Color has never been more important to the story of an image. Famed UK photographer, Jake Hicks walks you through his signature style using color gels to create vibrant and life-filled photography that grabs a hold of every viewer. Jake takes you from understanding the basics of bringing color to your subjects to creating complex color schematics with a dynamic impact.
Color Gel Lighting
Color gels are a great way to unlock the mysteries of white light. When you master lighting with color gels you are actually mastering white light photography. This tutorial shows how to introduce color gels to existing setups.
Jake says, "I get sent messages time and time again from photographers who are trying to learn how to take gel lighting shots, and I see the same mistakes happening every single time." He has created a curriculum that addresses every single one of these issues.
This color gel tutorial covers everything from fundamental concepts to the most advanced lighting setups. You will learn how to rely more on technique and less on post-production.
Meet Jake Hicks (4:50)
Join photographer, Jake Hicks, in the complete guide to Color Gel Photography. Listen as Jake discusses his philosophy as a creative artist and his belief in the importance of differentiating yourself. Receive a course overview, highlighting the four key looks that will be covered - Gelled Flair, Gelled Beauty, Gelled Edge, and finally mix it up with a Color Wash process with three distinct colors. Learn complex lighting setups, color theory, and execute incredibly high visual art, with fairly basic gear. Learn to create incredibly distinct, highly detailed, beautiful works of art with Colored Gel Portraits.
The Fundamentals of Colored Gel Photography (14:03)
Begin with learning an overview of the six fundamentals of shooting with color gels. Learn the impact exposure has on the hue of a gel color. Apply best practices to control unwanted color contamination when using multiple color gels. Explore how to effectively utilize both soft and hard light modifiers. Understand the practical application of Angle of Incidence. Get practical guidance on gel attachment, giving you reliable setup for the shoot, control of color contamination, and easy cleanup at project wrap. And finally, develop experience on how to apply the proper distance of your color gel from the subject.
Introducing the Look (3:26)
Before jumping straight into the first setup, learn about the elements that go into creating the look of color gel photography. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, describes the importance of white lighting techniques to establish a firm lighting foundation, building towards colored gels. Learn about the importance of adopting a methodical approach, building the entire shot setup - step by step, light by light. Gain an understanding of proper lighting placement, investing in proper hair and makeup support, and get an inside look at photographer, Jake Hick's complete gear setup.
Gear List: Nikon D600, 28-105mm lens, Lensbaby, right angle bracket, diffusion filters, the gels, flash sync, four strobes, two reflectors with honeycombs, a silver 22-inch beauty dish with diffusion cover, one 60 x 60 Broncolor softbox, a floor stand, three light stands, a fan, and a dark black backdrop.
Key Light (6:11)
Begin the step by step setup of lighting for color gel photography. Work in studio to focus on the key light's position, angle, subsequent shadows and their symmetry. Learn about the benefits of using a beauty dish, right angle bracket, and the importance of subjective vs. objective lighting. Create a control amongst all of the variables and build around that. Develop an understanding of proper distance and height in relationship to the model's eye when placing a key light.
Camera Settings (3:41)
With the key light properly placed, dial in the optimum camera settings. Adopt a fixed approach for shutter and ISO leveraging the power of studio lighting to make exposure adjustments. Establish the depth of field, refining focus to an aperture setting that will only vary for creative taste. See in practice the usage of an objective light.
Fill Light (5:35)
With the key light established, proceed to adding the second light in the setup - the fill light. Utilize the 60 x 60 Broncolor softbox and floor stand to establish the proper fill for maintaining lighting symmetry and shadow control. Contrast reflectors versus using additional strobe lighting. Leverage the modifier on the fill light to create subtle softness for the face, particularly analyzing the skin-tone and jawline of the model. Iterate through a series of exposures to dial in the perfect mixture of key and fill, and learn the techniques that photographer, Jake Hicks, employs to achieve that balance.
