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Katy Perry Featured in November Edition of W Magazine

By Anthony Thurston on October 23rd 2013

Katy Perry is about as close to the top of the music “A” list as you can get currently. Her hits are played on the radio in almost nauseating cycles, so it should be no surprise to see the pop queen on the cover of the upcoming issue of W Magazine.

As with many of these types of features Katy is featured on the cover and throughout the issue with various images. I have included them for you to enjoy below, take a look and meet me on the other side so we can try and deconstruct the lighting for the cover to make this a little educational.

Katy Perry by Mario Sorrenti for W November 2013 Katy Perry by Mario Sorrenti for W November 2013-001 Katy Perry by Mario Sorrenti for W November 2013-002 Katy Perry by Mario Sorrenti for W November 2013-003 Katy Perry by Mario Sorrenti for W November 2013-004 Katy Perry by Mario Sorrenti for W November 2013-005

Dissecting The Cover

This feature for W Magazine was shot by Mario Sorrenti, and I think he did a good job with it. Lets take a look at the cover and see if we can figure out the lighting for a little education.
Looking at the shot to your left here, it should be pretty simple to figure out what this is. If you ask me it looks like your fairly standard “Rembrandt” lighting setup.

Rembrandt lighting is, put as simply as possible, when your key light is at roughly a 45 degree angle from your subject.

What gives it away in this shot is the “triangle” of light under Katy’s right eye (left eye in the image). That triangle is one of the defining characteristics of “Rembrandt Lighting”, and is something that many of you probably already know how to recreate. But in case you don’t have a clue about setting up Rembrandt lighting check out the diagram below to get a good idea of how to achieve this look.



If you are ever bored and don’t have much to do, or if you are new to photography and are trying to “learn light”, then I suggest you make a game out of this. Go out and get some magazines, or check out the images online, and do your best to try and dissect the lighting that they used to create the image. It is a great way to learn about lighting, and is also a great way to find inspiration for your own lighting configurations.
What are your thoughts on Katy’s W Magazine spread? What was your favorite shot? Do you agree with my interpretation of the lighting for the cover? share your thoughts in a comment below. 

[via W Magazine]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. John-Paul Zajackowski

    My favorite photo from the set is of Katy in the pink sweater.

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  2. Alan S

    Is the key light making that rim light on her right shoulder (left side of the photo when looking at it)?

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    • GioPhoto

      Hi Alan S. If I am not mistaken the light on her shoulder, which you can also see warping around her waist and hips is light reflected off the white backdrop. Although it’s not included in the set-up diagram, it’s possible that the photographer also used a strobe or two for the backdrop.

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