Gelling Lights for Color in Commercial Portraits
Thursday, May 25, 2017
By Irene Abdou Photography, LLC, DC Photographer
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I got a new Octa softbox along with a new set of colored gels (thin pieces of transparent plastic) and was eager to try them both out.


I started with just a single light with the softbox and grid and a large silver reflector for fill. The background was black, and as you can see in the first headshot below, there wasn't any separation between Idrissa's hair or shirt and the background.


So for the second portrait, I added two rim lights to create separation. I wanted a purple color, so I gelled the main light with a yellow-green gel and used a custom white balance. The green gel, once white-balanced, turned the rim lights from white into purple.


Then I decided I didn't want a black background, so for the third headshot, I added a background light, ungelled, which made the background light purple.


Finally, Idrissa and I decided that the purple rim lights on Idrissa's face was too much color for our taste, so we gelled the rim lights with green (to turn the light back to white) plus light blue to give a slight blue-ish cast in the final portrait.


What do you think?  Which of this series of commercial portraits do you like the best?


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