How to Use Lighting and Gels for Modern Portrait Photography [video]

How to Use Lighting and Gels for Modern Portrait Photography [video]

In this video from Lindsay Adler Photography, Lindsay deconstructs an image that she has lit using colored gels to make it look as though she photographed it in a nightclub or bar.


Inspired by a red velvet couch that she has in her studio, Lindsay decided to make her studio look like it was a nightclub or bar. She takes us through the process to teach us exactly how she achieved this look.

When choosing the color of her gels, Lindsay chose red to unify the subject with the color of the couch. She then used color wheel theory and used contrasting/complementary colors, so she went with a color close to green – teal.

Lindsay uses three strobes with fairly basic modifiers – bare bulbs and umbrellas.

Lindsay states that “The shot as lit overhead by a small white umbrella (no gel). The right-hand side of the frame was lit by a large deep umbrella with diffusion and a red gel to wrap around most of the frame. Finally, a bare bulb with a teal/green gel was used to light the shadows on the left of the frame. The colors selected helped create a sense of atmosphere to the otherwise static black environment.”

During the video, you’ll find out why these choices were made to combat particular issues that arose, including the wall being a slightly reflective surface.

You’ll also see some post-production choices that Lindsay makes with the image, as well as discovering why Lindsay chose to have the model posed in this particular way.

But more importantly, you’ll learn how to make a photo like hers!

What did you think of Lindsay’s video? Did you find it helpful? Let me know in the comments!


You may also find the following helpful:

Your Guide to Studio Lighting Equipment

Understanding Broad and Short Lighting in Photography

5 Creative Portrait Lighting Tricks Using Only Phone Light

How to use Off-Camera Flash to Create Dramatic Images with Cross Lighting

5 Lighting Setups You Can Do Using an Octabox

How to do Clamshell Lighting: A Reliable Two Light Setup

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