using a gelled LED video light for dramatic colors

using a gelled LED video light for a change in color balance (model: Rebekah)

Continuing with the theme of combining dramatically different color balances in a single image, there is this striking portrait of Rebekah. She is one of our models at the workshop at Treehaven, WI, this week. Working in the fading evening light, I had Rebekah pose somewhere in the middle of a large clump of trees. I knelt down so that I could shoot up and catch the last remnants of the evening sky as the background.

The blue light filtering through the trees was then exaggerated by using an LED video light with the deep Amber gel on it. LED video lights are balanced for daylight, so the light from them is quite ‘cold’ compared to Incandescent light. By now using the specific gels that are supplied with it, you can change the color balance of the video light to match Incandescent / Tungsten light. It is normal to work with the Amber gel to shift the LED video light towards the warm spectrum of Incadescent light.

In photographing our model here, I wanted to use the warm light from the Amber-gelled LED video light to create a big jump between that and the color of our background light. (I specifically didn’t want to use the LED video light as daylight-balanced light source.) This now caused the blue-ish tones of the evening light to go to a much deeper shade of blue. The rapid fall-off in the light from the video light, gave that typical spot-light effect. This really accentuated her face.

The pull-back shots reveal just how big a jump it really was in the color between our surroundings and the video light …

I love the way her face is now that single spot of warm color in the pool of blue light and dark tones. It really draws your eyes in.

camera settings:
1/125 @ f2.8 @ 1250 ISO

equipment used:
Nikon D3; Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)
Litepanels MicroPro (B&H)

6 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1 says


    Once again the value of the pull back shot is huge. I’m finding the information in your posts starts falling into place when I see the pull back shots.

  2. 2Kacha says

    fantastic picture, but what about camera WB?
    was it set to Tungsten?
    thanks for educating us.

  3. 4Tad says

    A technical question. I know how works WB in RAW workflow, but that pleasant skin color you get just by moving sliders in ACR or you use a kind of grey/white card during photo session and eyedropper help you establish suitable WB? Maybe you just use digital value occording gels used on the LED light? Anyway wonderful idea to get such fantastic blue color in natural way instead using ACR or Photoshop for that.


  4. 5 says

    No grey or white cards to get to a good color balance and skin tone. It’s a matter of adjusting it to taste during the RAW workflow. At times I use the eye-dropper tool; but mostly just the sliders.

    What helps here is the leeway we have in what is deemed an acceptable skin tone. Commercial photographers would work with a much strict idea of what is an accurate rendition of color and color balance.

    Neil vN

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