Shoot: Color Gels with Speedlights


Creating Impact with Color Gels


Lesson Info

Shoot: Color Gels with Speedlights

One of the things that I absolutely love about the D or the model action photo, they can stand straight up, live stance, so it's like live stance. So, I am gonna run through, actually, how I did the entire shoot. So, we have one where you're here like this. I'll just be real quick. And one of the reasons I like to shoot with zoom lenses is at F6, F11, or F16 is 'cuz I don't have time to waste to change lenses when you only have a minute or 30 seconds or whatever with you subject. I did a shoot not that long ago with a high profile athlete and the shoot was for two days. It was to do the marketing photos for the project he was working on and the photos were not in action. So, I was literally hired to make the marketing photos of that project and over two days, I had maybe ten minutes with him, combined with those two days. So, their schedules really filled up fast, so I don't wanna waste my time switching lenses from a especially when I'm shooting with F11 or F16. At that point, a prim...

e lens becomes more of an inconvenience than anything because F11 to 16, all lenses are pretty much equal and on top of that, it lets me go from here, generally. Actually, you know what. Since I'm gonna kind a replicate that, I'm just gonna take this off to the side so it's out of the way. Oh, yeah, go ahead 'cuz it's not gonna go off. So, come here. Let's just go right here. So, on this one with this, what it'll let you do, the 24 to 105 is my favorite lens. I've actually used this for every cover that I've shot. So, it begins to let you go, if you need to zoom out and here from here through, like, a really tight head shot at 105, right here we're not getting distortion, here. And then, just cross your arms. Keep it right here, like that. There you go, perfect. Here, and I didn't even check the exposure, but this should be good. Yeah, that's looking good and just put your arms to the side and keep looking forward. Keep it right here. And, I just went-- Actually, I'll go on this side. Keep it right here. And, I'm gonna get the umbrellas, here, on the side. Keep it here, but this is all I do with him, here and here, so if that was all black it would be here like that and that was it, that was the entire photo shoot like that. And then, he kinda just walked off set. So, you have to really be efficient and tight and get a nice shot. It actually looks really nice. Right there, you can see the blue gel coming up. And, if that umbrella was off, 'cuz I wasn't lighting the background on the other ones, it'd be all black on there. Actually, you know what, can we just strike it? Yeah, and that way, you can see it. And another reason why I shoot at F11 or F16, when I have that short amount of time, like, I used to shoot wide open all the time, but when you shoot wide open, like at F2 or F2.8 or F1.2, if you've got one of those really fast lenses, you have to shoot a lot because if the person moves slightly and as you're out of focus, it doesn't work, right? So, I don't have the time or luxury to shoot a lot when I'm photographing people like that nor do I wanna shoot a lot and go through all those pictures. So, if I'm shooting at F16, I don't have to worry about focus and they can move a lot and number two, it's one less thing to worry about. So, the less I gotta worry about, the better I could do. The easier I can focus on my subject. So, just keep facing forward and let me go on the side. So, he should be, in theory, all black because the umbrellas are-- There you go. Keep it right there. Just like that. This actually looks really nice. Keep it right there. There you go. Are you softball or orthodox? All right, give me a fighting stance, face straight forward. Yeah, go for it. That was perfect. No, switch it. Okay, right there. Oh, why did that light turn off? Just like that, there you go. So, you can relax. So, this actually looks really cool. Give me one more. Keep it like that and then, just stay right there. All right, cool, relax. So, on this picture right here that I have, that I actually really love how it looks, so I'm just gonna look on screen, but let me go back a few. Like, on this one, if you look on the screen, I love how the light kinda just falls off. It's falling off 'cuz that red on there, it's actually, the reason why this is turning off is because it's over heating, so the light automatically turns it off 'cuz it's probably overheating from the grid and the gel. So, that's why the monitor lets you turn it off to keep from doing it, but what I love, right here, if you look you can see the red gels at 20 degree grid, it's hitting him right there and then, it falls off and then, the blue starts hitting him right here and it looks really nice. We're still getting in some spillage, probably from that. That blue one's still on. Probably from this one it's getting spillage because it's probably bouncing off of him and hitting that wall or bouncing off right here, but you can make that pretty black if you wanted to in post, but that's generally how I did that photo shoot. Just real quick and you gotta be in and out pretty fast.

Class Description

Light is essential to creating cinematic images as well as color. In this class, join five time portrait photographer of the year Alexis Cuarezma as he breaks down his process for using color gels to make an image that grabs your attention. He will teach how he sets up his camera, creates a color scheme, and selects gels to get the desired image in camera. He'll go over simple color schemes that can be done with only two lights, as well as a full stylized image using multiple lights and color gels.



Alexis Cuarezma is hilarious, very talented, and a creatively energetic instructor and artist! If I hadn't been attending Photo Week, I wouldn't have chosen this course, but boy am I glad I was in it! Gels have been an enigma to me for years (in the way that studio strobes used to be), and I was surprised at how easy and useful they were when Cuarezma explained and demonstrated them. His creative process is a joy to watch and learn from. I highly recommend this course to ALL photographers!

Amy Vaughn

I don't do athletic images, but I think the lessons in this class can be applied to other genres too. It was a nice overview of how to use color temperature settings, gels and color theory to create mood and atmosphere.

Vitamin Dee

I really dig watching his approach to creating a mood. Even if you're not into sports photography, you'll learn how to use color to convey impact.