Good news! This is actually a relatively easy JHP lighting setup to play with and it produces some pretty great looking results too. It’s easy to set up as you only need a couple of softboxes and this can be put together and shot in a very small space indeed; no studio required. Plus it produces some great looking results because it uses coloured light. Now I know I may sound biased on that but hear me out as we go through the setup and it should start to make more sense as to why this looks extra cool with coloured gels compared to without.
Often a scene can be visually confusing, especially if there are multiple colours and objects in focus that are fighting for our viewer’s attention. This simple technique that I’m sharing here uses a single dominant coloured gel to simplify the scene visually, then we can draw the attention of our viewer with our Lensbaby Sweet 50 lens.
This is another one of those questions I get asked a lot: ‘Should I be using a white or grey background with coloured gels?’ As with so many things in photography, the answer isn’t always as simple as you might think.
In this article I show you a recent lighting test where I fired a collection of coloured gels onto a white background and then repeated the same test on a grey background to see the difference. The images below speak for themselves but I’ll also explain some of my personal reasons for using one over another and I’ll also discuss the pros and cons for each.
The use of color gels expands the possibilities and helps you create plenty of different looks. If you’re just discovering color gels, Ted Sim of Apurture shares eight ideas for using them. These will give you some inspiration why and how to add color to your shots. And while Ted focuses on moviemaking, you can also use gels to add color and change the mood of your photos.
Do you use gels to add color to your photos? Jay P. Morgan shows you four different ways to use them, but with a twist – he focuses on adding color only to the shadows. By using gels, he achieves the desired effect in camera. Some of these four methods can work for you too, and they’re great ways to minimize the time you spend editing the photos.
Here is a great tool to add to your lighting toolbox, controlling lights with gels. It’s not about making the light hard or soft, it’s different of control, one that allows playing with color relations. And While there is quite a bit you can do with gels in general, today I am going to focus on controlling backdrop color.
There is a way to get three looks using only two lights and a gray backdrop. If we take this concept and expand it, we can use gels to control the background. We can actually mimic quite an infinite number of backdrops. Instead of using two studio strobes like I did in the last tutorial, for this lesson I’m going to be using three speedlights. The reason I wanted to use speedlights rather than studio strobes is because I got a handful of questions about whether or not the 3 in1 headshot could be done with more basic gear. In order to lay those concerns to rest I wanted to get back to basics and use some of the least expensive gear on the market to prove that you can get some great images with very inexpensive gear.
There’s a lot of DIY solutions out there for big diffusers, and such. Most of them with either wooden or PVC pipe frame. While PVC pipe is certainly lighter than wood, it’s rather flexible, and are still kinda bulky if you need several of them. In the studio, this isn’t usually a problem. But, if you need to get them out on location, you often need them to be as light as possible and take up little room.
Over at Cheesycam, though, they’ve come up with a great lightweight solution to the problem using screen door & window panels. The system uses aluminium struts, with plastic brackets on the corners. For a quick lightweight solution that packs up small, it’s a great option.
There is a progression that takes place in the journey that is our lighting knowledge. At first it is learning the ways of ambient light (read: I don’t want to buy a flash). As our career progresses we decide to buy our first flash and throw that sucker straight on the camera, only to question why the shadows on faces are gone… along with the artistic merit. Soon after that we discover a site like Strobist and point the flash at the ceiling and realize our first “Eureka” moment as a photographer. From there we buy our first off camera strobes and it is all downhill…
One of the biggest issues for those looking to expand their lighting setup is colour consistency. Even expensive ones can be very slightly out from each other. Even within a single brand, different models or generations of light can also be a little different to each other. But the problem is especially so with cheap LED lights, which often have huge colour shifts.
There are ways to work around this, though, and this video from Tony Reale over at Creative Edge shows us how. It does take some experimentation and work, though. But, once you’ve done it, you’ll know exactly how far out from each other each of your lights are. Then you’ll be able to quickly correct those colour shifts in the future before you’ve even turn the lights on.
Using coloured gels with speedlights has become pretty common. Many people who shoot with speedlights have given it a go at least a couple of times. But speedlights are quite easy to gel. All you need is a small strip of gel which you then gaffer tape over the front of the head. Studio strobes, though, are a different matter entirely. They’re not flat on the front like speedlights, and they project light in all directions.
You could, of course, just cover the entire front of your softbox with a massive gel sheet. But that can get expensive if you use many different colours. So, what can we do? Photographer Robert Hall shows us two options in this video on the Godox AD600 strobe. The first is the way he has been doing things, although it does have a problem. White light is still able to come out of the front, without a second piece of gel attached. One of his viewers sent him a solution to try that seems to work brilliantly.