Adding Hairlights (7:26)
Continue the step by step setup for lighting the set. With key and fill lights established and positioned as the objective lighting of the shot, begin to build dimension, specularity, and separation from the background with the addition of hair lighting. Watch and learn as photographer, Jake Hicks, adds 2 hair lights to the set, taking care to establish intentional distance and height. Learn how to balance the lighting setup to avoid unwanted shadows and asymmetrical illumination of the subject. As the lighting setup fills out, realize the importance of Angle of Incidence.
Introducing Color (10:53)
After completing a solid lighting foundation for the set, begin the process of introducing color to your photography shoot. Think about color in relationship to the background of the set, the styling and wardrobe of the model, and the color gels that are placed on each light. Apply color theory to the process of lighting a colored gel set for intentional design in your creative work. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he explores and defines his creative process in developing distinctive, colorful imagery.
Explore lens options, with photographer, Jake Hicks, for creating specific in on set results. Watch as he utilizes the 50mm Lensbaby Composer Pro to create a practical radial blur. Iterate through a series of captures to achieve the ideal focus point and creative exposure. With lighting, color gels, and lens set learn to pose the model achieve the first of six concepts - the gelled flare.
Skin Retouch (13:55)
Upon completing production for the first look - the gelled flare - begin the photography retouching process in Photoshop, with photographer Jake Hicks. For this example, work to understand a portrait retouching approach, adding more complex editorial examples as the training series progress. In this section, focus on retouching skin, using Photoshop's Patch Tool to eliminate the most glaring distractions.
Black & White Toning (7:36)
With the primary distractions eliminated with the Patch Tool, apply another process to refine and enhance the portrait subject's skin. Use a layered approach with soft light blending, hue saturation, and a variety of other tools within Photoshop to remove splotches and uneven skin tone. Leverage the flexibility of the Paint Brush and work dynamically throughout the image to create an amazing skin aesthetic. Work from broad to more specific areas, honing the detail the further you go through the process.
Skin Smoothing (8:26)
Having applied a variety of methods to retouch and tone skin, begin to focus on blending the layered approach for a natural, cohesive look. With blurring, high and low pass separation, linear light blending and masking, manually apply a skin smoothing method for an incredible result for a natural skin blend.
Dodge & Burn (13:13)
After applying Frequency Separation in a methodical and intelligent way, move straight in to Dodging and Burning. In this pass of retouching the portrait, focus on a global approach. Utilize curves, adjustment layering, masks, and the paint brush to create extra depth and dimension to the image.
Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he moves through a layered and intentional methodology to retouching the Gelled Flare image. Having started with targeted area of the images, continue to work with a more global approach, refining skin, creating dimension, and focusing on color through the retouch. Listen as Jake connects his philosophy in production to the approach applied with post production. See why Jake creates the exposures he does and how he maintains as much detail as possible throughout the retouching process.
Global Highlights (3:00)
Learn to evaluate highlights in the image, separating them from the main exposure, and reducing the oily effect they can have on skin tone. Target troublesome areas like the forehead and cheekbones on a subject, while maintaining the definition and beauty of the skin pores from the Frequency Separation and Sharpening work.
Color Toning (10:10)
With the final step of color toning, work with photographer, Jake Hicks, to create the finishing touches that define the image. Utilize curves adjustments, separating the red, green, and blue color channels for precise control and manipulation of the image grade. Gain control over the subtle hues within the shadows, mid-tones and highlights of your image. Complete the first image in the colored gel course, the Gelled Flare.
Introducing the Look (1:42)
Move into a whole new look, the Gelled Beauty. Go back to the the studio and listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, breaks down the elements of what goes into making the Gelled Beauty look. In this composition, hear about the importance of makeup, monochromatic color, creating skin texture, the usage of shallow depth of field, and how to control and manage your gel lighting setup.
Key Light (4:23)
In the Gelled Beauty setup, change from a black to white background. Begin the layered, step by step build up process for lighting the set. Begin setup with the key light, focusing on position, angle, distance from the model, paying attention to the subject's eyes and jaw line. Evaluate the distance of the model from the backdrop and the key light. Observe as photographer Jake Hicks works with a Helios 85 mm lens, creating a beautiful roll off with his imagery. Watch as Jake manually focuses the lens for tack sharp point of interest rolling off into beautiful, shallow depth of field.
