Welcome to the live series we’re doing bi-monthly on Profoto’s Instagram called “Slice of Pye”. We’ll be covering a myriad of topics, discussing lighting principles, and showcasing a ton of Profoto gear in action over the course of the next year so please join us over on IG Live!

Tune in to our next episode: September 25th at 2PM PST!

In this episode, we’re focusing on incorporating gels for stylized portraiture. We’ll show you how to create unique portraits using a red gel and a speedlight. Watch the full episode below:

 

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Gear Used

Special thanks to Hamzeh our model for helping us out in this episode. In case you missed our last episode, you can watch them all on the Profoto IGTV channel!

Step 1: Cut Out Your Ambient Light

Gels & Pin Lighting for Stylized Portraits | Slice of Pye Ep. 12 - SOOC
Cut the Ambient Light

If you’ve watched most of our Slice of Pye episodes, you’ll notice one common theme: we always shoot them in our studio space which has some pretty unappealing overhead lights. Our first step is usually to cut out all ambient light so that we can produce a clean source of light with off-camera flashes or strobes. For this scene, our camera settings are 1/200th of a second, f/5.6, and ISO 100.

Step 2: Add In Colored Gel Background Light

Gels & Pin Lighting for Stylized Portraits | Slice of Pye Ep. 12 - Step 2: Add In Colored Gel Background Light
Step 2: Add In Colored Gel Background Light

Select the gel of your choice and add it to your light source. The amount of light power you’ll need is entirely dependent on how much of the ambient light you previously cut out from your scene. Here, we used the Profoto B10 with a red gel to blast 200 w/s of light against the white cyc wall to fill the entire frame with that red light. You can use any type of light for this step but make sure to keep in mind that by darkening your scene and cutting ambient light, you’ll need more power to compensate.

Step 3: Add In Pin Light

Gels & Pin Lighting for Stylized Portraits | Slice of Pye Ep. 12 - Add Pin Light
Add Pin Light

To help chisel out the subject and bring focus to their face, add in a speedlight or video light to create a clean pin light effect. This helps to maintain the mood and feel of the photo that we created using the gel while still bringing attention to the face. We placed a grid onto the Profoto A1x to narrow the focus of the light as to not spill all over the body and keep it on his face. You can see some images below that were created using this exact same technique:

Gels & Pin Lighting for Stylized Portraits | Slice of Pye Ep. 12 - Add Pin Light
Another example shot in the same manner
Gels & Pin Lighting for Stylized Portraits | Slice of Pye Ep. 12 - Add Pin Light
Set the mood with a proper pose

And that’s it! Three simple steps to creating stylized portraits using gels and a pin light. After filming this technique we came across this Elle Magazine cover image that was taken for a recent issue that applies the exact same technique:

 

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