Working with gels is a creative effect that can add mood and drama to your images. In fashion photography, gels can be a useful tool to communicate emotion or to showcase a feature of clothing. When photographing this headpiece created by Posh Fairytale Couture, I decided that use of a gel would be a great way to pick up colorful reflections in the gems and therefore add interest to the photo. Let’s take a look at my thought process when lighting this image.
For this setup I began by placing my main light in Rembrandt position. In other words, I placed my light by watching the shadows on the face, aiming to create a small triangle of light under the right eye. I utilized the Rogue Flashbender2 Small on my speedlight as a way to have a more contrasty modifier that would create more crisp shadows. A smaller light source allow me to create harder, more defined shadows and more control over the direction of light.
For this particular setup, shadow areas will become very important. When utilizing gels, color shows up most prominently in the shadow areas created by the main light. What does this mean? If I take my main light and flat light a photograph (center the light), this will create minimal shadows on the face. If I then proceed to add a gel to the face in addition to the main light, the gel will not be very visible. The color will be dull and washed out.
Because we placed our speedlight to create Rembrandt light, now when I add a gel the color will be very pronounced in the shadow areas created by the main light. For this photograph I decided that cooler gels (mixing a green and blue) would help create the mood I desired. I used my Rogue Gels Combo Pack to select these gels, and placed the speedlight on the shadow side of the face.
To complete the image to my liking, I simply vary the output strength of each speedlight to give me the right mix of light. What is the "right mix"? Whatever I think looks best for my creative vision!
Camera Settings: 85mm Lens, ISO 400, 1/125, f/6.3
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