Fill Light (3:57)
In the second step of lighting a Gelled Beauty portrait, add a silver umbrella to create specular highlights and contrast. Leverage the ease of use on an umbrella with a gel, compared to a softbox, creating soft light. Understand the position of lighting in relationship to the model and other lighting. Iterate through a series of captures to control color within the shadows.
Adding Control (6:09)
With exposure from the Key and Fill light dialed in, add additional control in shaping the lighting setup by using black and white v-flats. Shape the lighting around the model and observe as photographer, Jake Hicks, explains his methodology for controlling light within your shooting environment.
Extra Fill Light (2:21)
Add one final light to the setup, with additional modifiers to create soft, diffused lighting. Hear photographer, Jake Hicks, approach to shooting a flatter image in camera, retaining as much information at capture for manipulation in post. With practical lighting methods, avoid unwanted color banding, iterating through exposures to create the optimum image for a gelled beauty shoot.
With lighting, gels, and modifiers locked in, capture a series of poses to create stunning gelled beauty images. Create a tight composition with an emphasis on hand and shoulder placement, refining focus and dimension. Work with extremely shallow depth of field, creating vividly sharp focus on the subject's eyes. Continue to manipulate hand, chin, head angle, while maintaining tack sharp focus on the model's eyes.
Lightroom Culling (12:13)
Enter the retouching phase for gelled beauty with photographer, Jake Hicks. Using Lightroom, cull through a series of gelled beauty images to select the top favorites. Listen as Jake, describes his approach in selecting the kind of images that will ultimately go through his rigorous editing process in Photoshop. Select the best in focus, color, pose, and composition.
Lightroom Colors (21:12)
After culling the top images, leverage the power of RAW image processing using Lightroom's toolset. Hear photographer Jake Hicks, philosophy on processing RAW with Lightroom, prior to editing your images in Photoshop. Using highlights, tone curves, clarity along with other adjustments, create a balanced image with as much detail retained as possible before retouching the image.
Skin Retouch (13:26)
Begin the retouching process for gelled beauty using Photoshop. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, through a layered, multi-pass retouching process to create a beautiful, stand out image. Listen as Jake discusses his philosophy on how to improve your portfolio, where to invest your finances to improve your skillset. In contrast to the gelled flare approach, work to create more of an editorial look with this image. In this first section, target the main blemishes and distractions in the subjects skin. Develop a process to create perfect skin tone, with an emphasis on the subjects face, for a high end, commercial look. Use the patch and edge stamp tools to target areas of skin across the models face.
Black & White Toning (10:24)
In contrast to dodging and burning, focus on balancing skin tone using a method of black and white toning. Using this step in the multilayered approach towards skin retouching, follow photographer, Jake Hicks, in creating a commercial look by eliminating splotches and patchiness. Using soft light and multiply blending modes, hue saturation layering, curves and the paint brush, develop skills that are utilized in high end commercial workflows.
Skin Smoothing (12:00)
Leverage the power of skin smoothing to create an incredibly soft, natural skin texture. Follow photographer Jake Hicks, as he uses a methodical, mathematic and balanced approach in another pass of skin retouching. With the goal of creating a high end commercial look for the gelled beauty image, utilize Gaussian Blur, High Pass filtering, Linear Light blending, masking and the paint brush to paint with a targeted approach. Learn to skillfully create smooth transitions, for soft, beautiful skin tone.
Dodge & Burn (17:24)
With each pass for retouching, tone and smoothing skin complete - focus on a more global approach for the gelled beauty image. Switch to creating depth and dimension using dodge and burn. Use curves adjustment layers and the paint brush tool to accentuate facial features, lightening and darkening the details of the subjects face. Follow photographer Jake Hicks, as he shapes light within Photoshop to develop contour, shape, and points of emphasis, building on the work that was created in the field.
Darkening & Sharpening (9:50)
Move the edit forward into the final stages of the retouching process - focusing on sharpening the exposure. With each pass in the process expand from a targeted to more global, all encompassing approach. Push the detail of RAW combined with production lighting and Lightroom processing, to provide the widest creative latitude across the length of the post workflow - without sacrificing quality. Use curves layers to darken and a 3 stage process to sharpen.
