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Coloring Light for Creative Effect

Lesson 52 from: Lighting 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

Coloring Light for Creative Effect

Lesson 52 from: Lighting 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

52. Coloring Light for Creative Effect


Class Trailer

Chapter 1 Introduction


Why Just One On-Camera Flash


5 Reasons to Use Flash


Common Flash Myths


What Makes Flash Challenging?


Chapter 2 Introduction


Flash-Strobe vs. Ambient-Constant Light


Flash vs. Ambient Light Exposure


Flash vs. Ambient Demo


Flash and Ambient Balancing for Natural Effect


Flash and Ambient Balancing for Dramatic Effect


Flash and Ambient Balancing for Creative Effect


Understanding Flash Duration


Chapter 3 Introduction


5 Common Key Light Patterns


5 Common Key Light Patterns w/ Diffusion & Fill


5 Common Secondary Light Patterns


3 Primary Subject Patterns


Light Qualities


The Inverse Square Law


Inverse Square Law in Practice


Corrective White Balance


Creative White Balance


Chapter 4 Introduction


On Board vs. Hot Shoe Flash


Full Feature vs. Manual Flashes


TTL vs. Manual Control


TTL vs. Manual Recycle Times


Flash Power & Zoom


HHS vs. ND Filters




Chapter 5 Introduction


4 Tips When You Must Use Direct Flash


Bare Bulbing Done Right


Grid Snoot + Direct Flash


Mini Beauty + Direct Flash


Ring + Direct Flash


Understanding Modifiers


Direct Flash + Shutter Flash


Chapter 6 Introduction


Ambient vs. Direct Flash vs. Bounce Flash


Silver Bounce


More Light Silver


Soft White Bounce


Overhead Bounce


Overhead Bounce + Fill


Event Bounce


Chapter 7 Introduction


Natural vs. Dramatic Light


Filling and Refining Existing Light


Coloring Light for Corrective Effect


Coloring Light for Creative Effect


Chapter 8 Introduction


Case Study 1 - Dramatic Sunset


Case Study 2 - Desert Sunset


Case Study 3 - Sinister Headshot


Case Study 4 - Family Portrait


Case Study 5 - Athlete Portraits


Case Study 6 - Working Angles


Case Study 7 - Drag + Composite


Case Study 8 - Less is More


The Good Karma Jar


Favorite Feature Flashes


Favorite Manual Flashes


Favorite On Camera Flash Modifiers


Lesson Info

Coloring Light for Creative Effect

Coloring or gel in your flash and balancing this is one of my absolute favorite techniques and one of my favorite reasons for even adding flash into a scene to begin with because you can create very dramatic results and we're going to covering basically two different techniques. One is coloring for corrective effect, and one is coloring for creative effect. Basically, we're choosing it just for stylistic purposes only. Now these two images on the left, we're actually going to cover these images in complete detail. In our case studies, we'll show you from start to finish how it was shot, the conceptualization of what we're doing here and so forth. So in this video, I want to cover them a little bit quicker because we're going to spend more time on them later but let's go through in each of the examples exactly what we're doing and the same principles that we've talked about before still apply about modifiers whites versus silver's mat versus reflective, large versus small, you know, all...

