Behind the Scenes of Annie Leibovitz’s Olympic Photoshoot for Vogue

Featured Projects July 19th 2012 4:46 AM 23 Comments
Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte, and Serena Williams by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue Cover

Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte, and Serena Williams by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue Cover


The June 2012 issue of Vogue showcased some great images of several Olympic US athletes with supermodel Karlie Kloss as shot by the legendary photographer. Annie Leibovitz. Annie is known for her complicated lighting and elaborate sets, as well as her stunning photographers. Now, as we get closer to the London Olympics, Vogue has also released the behind the scenes photos of Annie at work, as well as a video. Thanks to The Daily Mail for the photos! Enjoy the photos and the video!

Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte and Serena Williams 2 by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte and Serena Williams’s cover shoot by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue


For Ryan Lochte’s photo, Annie had Ryan swim in a plastic layer filled water and suspended over Annie. It is actually a pretty crazy set up, although the reflection on Ryan seems a bit strange to me.
Ryan Lochte and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Ryan Lochte and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Ryan Lochte and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue


It’s an interesting choice that in all of the backdrop photos, Annie chose to include some of the equipment like the ladder in the shot.
Ryan Lochte and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Ryan Lochte and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Ryan Lochte and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue


For the Dwayne Wade and Karlie Kloss shoot, Annie shot both talents separately and composited both of them together in post.
Dwyane Wade by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue
Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Dwyane Wade and Karlie Kloss Composite by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Dwyane Wade and Karlie Kloss Composite by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue


Compositing was also done for Mike and Bob Bryan’s photoshoot with Karlie.
Mike and Bob Bryan Composite 1 by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue
Karlie Kloss Composite 2 by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Mike Bryan, Bob Bryan, and Karlie Kloss 3 by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Mike Bryan, Bob Bryan, and Karlie Kloss Composite by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue


Curiously, there was no composite done for Ashton Eaton’s hurdler jump over Karlie! Ashton really jumped over her, and in sand, too.
Ashton Eaton and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

shton Eaton and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Ashton Eaton and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue


Finally, I’m actually surprised that Jonathan Horton’s photo with Karlie Kloss did not have the behind the scene pullback. It’s actually a really great image. You can see how it was shot in the video at least.

Jonathan Horton and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue

Jonathan Horton and Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz by Annie Leibovitz for June 2012 US Vogue


Check out the video for the Annie Leibovits Olympic photoshoot for US Vogue:




All photos and videos are copyrighted by Vogue and Annie Leibovitz

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Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at www.fotosiamo.com and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook

23 Comments

  1. Peter inCleveland

    Absolutely great, as expected from Annie Leibowitz!!!

    Do I have to say it? These images are fare better than that crap we saw from the official photographer the Olympic got from whatever high school.

    2
    • Tam Nguyen Photography

      WTF are you kidding me? Dude these photos look like a Photoshop disaster. They look way out of proportion, the lighting isn’t consistent, and the layers are not even masked nicely. I’m no export in photography nor retouching, but I’m sure I could do a better job given the same technicality.

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    • Jim Morrison

      Really Tam Nguyen? just shut the fuck up oh please.

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    • Ryan Cooper

      Actually I kinda agree with him. I have seen MUCH better compositing before (such as Joel Grimes)

      In the basketball one for example. For the the player the lighting is coming from in front of him frame left. For the women is is coming from distant frame right.
      In the tennis one they could have moved the female model over about 20px to the right and you wouldn’t be seeing the little green edge sticking out of her thigh which is distracting and awkward. It also would have made it so her right hand isn’t getting cut off by the frame edge.

      In the swimming one the women has a large bright spot around her posterior that looks to be coming from a lightsource near the camera. The male swimmer does not have a similar highlight.

      The last one really is the only one that doesn’t have too many mistakes.

      Also the cropping on all of them is awful. I am not sure if those are the actual final crops though so I won’t hold those against the photographer.

      In fact the photography for the most part is great which is common when Annie Leibovitz is doing the shooting, its just the post processing is poor.