Highlights & Colors (11:23)
With global sharpening applied, focus on the final pieces of the retouching process. Feather the highlights for a subtle roll off in specularity, reducing the often oily appearance of skin tone, without losing the dimension. Take a multi channeled approach to color toning. Learn when to process color and when to step away, to maintain objectivity during the grading process. Finish the Gelled Beauty image with a high end, commercial look.
Image 2 Full Edit (46:11)
Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, through an uninterrupted retouching session, on another image from the gelled beauty series. Learn how to expedite your workflow in a series image, by re-using some of your work from the first image across subsequent images.
Introducing the Look (1:52)
Transition to the third style of image in the color gel series - the gelled edge. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, breaks down the keys to creating this style. Focus on complementary colors, showing shape and form with contrast using color. Progress in your understanding of color theory, with practical application. Moving from a tight composition on the face, frame a wider perspective by capturing a three quarter length shot. Compare this lighting setup to what is used within music videos and even athletes.
Nikon D-600, two gels, orange and blue, the flash sync, 28-105mm lenss, three strobes, a small silver umbrella, two large umbrellas, three light stands, the right angle bracket, a black backdrop, glycerin, and a fan.
Edge Light (7:39)
In this setup for the gelled edge, begin with placement of edge lighting before the key light. Listen as photographer Jake Hicks, describes his philosophy behind using a black backdrop, wet skin tone on the model, lighting position and the role reversal of the edge and key lights. Learn how to control clear color separation and contrast by using Jake's methodology. Learn to create even tone with your gelled setup, controlling shadows and specularity, with intentional model and lighting placement. Iterate through some test captures to create a solid base image before adding the key light.
Adding Key Lights (19:44)
After establishing clean, gelled edge lighting, setup the third and final light for this setup - the key light. With a complimentary gel, setup the key light, leveraging the advantage of a right angle knuckle bracket for unobscured shooting. Iterate through a series of shots, to examine the reasoning behind light placement and posing of the model. Watch how lighting distance and setup angle effect the dimension of the exposure. Compare exposures in the field and continue to hone the setup to learn how to create the gelled edge look.
After working through the lighting setup for creating the gelled edge, focus on posing for this style. With a wardrobe change, learn how posing the models body, makeup, and wardrobes pieces can accentuate the power of gelled edge lighting.
Lightroom Culling (9:01)
With some favorites selected, here photographer Jake Hicks, approach in selecting the best images from a series in the gelled edge style. With a three quarter length shot, examine what Jake is looking for in the model's pose in relationship to the lights. Look for dimensional, contoured images, with clearly separated colors that have smooth transitions. See the elements that tie back to principles used in the field and how they manifest in the RAW imagery. Select a hero image for retouching in Photoshop.
Lightroom Colors (22:33)
Transition from the library to development module in Lightroom to hone the color processing. With artificial colors defining skin tone in the gelled style, learn to manipulate color with freedom. Watch photographer, Jake Hicks, manipulate white balance, exposure, curves, hue saturation and luminance sliders, to create a balanced image. Prepare the image for retouching in Photoshop with the maximum amount of detail provided in RAW processing. Compare the advantages of image preparation in Lightroom to editing in Photoshop.
Skin Retouch (17:18)
Begin the retouching process for the gelled edge hero. For this image, begin with compositing two exposures to eliminate a camera stand. After creating a clean composite, move forward with a solid base image to eliminate targeted skin and clothing distractions. With a wider shot composition, focus on retouching both skin and wardrobe across the subject's entire body. Since the model's skin is oiled, learn how to retouch skin evenly using the patch and healing brush tools, navigating more complex highlights.
Black & White Toning (11:39)
Work in black and white to create even skin toning across all of the model's body. Leverage Photoshop's curves layers, multiply and soft light blending modes, to paint beautiful, soft transitions. Perhaps the most challenging step in the retouching process, follow photographer, Jake Hicks, and learn to evaluate shapes of the body, to see and manipulate the differences in light and tone.
