“The key to doing it for us was to be as accurate as possible, so we watched the video a bazillion times, we had the video playing at the shoot, and what was really terrific about the three of them was that they were just as invested as we were in getting it right,” photographer Robert Trachtenberg says of the 2009 photograph, which is featured in PEOPLE’s 100 Best Celebrity Photos. (The book is by the editors of PEOPLE, with an introduction by PEOPLE Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle.)
The photograph of the famous siblings appeared in PEOPLE’s Best of 2009 issue, and at the time it was taken, Kourtney was pregnant with her first child — Mason, now 7 — with ex-boyfriend Scott Disick. Kim was dating NFL player Reggie Bush, and Khloé had just married basketball player Lamar Odom.
PEOPLE’s 100 Best Celebrity Photos is now available wherever books are sold.
“The concept for this photo, to be perfectly honest, was not mine. It was the photo editor’s concept, and in a million years I would not have thought of that concept because of the fact that [Kourtney] was pregnant and that they had to get in these unitards, so there was no room to hide the pregnancy,” Trachtenberg continued, adding that “it was very sweet to see how protective Kim and Khloé were to [Kourtney].”
Trachtenberg called the sisters “so unbelievably professional. They had the work ethic that you read about of these old Hollywood movie stars where they’d show up and they would not leave until they got it right.”
He added that the photo “tells you about the week, the summer, the three-month period where the video was hot and the Kardashians were hot and [Kourtney’s] pregnancy was news and the [“Single Ladies”] video was news and it all just is this pop culture swirl … which is what PEOPLE does really well.”