Using a coloured gel can be a good way to add interest to a photo and to separate the subject from the background.  A gel, or colour filter, is simply a thin sheet of coloured transparent material that is attached to the front of the flash unit.  Gels are available to buy in various sizes and colours for use with studio flash or portable flash units (speedlights).

I photographed glamour model Natalia Forrest in her home.  The living room wall was a neutral cream colour.  I decided to add a touch of colour by aiming a red gel at the back wall.   The gel was attached to the front of an Elinchrom studio flash unit.  I flagged the gel with barn-doors as I didn’t want too much of it coming back onto Natalia.  I chose a red gel to match with her lingerie. 

The main light came from an Elinchrom studio flash unit diffused by a large softbox which I placed camera left and close to Natalia.  With a softbox the general rule is that the closer the softbox, the softer the light. 

There was lots of bright sunlight streaming through the windows behind Natalia, so I brought in a white reflector to kick some of this light back into the photo.  I’ve attached a lighting diagram to show the basic setup as I remember it.  Note that I don’t claim to be the most technically competent photographer!

Feel free to comment.  (click the photos to enlarge).



Lighting setup diagram

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