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First try with some gels.

Discussion in 'Formal Portraits and Weddings' started by Mitchell, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. I've been interested in trying some colored gels on my black muslin to give me some variety in my portraits. I've only got a black and white muslin at this point which gets boring. These were taken with gels on two SB-800 flashes set as slaves and aimed at my black muslin. A single AB800 was used in a shoot through umbrella with a reflector for fill.

    I had quite a bit of spill on my right side despite having the SB-800 behind the subject. I'll have to play with some sort of GOBO. Perhaps the spill is bounced back from the muslin? Any thoughts?

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  2. Those are neat and have a lot of potential. I'd probably try them with a black or white bg, so they don't look to 80's. haha. I can't wait to see whatcha do with them, though! :) 
  3. You already know this by looking at your photos. Distance the subjects well away from the background or the gels need to be turned way down (power) so they don't splash back on the subject. Once you get the hang of gels it's are easy to use, but about that time you will be tired of them and no longer use um.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2008
  4. Mitch,

    As you get deeper into lighting you're going to discover the value of having a large studio and one of the reasons for a large studio is to get a lot of separation between the subject and the BG. Any time you use either a color BG or gels as you have here, you're going to be fighting reflected light off the BG onto your subject. This is why gray and black BG's are recommended for small studios.

    To a lesser extent, light reflected off walls and ceilings will also be an issue. If you have a small studio I would suggest painting it the color of a neutral gray card or darker when you get to the point of having problems with reflected light.

    Now you're beginning to understand why the high-dollar pros have studios in warehouses... it's all part of controlling light.

    As an aside, you might want to try a chroma green BG. You can make them just about any color in Photoshop. Here's a link rather than jacking your thread with another image. http://www.pbase.com/czechman/image/55171066
  5. Mitch,
    Thanks for posting these. When I first saw them I was wondering if more separation would fix the problem in the future. Sounds like Woody thinks that is the solution. Too bad that those of us with home studios just don't have enough room. I've been setting mine up in the garage, which is fine in good weather, but in the winter it is just too cold out there.

    Sure wish I had a larger space where I could keep things set up.....but it isn't going to happen.

    Where are you setting up your lights?
  6. Woody, thanks for taking a look at these. I had suspected that the spill was coming from reflected light from the background. Any modifier on the light source would not be helpful.

    I had pretty good separation (at least 6 feet) or so I thought. I'm not sure if dialing down the background lights will be helpful.

    My problem really comes down to boredom and an effort to try something different with my lighting. Black background, white background, etc... ho, hum. Perhaps I am just thinking about my background too much and should focus more on properly lighting my subjects!

    I don't have a studio. I just push my furniture around in my large (25x27) family room. I'll tell my wife that Woody suggested we paint the walls a neutral grey color.:biggrin:
  7. Terri,
    I just set my stuff up in my large family room. I wish I had a studio room where I could leave things set up instead of tearing them down all the time. The room is quite large (25x27) but still doesn't seem large enough!:redface:

    I can't imagine you taking photos in your garage in the middle of the winter. It must be like a freezer in there!
  8. Mitch,

    The spill on the first shot is probably coming from the light source. It's on the side of his head and unless you were doing something very odd lighting the BG, that's my guess.

    When you start lighting BG's you have to think of them as a separate lighting problem. Your lights for the BG have to be far enough behind the subject so they only light the BG but the BG has to be far enough behind them so you can get them lit evenly... and the BG has to be far enough behind the subject so the lights lighting the subject overpower any reflected light coming from it.

    It's kind of like lighting the inside of a room so that it's balanced with the light outside so both use the same exposure setting.

    You'll find that a neutral gray BG will accept gel lighting a lot easier than black... you don't have to use as much power to get grey to turn a color as you do to get black to turn a color.

    But Charles summed it up best when he said that gels grow old very fast.
  9. Aside from the issues which have pretty much been addressed... I think that second 'glam' shot is hilarious and cute.
  10. I have to set up in my family room in the winter. It's a pain moving all the furniture. Mine isn't as big as yours.
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