what aperture she is shooting at. This would of course make the flash less noticeable.  Sorry if this is confusing! I'm sure somebody here can help explain to me what she meant. Thanks!

To explain this briefly, lets say your ambient scene outdoors reads at 100ISO 1/125sec at f8 (Minolta Autometer IV, flat or pointing up the sky or 45/90deg toward camera, depending on scene), now you read in the strobe from the subject toward the light source at 1/500sec at f11 that would be 1 stop over ambient (shorter exposure time cuts ambient for clearer strobe reading). Reducing the strobes power to read f8 makes it even and 5.6 or 4 one /two stops under. At that point you usually run into the problem of ambient light being too strong so you have a cheat sheet on your strobe pack how many clicks you dial it down to achieve that power setting.
You obviously make the creative choice of overall exposure. On the meter is a bit dull, but technically great for digital capture, the strobe is just the effect of giving the image a lighting direction and filing in darker areas. Usually you'll saturate the ambient reading, aka underexpose and have the strobe added, resulting in your mixed exposure reading, aka shoot at 1/125 (from ambient reading)  f11 (from strobe +1 reading) for strobe 1 stop over...
and yes, as mentioned along here, assistants change, but not at a turnover rate as with most, and it's a team effort, like the electrics and grips working with the camera department for the DP who in this case is also the Director making all the decisions. That's why it's consistent and well done. Been there, done that.
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ynp

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Re: Annie Leibovitz lighting question
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2018, 11:07:43 AM »

Thank you very much. It’s clearer now.
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FataMorgana

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Re: Annie Leibovitz lighting question
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2018, 11:06:56 AM »

The team behind the photographer is all-important, I've worked for both David Bailey and also his contemporary, Donovan (RIP).

Similarly I been on shoots with Lord Lichfield and Snowdon.

What is important are two aspects, the first one is the client on the second, the creatives from the ad agency.

Very often BIG shoots were designed to be done on Friday mornings and the people from Saatchi& Saatchi would come down mid-morning open the fridge and drink gallons gallons and gallons of champagne. I remember on one shoot Donovan confided in us that about 10:30 in the morning we already had the shot in the bag, but that wasn't the point you had to give the ad agency creatives their moment in the sun, you had to give the client reasons to rebook you, getting a shot in the first hour was not part of the plan.

Having minions rush around with all manner of lighting and flags and bits and pieces, and as many those as you could manage with the budget, the better. One of the well-known photographers doesn't even own his own equipment, it used to come from KJP / Calumet / Wex every shoot-day and was costed out to the client.

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JoeKitchen

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Re: Annie Leibovitz lighting question
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2018, 01:14:53 PM »


Having minions rush around with all manner of lighting and flags and bits and pieces, and as many those as you could manage with the budget, the better. One of the well-known photographers doesn't even own his own equipment, it used to come from KJP / Calumet / Wex every shoot-day and was costed out to the client.

I knew of a photographer that would set up the entire shoot with strobes before the client even got there, and set the exposure to the fast possible shutter speed, usually 1/800th. 

Then, when the client and ad firm came in, she would start rolling out 2K and 1K Arris, have her assistants run around lighting up the studio all day.  Of course none of this mattered for the images; at her exposure, these lights would have no effect.  It was just about putting on a show. 

Now why would you need to do this?  Well, if the client is paying you a $50K+ for a day shoot, simply setting up two or three lights is probably going to make them feel had regardless of how much they like the images. 

On ad shoots we think a lot about entertaining the client and ad firm.  A shoot is a normal activity for us, but for the clients it is a chance to get out of the office.  It's a relief and break from the monotony.  So yes, we need to entertain them.  Put on some music, bull shit about other projects and life, buy them lunch (which was accounted for in the estimate), get drinks afterwards, etc.

Another photographer I know uses a profile picture that many non-pros don't get, a picture of him standing in Venice with a dozen other people from the ad firm's and client's office who were on that shoot.  Now most will look at that and say, that's a bad profile pic, it does not really concentrate on him.  But every person in that image has a smile from ear to ear; every prospective client will look at that image and think that he must be a great person to work with. 

This is just part of the job. 
« Last Edit: March 16, 2018, 01:23:20 PM by JoeKitchen »
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
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