In the ever-evolving world of photography, one trend that's been making waves is the use of gels to add colorful and dynamic effects to your shots. As a passionate photographer and teacher for my son's school's photography club, I've witnessed the growing fascination with this technique. However, there's a common question that often arises, "How can I achieve that vibrant colored light look without gels?" Well, I embarked on an experimental journey to provide an answer, and guess what? I found not one but two ingenious solutions – a posterboard and a trusty projector.
The Posterboard Method
Let's start with the posterboard method. It's a cost-effective and DIY approach that can work wonders for your creative photography. Here's how you can do it:
Secure a posterboard on a wall or a light stand using clamps or a boom stand.
Position your subject relatively close to the poster board.
Enlist the help of a friend to shine a flashlight onto the poster.
Now, here's where the magic happens. You have two options:
Option 1: Hold the flashlight at a distance from your subject and illuminate not only the poster but also the edge of their back and shoulder. This technique softens the color on your subject and provides a gentle separation between them and the backdrop, highlighting their cheek and shoulder beautifully. However, the color on the subject will be subtle.
Option 2: Bring a Lume Cube as close to the posterboard as possible. This setup saturates your subject with the poster color, creating a moody and captivating atmosphere.
A Quick Note on Lume Cubes: If you're not familiar with Lume Cubes, check out a first look video by Levi Sim. These compact and versatile lights can be your secret weapon for achieving stunning effects in your DIY photography projects.
For both setups, maintain the same camera settings. I used my Lumix GX8, equipped with a 42.5mm lens (which has the same field of view as an 85mm lens). My settings were ISO 800, f/1.7, and a shutter speed of 1/40s. While I hand-held my camera during the shoot, if your camera doesn't permit this, a tripod can ensure sharp, focused results.
Having mastered the art of colored light photography without the use of gels, I decided to take it a step further, infusing a touch of beauty photography into the mix – a style I'm particularly passionate about. Some time ago, I shared a video about creating DIY snoots for my speedlights. This time, I took that snoot, added a barn door effect to the end, and had my friend hold a second Lume Cube light within it. Then, I directed this light straight into my subject's eyes. The result was pure magic – a stunning beauty image that you can create with ease and enjoy the process.
In conclusion, as a DIY photographer in the beautiful landscapes of Utah, you have the creative power to craft your own vibrant world of colors and effects without the need for expensive gear. Embrace the DIY spirit, experiment with these techniques, and let your artistic vision shine. Colored light photography is an exciting journey, and it's just waiting for you to explore its endless possibilities. So grab your camera, gather your tools, and start painting your world with light. Your next masterpiece is just one experiment away!