      3
    • Robert

      I must say for someone of Annie’s level the composites do seem to be very odd. I sometimes believe big magazines like Vogue are afraid to say no to work produced by a well known photographer. We are all entitled to have an off day now and then even those at the top end.

      http://www.photoshoot.com.mx

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    • Ryan Cooper

      Yup for sure, honestly my guess is they had Annie shoot it and she delivered a bunch of fantastic shots then THEY had someone who doesn’t really know what they are doing composite them together and recrop which resulted in less than stellar final results.

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    • Nico Socha

      I agree with you and i must say that there is no apologize that it is a bad retouching. As a professional photographer you must have a look at this process too. You must watch the whole thing not only make photos… and i think the light setup is not good, too.

      http://www.nicosocha.com

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    • Tam Nguyen Photography

      Oh you sir, are very classy.

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    • Pye
      Pye

      Guys, please keep the conversations respectful, or we will moderate. No cursing please, thanks. On that note, I have to agree with Jim. To compare yourself or say you could do a better job than Anne Leibovitz is crazy and possibly borderline delusional. I think all the shots are pretty fantastic. DWades shot pose looks a little strange, but still, that is really more of an artistic choice. If you can pull of this quality of work under the time, budget and stress constraints, then you should be sharing your work with us so we can learn from you! =)

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    • Poramate S.

      While I respect your opinion, I’d like to say that, in my humble opinion, if you didn’t say these are Ms. Leibovitz’s photos, you might receive harsher criticism. And regarding “artistic choice”, I have to say it is a very subjective topic, but I simply don’t find much inspiration from these photos.

      Acceptable? Yes! Legendary? Don’t think so.

      And I think the time, budget, and stress wouldn’t be that much, considering she had the whole team with her.

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    • Pye
      Pye

      While I agree that Annie has a lot more impressive photos in her portfolio, I think one thing that people seem to often forget or ignore in their critiques is the intended use of the images. Some comments have brought up how Joel Grimes and other photographers do much more impressive and cool composites. But, this isn’t for a sports magazine or a edgy commercial. This is for Vogue, and Vogue’s style has always been a softer lifestyle look, to which these images are very fitting. Those that know vogue and the imagery in vogue, know not to expect images that are super edgy (a la Joel Grimes, etc). Had it been shot by another photographer for Vogue, I would still have thought it impressive and in-line with the magazine’s desired look. But, had you said this was a Joel Grimes or Dave Hill photo intended to be an edgy composite for an advertisement, then I wouldn’t have been impressed. Again, look at the intended purpose and if it fits.

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    • Poramate S.

      Thanks for sharing your thought with us, Pye. Seems like you’re going deeper than me because you’re looking at the intended use of the images, while I only look and decide whether I like it or not.

      It is also interesting when you mention Joel Grimes and Vogue’s style. Seems like I’ve got more learning to do.

      Oh, I think the photos Martin Schoeller are simply amazing!

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    • Anonymous

      I think with every shoot, it is important to take in all the considerations. Constraints in shooting conditions, all the way to intended use and style. Definitely agree that Martin Schoeller’s recent shots are more impressive though.

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    • Nico Socha

      with respect to the purpose, the light setup on some shots are incorrect. But i agree with you that Vogue have the softer not so hard illuminated style and i like the style. But come on in some shots the light sources are so different that there is no argument for it.

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    • mredr81

      Be nice Jim…Many people can agree that this is not the usual superb work from Annie…

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  2. siw

    AL’s pics are soooo yesterday… poor, poor, poor.

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  3. Nico Socha

    The photo with the basketball player and the model in the basket… the player look to big… like he is 3 meters huge.

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  5. PB Surfphotos

    I’m sorry, this is really disappointing for Annie Leibowitz’ work and it’s a poor Photoshop job. Serena is almost unrecognizable the way she is Photoshopped so she doesn’t look bigger then Ryan Lochte. Her head is now too big for her Photoshopped smaller body. Lighting is definitively off on most photos even for the Vogue’s softer look. Someone mentioned here that he thinks Annie shot and delivered those photos and the Photoshop disaster was done in-house at Vogue. I would certainly hope someone. with her name and reputation has more control over her work and secondly – I’d like to hope that Vogue has better in house Photoshop people lol

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  6. Simon Porter

    What is up with the ballgowns? The guys are shown in their ‘proper gear’ but the women are put in odd dresses that have nothing to do with their sport?  I don’t care about the technical side of the photos – it’s the content that bothers me.  

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