Chai Studio Shoot: Colour Gels and Background Shadow


My first shoot of 2015 saw me back in the studio working once again with the fantastic Chai.

Prior to shooting we had discussed doing a swimwear shoot using a black and red colour scheme and I wanted something quite bold and striking from the images.

For a while I’d been very interested in dabbling in colour gels as rim light (to date I had never really had much joy in using them effectively on shots), so used this as an opportunity to inject an extra subtle bit of colour into the pictures.

With a red backdrop I chose to use violet/purple as a rim light, opting for a colour that is adjacent to red on the colour wheel. This should then be complimentary.


The lighting set up can be seen on these behind scene images, taken by Ryan Kempe.

Screenshot 2015-01-07 21.39.57

Screenshot 2015-01-07 21.39.06

The rim light can be seen to camera left. The violet gel is clipped over the barn doors of a gridded light. From memory the rim light was powered 1 stop less than the key light, to try and retain the colour of the gel. Key light was provided by a gridded beauty dish.

I asked Chai to direct her body into the direction of the gelled light and turn her head slightly towards the beauty dish.

Onto the backdrop….

The blind, supported on the boom arm to camera right, provided the interesting shadows for the back drop. A Nikon SB900 flash was fired in SU-4 mode (firing when the sensor picks up the light from the studio lights), positioned approx 3 foot behind the blind. Getting the flash-to-blind distance was key to creating a hard shadow on the red background. The further the flash light from the blind, the harder the shadow.

Visible in the behind scenes shot above is a black board, which was flagging the light from the flash. This was to prevent any light from the flash falling on Chai. This was positioned after initial test shots showed this to be the case.

There wasn’t much post processing done to the image (Chai really does have fantastic skin!), but I did shift the white balance ever so slightly from 4050K to 4414K which seemed to enrich the red and violet colours in the image.

Katie Johnson MUA provided the professional hair and make up styling.

Camera settings ISO 200, 1/100, f/14
Taken at Shutterworks Studio

Chai has a video showreel in production for this shoot so I will be adding a link to the Limelight blog in due course!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s