alonzo mourning

You don’t get many more acclaimed portrait photographers than Greg Heisler, the famed cover artist for Time magazine. In this incredible video for Profoto, Heisler discusses how he lit a portrait of Alonzo Mourning for ESPN, creating an array of vivid and astonishing colors across the basketball star’s skin.

Heisler is a master of prep-work, planning out the lighting setup in great detail before going anywhere near where the shoot will actually take place. The lights were planned in the studio, diagrammed, measured, and then the entire rig was put back together identically on site, for the actual photoshoot.

The results speak for themselves. Through exacting planning, he created a stunning play of light over Mourning’s skin. According to the Strobist, the photograph was such a success that ESPN didn’t run it as a cover, but rather rotated and spread across two pages on the inside. Which is incredibly impressive, when you think about it.