those things still apply. The only difference is now we're just taking a gel filter and we're applying it over our flash head. The same thing still applies if you want to use this in conjunction with, say, a grid like if I have my little cheap fellow grid right here, I can still apply this directly over the jealous well and this one the reasons I like my magma system because this is not the most elegant solution to be carrying around but it works just the same either way so really pick whatever fits in your budget, pick whatever fits in your style and your workflow but either way you get to really the same result. Okay? So primary tips well, justus, before your soft light can be used to refine quality or direction of light the exact same way that we do before so on this right cyber action refining the direction and the color quality of life next similar before if we want to simply amplified the amount of light were gonna light from the same direction to kind of match the direction of existing light which is what we do here here there's not too much existing light two really match. We're just choosing to add our own direction of light there and just before first always set up always always, always work with the bat on first, then add the subject, then at your flash and then work from there. All right, so let's actually start on the left side. We're just starting this creative coloring effect side and we're gonna work our way to the right so starting on the left side once we got jill in position right here, all I did was I put a silver reflector to my left side again I'm working with silver because I want a little more light now so I want a higher contrast light why? Because this is a beautiful and dramatic scene it's it's a scene where we have fitness and definition and muscle definition and we want to show these things off so a high contrast silver speculator light is just the right kind of like to have in this situation I decided to jail because in looking at this basic scene when I took the shot I took it naturally and I said okay here's my background I took a shot for that but I took this shot I said it looks nice but I wanted to look wow and I saw her bikini and I saw the blue and then I thought, you know the background matched that it looked fantastic so how do we do that? We simply put the jail on the flash now that the gel balance becomes around thirty, six hundred kelvin this light balance so if this is my primary light and if I balanced to roughly around thirty six to thirty, eight hundred kelvin, we can figure out exactly what this one was that this is that four point five thousand so forty five hundred kelvin the top this is at thirty, five hundred kelvin on the bottom with the cto what happens to background when we pull it down when we balance for this isthe sends the background the daylight into a deep blue and we get this beautiful dramatic look and all we do is we just wait for this wave to come up but she's interpose and we get that shot this is virtually straight from camera guys I mean I could show her this and she would be like actually I did sure that she's like oh my god maybe clients are always gonna have that kind of reaction when you can show him these types of shots straight from camera because anyway that doesn't know photography would think that this is photoshopped they will all think it's photoshopped and he's shown that right at the camera like holy cow I didn't know that you were that good a photographer and you're like dude, I'm not really great I just know lightened I know camera white balance and all those kind of things and you don't tell him that of course you these go yeah yeah yeah I'm all right moving on a number our number two the middle so this shot again we're going to cover in detail this is actually a composite shot we're on a twenty four to seventy millimeter f two point mark to the same lens that I have right here where twenty four millimeters shooting wide this is f four and I saw one hundred now, basically, what we've done with this shot is where shooting this it didn't say right here, but we'll get to only talk about the details of what we're doing is we're slowing down the shutter for this, probably to around one tenth, too one full second to get these cars basically driving by and demands on, of course, how fast the cars going by, but the main point I want to show here is if we don't balance this, too tungsten, if we don't shoot with that tungsten gel on this is the white balance of that shot. This is balanced to fifty, five hundred degrees kelvin the blue sky appears very blue, but everything else is kind of yellow and kind of little bit muddied when we take this down when we gel our flash and we pull this down to thirty, nine hundred kelvin, we get this blue kind of look all over, and what ended up happening is it actually looks like a nighttime shot because it has all these blue tones. You guys want to know how hollywood directors make nighttime look like nighttime is they simply shift your white balance down, they'll use daylight temperature light, they'll use fifty, five hundred degrees kelvin light to light the set and then in camera that has changed the white balance, too. Thirty eight hundred grease and boom automatically your light becomes blue and they'll make sure it kind of looks dark and it looks like you know, there's, not a ton of light in the scene and there you go. You have nighttime, so this kind of work perfect in these scenes and what we're doing again is with a gel. We're bouncing in a white over silver, some just bouncing right off to the right side, going wide over silver the camera's on a tripod, we take three shots, one shot for the couple, one shot for the left cars, one shot for the right cars. We could do it all in one shot. I'll tell you why we didn't want to get to that in the case study but that's a simple is that shot this