Focus: Studio Three Point Lighting
Leibovitz is probably the reason I first become interested in Photography after reading her book Women compiled with her partner Susan Sontag in high school. The book opened up a world of imagery that I don't think I'd really been exposed to before. The books mix of Richard Avedon inspired portraits and Vanity Fair images of women making a statement in their chosen field of work. Her incredibly varied body of work from starting with Rolling Stone magazine exploring the crazy world of Rock n Roll to carefully orchestrated Vanity Fair celebrity filed pull out spreads is incredibly inspiring. I guess one way of discribing her work would be to say that it is rich. Her practice involves photographing everything all the time. Always with a camera on hand. Giving her the ability to create work that seems easy and yet is classically composed, well lit and uses color expertly. She knows where to place a subject in the frame, often slightly to the side drawing the eye around the image and into the eyes of the subject.
Theses images show her simpler studio work using Three Point Lighting (I think!?)
Light: From what I can tell these images are created using 3 point lighting although it's hard to see the hair catch-light in these images. The first image may actually only have two lights in play, with the key light on her right side and a low key light or reflector on her left. The fill light on the right hand side of the second image is low but present. giving detail to the subjects face and hand plus a small catch light on her hair.
More constructed and elaborate images from Leibowitz:
John Keatley Image of Annie Leibovitz
This image of Annie is spot on Three Point Lighting.
Over on Guess The Lighting they think so too. They have even gone so far as to make maps/drawings of what they think the lighting set up was:
Pretty Handy! With this shot they reckon that there is two lamps pointed at the subject and one on the background.
Catherine Opie / Three Point Lighting
Opie's practise involves photographing community (in one way or another). Her studio portraiture style is pretty classical as the images below show, allowing her to focus on working with her subject to get the right emotional connection behind the eyes. Her body of work jumps from photographing the LGBT community she is familiar with to high school football to stark ice houses and freeways with little or no humans in shot. She works with a mixed of older processes of film and also with digital which I'm sure come in handy as she is the leading Professor of the photography school at UCLA.
Lighting: In both these images you can clearly see the 3 point set up. With the third light being pointed at the background to create the halo around the head of the subject, while the key and fill light are working together to create soft shadows on the subjects.