Lighting with Gels

Lesson 1/17 - Class Introduction


Lighting with Gels


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

We're gonna talk about lighting with gels today. Like I said yesterday, you know, I kinda come from the 90s, I come from that Gen X era, you know, this was definitely trending in my formative years as photographer, and I think it comes in and out of style all the time. So, I'm a big fan of it. And I'd just like to ask the audience, you know, like, from the bat, you know, if you guys could just think about maybe any problems you've had with gels or things you'd like to know about gels, or if we could just get some questions in around gels, it would be great to field as we go through the day. Or maybe you're terrified of gels, but I'm here to break it down and make it simple for ya. The lesson plan, we're gonna talk a little bit about color theory. You know, how color operates. Talk about controlling color, how to get the most saturated colors. How to work with gradient colors, and at the end of the day we're gonna end with a simple technique, but I think it's great for creating a little...

bit more energy if your content is just flashed with a rear sink long exposure. So we'll do that with gels as well. So I just wanted to remind anybody this is class for anybody who's been maybe a little bit hesitant, a little bit hesitant about experimenting with gels, or is learning about light, and wants to... Maybe we're making pictures, or taking pictures with light, and we wanna be more involved in creating pictures with light. You know, like we're just kinda throwing a light up, and it's definitely lit, but it's not really going to the point where we want it to go to, you know. So I hope I can bring us there a little bit more, you know, and empower you, and help build your confidence. 'Cause I think, in my experience, my confidence in photography is key, you know, developing a lot in confidence so that I can go on set and I said this yesterday, just be present for the people and the situations and I'm there for, you know. So I tend to get places really early, get my lights set up real early, get everything dialed in real early. So when my talent comes on set and I only have that few minutes, or however long I have to photograph them, I'm present for this, and my head's not in the camera's hiney. Right? You know, 'cause you could have your head so stuck in the technique, that you lose sight of what a portrait's all about, which is about a dance with the person, you know, a celebration of spirit. So, again, we're just gonna build on our foundation that we talked about yesterday, with main light, key light, fill light, edge light, background light,. We're just gonna be working with those things, working with ratios, working with creating shadows through the inverse square law, filling in those shadows. You know, hopefully everyone finds, you know, can step deeper into style, you know, and individualize through the use of color. 'Cause I think it's a great weapon, you know. Yeah, just some of my work around gels, you know, this is a very aggressive approach we'll look at today, we're really going hard with the colors, you know. And one thing I really like about, you know, I spend a lot of time with my students, we look at a lot of contemporary pictures. And I ask them, how do you think it was lit? So here, it's kind of very easy to start to see, you know, we got one light, two light, three light. Right? And then a fourth background light. You can really see where they're all placed very clearly through the use of color. So that's one thing Ciel's doing. You know, this might not be for everybody, so you can you know, you can be a little bit subtle with this. And, you know, this is just a little kiss of red fill in there, just adding a little bit more cinema, little more warmth. You know? Our objectives today are, I'm gonna talk about color theory could be its own creative life, you know. It's like a rabbit hole that we could go down, and we could talk about color for a long long time. But, we're gonna review it, discuss it, in passing all day, you know? We're gonna demonstrate how to use gels. I think they're a great tool in making the ordinary extraordinary. You know, I think that's just what they do. I think that's always our job, as photographers, to kind of elevate situations, elevate people, give it some gravitas and maybe see it in our unique way. Yeah, I talked about it, we're gonna work subtly with them at first. You know, just filling in our shadows a little bit. Just putting a little kiss in there. And again, we're gonna develop our playbook a little bit more, and go deeper into what we're capable of. So, you will see me for sure struggle today. Right? Like, I could tell you that... Gels can go really weird, really quick. I don't know if everybody's had that experience. You know, they can just start to look like horsey, or silly, or clowny, or I don't wanna s- You know like, a bad 80s television show or something. You know? So they can go bad quick, and we gotta kinda re-steer that and find out what works for us, you know. And what works for me might not work for you, so I think everyone's gotta practice and find it.

Class Description

Color has a way of making the ordinary extraordinary. In this course, Clay Patrick McBride will explore the power of gels. He’ll show how to light and create dynamic images by balancing and accentuating color.


Vitamin Dee

Great class if you're wanting to learn how to work with gels! This class will take you through the process step by step as you build your shooting playbook. I enjoyed Clay's honest and simple approach. Clay and his assistant, Chris, make a great team as they show how gels work and show you what not to do. They make learning fun!


Enjoying every minute of this class.

Doug Richardson

I found Clay's classes and teaching style worked very well for me. For example, Clay's method of first testing one light in a multiple light set-up and the adding the other lights one-by-one was great. I recommend this class for anyone working to add different lighting styles to their work.