Studio photography can be so creative. All you need is a subject and a light. But after you’ve mastered one light, the possibilities are endless. Ohio-based fashion photographer Ron Hautau created this striking series of coloured portraits using nothing more than a black background, 3 lights and some coloured gels. He explained to DIYP how he did it.
You don’t often see photographers using gels outdoors in natural light, but why?
I think one of the core reasons you don’t see too many natural light gel shots, is that you need a lot of power and control from your lights to make gels visible in daylight. Whenever we’re outside during the daytime, sunlight has a tendency to creep in everywhere. Even when we’re standing in heavy shadow, there’s still a lot of light on us as the sun bounces around almost endlessly and sneaks into even the most shadowy areas. This is an issue for gels as bright, strong daylight will overpower and ruin a gel shot instantly, making the desired shot significantly harder to achieve over simply setting it up indoors.
Using multiple differently coloured gels to light your subject and their environment has become a very popular subject over the last few years – and I’m totally not blaming Jake Hicks – but it’s not always possible to easily do in the studio. Perhaps you don’t have the colours of gel that you need. Or maybe there’s just too much colour spill to effectively get what you’re after.
It is possible to simulate the look of using coloured gels in post, though, thanks to Photoshop. And in this video, Unmesh at PiXimperfect shows us how. There are several ways you can do this, but the method Unmesh shows in the video is very effective and covers a bunch of different techniques that you can apply to a lot of other tasks, too.
Color. Such an important tool to help bring a time, place, or even emotions into an image. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something that makes working with color easier? Inside this little package is a new tool by Rosco called “Mixbook“. To help creators pre-visualize gel and LED colors.
Essentially Rosco has digitized the old gel swatch books, as you can see in my reenactment of a Rosco scientist at work. Note the old gels from my swatch book flying around as the new Mixbook arises from the smokey pot.
The two-tone gelled split-lighting look is quite popular for portraits and fashion photography. Thanks to photographers like Jake Hicks, there are lots of tutorials out there on how to create this look in-camera. But what if you don’t have the gels? Or didn’t even think about trying to gel it during the time of the shoot but you’d like to try to create that look in post?
Well, Jesús Ramirez at the Photoshop Training Channel has just the tutorial for you. In this video, he shows us how to easily create the look in Photoshop using gradient maps, blending modes and masks. And as usual, he throws a lot of other tips and tricks in between.
Using coloured gels can be a little unforgiving, especially if you’re new to using strobes. But one of the biggest reasons using gels can be tricky, is due to how hard it can be to use multiple coloured gels in the same setup. Coloured lights do not play well together and unlike paint, where you can create new and wonderful colours by mixing them, mixing coloured light often results in dull, washed-out colours. Coloured gels do not mix and consequently must ordinarily be kept separate in your shot at all times.
Thankfully though, in today’s setup, I will be showing you how to mix coloured gels with incredible ease, in fact, it’s so easy, we’ll only be using one light to do it!
Gel and lighting manufacturer Rosco has released the MIXBOOK. They say that it is the “world’s first digital swatchbook”. If you don’t know what swatchbooks are, the physical Rosco gel swatchbooks are essentially sample books of the different gels and materials that Rosco makes.
But as LED lighting has become more popular, and particularly coloured LEDs, demands have changed. Rosco’s MIXBOOK digital swatchbook is essentially the digital LED equivalent of the original gel swatchbooks. It’s a handheld LED unit (although it has a 1/4-20″ socket, too) that can create just about any colour of light you can imagine.
Using gels is often a problem when working with strobes. Getting them to fit around the bulb can be a pain, and trying to cover the front surface of a giant softbox is just impractical (and expensive!). Well, the folks at FlashGels have solved this issue for the Godox AD600Pro and AD400Pro with pre-cut gel kits that slip right over the bulb.
A few days ago I submitted a photo to the new DIYPhotography facebook group, I am very happy to share how it was taken. Feel free to join our community and submit your best shots.
Lately, I have been playing with color gels quite a bit. While this is something I enjoy, I felt I was falling into a repetitive pattern. I started looking for a way to grow above the technique and use colors to tell a story.
Like many good things, my chance arrived part via collaborating and part via accident. My partner in crime was Yael.di . She is an amazing cosplayer. She is also a kick-ass hula hoop dancer, but I digress. One of her customs caught my attention. It is a one-of-a-kind full-body mirror outfit (check it out here). I thought that this outfit, combined with smoke and colors would tell a good mystery story. Smoke and mirrors, you know. Here is how we did it, or actually did not.
The name of this installment is meant to be a joke, but anyone who follows the blog knows that I’m is a little bit color-obsessed. This image is a play on the highly popular orange and teal color scheme, using the complementary contrast between orange and cyan