shot right here. This is all one shot. This is an example of corrective coloring, okay, why? Well, when I got to the scene, I set up my shot, right? I took my first shot, my first thought was on my signal, thirty five millimeter art were at one thirty second f one point for the sigma heartlands, they're absolutely fantastic in terms of sharpness when they're shooting wide opens, I'm no fear shooting them wide open, we're at sixteen hundred, okay, this is that thirty nine fifty kelvin right? So I kind of changed my white balance to kind of match what it looked like in the scene and what we end up getting is a kind of green and muddy look to them in the color there. Now remember what I said earlier that if you had to use direct flash now let's say we had a we had an on board flash based we had not a hot shoe flashman on more flash we had no other option I would expose similar to what we have here. I'd probably kick it up a little more where I'm at one thirty second f one point four I probably take this up from what we have sixteen hundred take it upto thirty, two hundred get the background as bright as possible and make that flash very, very soft and you'd still get a decent look with this type of image again. It's brightening up the backgrounds brightened everything up even in nine times situations with direct flash that's going to make it look more natural but we have a hostile flash and we have direction we can control the direction of flash we have bounces, we could do all this kind of stuff there's no need to do that I looked the light and it looks green why does it look green? Because behind me there's an office building that putting off that sodium fluorescent gas light terrible looking green light but it's providing quite a bit of light on the set I want to do is just kind of correct it a little bit I want to adjust a little bit so it looks a little unnatural so I put a gel my flash I put a white over silver and I look at where the light's coming from in this shot the light's coming from kind of to the right and it's kind of coming down on them it looks natural looks nice it's just the color that's not what I like so what I do I have my assistant hold the white over silver and they holding a position that kind of matches where that existing light is coming from we get the same shadow I went from coming from the right I want that shadow on the chin so it's got to be up a little bit higher I want it off to the right so it kind of hits him in the back and maybe leaves a little bit of face in the shadows just like how it does in this shot I'm matching the direction guys I'm matching the direction of this shot because I wanted to look natural I wanted to have the same types of shadows and I want the shadow to fall in the same places I just want to correct the color of the existing light with my camera white balance at thirty eight hundred kelvin, a cto wide over silver bounced to the right and we're bouncing at around one eighth toe one sixteenth power and look at this f one for an ice of sixteen hundred so I'm allowing a lot of light in from the flash so you can imagine the flash and the balance, the bouncer's coming from quite far away. I think the bounces coming from like fifteen or twenty feet to the right and held up and I'm bouncing all the way into that, so so I'm getting a lot of light back, it's just I'm losing a lot of light to some at one eight, two, one sixteenth power at sixteen hundred and one point four but look, the shot that we get afterwards look how much more natural it looks their skin tones have been all cleaned up again these air all the exact same like no, no, we don't do any like exaggeration in light room and try and make things look different. These are all the exact same straight at the camera shots, guys, but look at how clean up the skin looks and that how beautiful the coloring looks here, the background still looks identical, the background looks wonderful, we have much better skin tones, so this is an example of that corrective coloring okay, matching the same direction of light, just changing the quality and the colors light just a little bit to fit the scene and to make it look appropriate. That's it for this chapter and for this video, with head on to the next chapter one and cover. All of our case studies were going a little more detail and kind of explaining the approach to each one of these scene. Because now that you know the techniques, I want, at least analyze a phew. The different scenes, and talk about the approach that when you approach a sing, you kind of think about it the same way and approach it the same way. Step by step to arrive at the best possible conclusion with your images. See you in the next chapter.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lighting 101 Slides

Ratings and Reviews


The best class for understanding light and lighting there is bar none. Pye is an excellent teacher and the quality of the material provides for a rich and very informative experience. Pye breaks down the fundamentals in easy to digest packets and then elaborates as needed. If there is one class that you watch this is it! Worth purchasing and saving for future use. I would also HIGHLY recommend downloading the saving the PDF of slides that accompany the videos. Again, and can't say it enough, this is THE BEST video to lighting on Creative Live. A must watch for the novice and the expert.


Great course, I highly recommend it if you want to become a more confident flash user. Pye is a wonderful instructor and just such a nice guy, it's a pleasure to listen to him

Simon Metselaar

This is the best thing that happened to me since I've been into photography. What a lifesaver. Unfortunately I already payed for some courses that are not Pye, but Pye just nails it. Amazing, and kind of a life hack. Thanks again :)

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