Colorful headshots: How to use colored gels to add vibrant, consistent color to your background


posted Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 5:00 AM EST


A couple weeks ago, we covered how to change a gray portrait background to any color you wanted in Photoshop. But what if you want to get a certain color during capture? Photographer and Fstoppers staff writer Jeff Carpenter of Readylight Media has created a tutorial showing how to use colored gels on background lights to capture portraits with varied, dynamic colored backgrounds.

In the video below, Carpenter utilizes three speedlights, a gray background, black foam core and is shooting tethered to his computer. While you can get away with a single speedlight on the background, he finds that he gets the most consistent, even results by adding two background lights angled at around 45° each. When using gels to color your background, that can result in a color cast to your subject’s face. How do you avoid this? Black foam core is used to block the colored light from hitting your subject.

Although two lights is best for even results, Carpenter also shows how you can get a very cool split background effect. For the full tutorial, see this article that Jeff published at Fstoppers. For more headshot tips, see this tutorial, which covers Carpenter’s impressive and efficient “3-in-1 Headshot Method.” For more tutorial videos from Carpenter and Readylight Media, check out Readylight’s YouTube channel.

(Via DIY Photography)