Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gelled Background Lighting

In here we show how to create amazing radial glowing color backgrounds RIGHT OUT OF THE CAMERA! Along with that, you will also see some new lighting techniques and using color gels on lights.

There are many ways to get a radial colored background. Two of the most common ones are to use a clored gel to light the black, where the area where the light falls is colored and fades into black. The other is using a clean light on a colored background. Here, the centre is bright white and fades to the background color.

What we have done here, is we mixed these two techniques. We tried to boost the color background by adding more gelled light. Basically, we nuked the color backdrop with a color gel that gives the background the best contrast and um, 'flavor'!

In this first example, we used a flat dark green background. Then we lit it by gelling the strobe with a green yellow gel. This gave the background a fresh lime look. The color of the dress was also co-ordinated before the shoot along with the shiny cloth material of it.

The lighting here is a stripbox on right and behind model for the rim light....see the right cheek and jaw line. The background strobe had a yellow gel on it and 32deg grid to make the smooth radial spread. Now, for the main light, we used a beauty dish with a silver deflector on it to light just the face and chest area, and an octabox as the fill light.

For this next shot, we used a pink background and we lit it by gelling the lights soft pink. The only other color that would have worked on this background was white(un gelled light).

The lighting here is something that we personally like. The main light is through a 20 degree spot honey comb grid to light the face. The fill is the octabox placed behind camera and is intentionally underexposed to channel the viewers eyes to the models face. But in this particular shot, the model in the heat of changing poses, bent a tiny bit too forward and only her eyes were in the light. This 'accident' is what makes this shot much more interesting than intended. We used a strip box for rim light behind a flag/cutter to channel the light to enhance her cheekbones.

Now, for this last image below, we used a cyan gel to light the navy blue background. You can play with other colors for some really cool effects, like red on blue etc. Here we stick to the same color in a light shade for the gel.

Here we have also gelled the main lights on the model to create this sensual night time look. For the rim light, we used a medium sized softbox and covered it with 2-3 sheets of red gelatine. On the main softbox in front of the model, we used a silngle sheet of cyan/blue gel. The trick here to create this mood, is to underexpose the main light a little so that the viewers eyes concentrate and adjust a little, the way it does when you enter a night club. And yes, we used our trusty fan to blow the hair!


  1. Interesting tutorial thanks

  2. From Retouch Pro (jarulex)

    Interesting tutorial that gave me some inspiration, thanks.

  3. Can you post the lighting ratios used in the green shot? Are the beauty the main and the big octo left of camera just fill?