How to set up your lights and balance colour tones to get that orange and teal look in-camera

Nov 20, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to set up your lights and balance colour tones to get that orange and teal look in-camera

Nov 20, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The blue and orange look (also often referred to as “Orange and Teal”) has been popular in cinema for a long time, but massively so in the last few years as easy video editing and colour grading features have come into easy reach of anybody with a camera. With free editing software like DaVinci Resolve out there, it’s easy for anybody to do in post now. Shift the shadows one way, the highlights another and you’re good right?

Well, sort of, but not really. If you want to do it well, you also need to light your scene for it. In this video, cinematographers Valentina Vee and Alissa Rooney walk us through the lighting setup to shoot these colours together. They walk us through a full lighting breakdown, explaining how to balance the colour tones together to make them feel seamless throughout.

As you can see from the video, there’s much more to getting a really effective orange and teal look than simply adding a LUT or doing some split-toning in post. And the closer you can get it in-camera, the less work you have to do in post in order to get things to match – which can save you a lot of time if you’re shooting multiple cameras or have a lot of different clips you need to edit together.

A bunch of Aputure Light Storm 600X Pro and 600D Pro lights were used to create the shots shown here, along with various modifiers from 5ft Softboxes to spotlights. But don’t feel that you’re limited to only using high end expensive lighting for this type of shot. You can get it with much more modestly priced equipment, too. It just might take a little more work.

How do you create the orange and teal look? Do you do it in-camera or in post?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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