Skin Smoothing (13:33)
Focus on balancing skin texture in this step of the retouching process. Using Photoshop's gaussian blur, linear light blend mode, high pass filtering, paint brush and masking, learn to create smooth and soft skin, while retaining natural pore and hair details. Adjust opacity to create subtlety, moving the gelled edge image closer to final touches.
Dodge & Burn (13:06)
With skin retouching complete, focus on adding dimension and interest to the gelled edge hero shot. Work on evaluating highlights and shadows, learning what areas to accentuate and what areas to minimize. Use Photoshop's curves layers, paint brush, masking and opacity adjustments to blend believable contouring and shading, leveraging the power of specularity in edge lighting.
In the final touches, begin with sharpening the gelled edge hero shot. Separate tone sharpening from detailed sharpening. Learn how to sharpen the details without affecting the saturation of color in the image. with different layers of sharpening, leverage the power of Photoshop's layer-based editing for powerful results. Utilize a combination of blend modes, filters, and opacity adjustments to push the image to another level.
Color Toning (8:30)
At the final stage of retouching for the gelled edge image - focus on color toning. With a lot emphasis and manipulation put on color during the RAW Lightroom processing, learn to bring everything into balance with this final pass of the image. See how the clean lighting, areas of tone, and sections of color come together to create the final look of a gelled edge image. Use Photoshop's curves layers and RBG color channels to create subtlety and nuance through the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights of the image. Complete the look of the color gelled edge image.
Introducing the Look (2:46)
Advance to the most complex look yet - the gelled key and fill. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, describes the fundamentals of achieving this look. Using 3 distinct gels for this setup, approach the background, key and fill with clear separation, avoiding color contamination. Use a triadic color scheme to create a bold concept. Utilize all of the concepts learned thus far in various combinations. Learn to balance communication with the model, adjusting pose to make sure it fits with the lighting setup. Understand the importance of communication with your makeup artist, to take full advantage of this colored gel look - the gelled key and fill.
In this lighting setup, begin with using a gelled light setup on the background. Observer photographer, Jake Hicks, as he describes a sequenced methodology to his lighting setup, to eliminate color contamination in a gelled environment. Iterate through a series of text exposures to avoid unwanted hotspots and create smooth, gradient lighting for soft vignettes on the backdrop.
Key Light (10:23)
With the background lighting set, add the model and key light to continue building the gelled key and fill setup. Test through a series of exposures examining what a key light (without a gel) does to the model and environment. Observe as photographer, Jake Hicks, captures a variety of exposures, adjusting lighting intensity, positioning in relationship to the model and background - highlighting common mistakes that he encounters in the Key Light setup. Hear Jake's philosophy on treating the background lighting and key lighting for the model like separate sets. After a series of examples, add the key light gel and iterate through test captures to achieve the key light setup.
Fill Light (17:46)
Building step by step, add the third and final light to the gelled key and fill look. In this scenario, the background, key, and fill light are all colored gel lights. With the addition of the fill, work to mirror the lighting of the key, using a small silver umbrella. Learn to balance the fill light in relationship to the key and background gelled lights, for beautiful colors in the shadows. Iterate through multiple captures, refining pose, lighting intensity and achieve a beautiful triadic, editorial image.
Wardrobe Change I (7:53)
With multiple images captured, transition to a new wardrobe and work to hone pose and story within the color gel key and fill lighting setup. Watch as photographer, Jake Hicks, teaches how to troubleshoot unwanted halos appearing around the model. Continue to iterate through multiple captures creating stunning editorial imagery with provocative color, wardrobe, styling, and pose.
Wardrobe Change II (8:48)
In this section, work with an entirely new wardrobe and gels to create a whole new key and fill look. Use a new triadic color scheme with three primary colors. Continue to apply all of the principles and practice gained through the method of colored gel photography. Push post and composition to create bright, vivid, and sexy editorial shots.
Lightroom Culling (15:24)
With the photo shoot wrapped, move into the culling and retouching phase for gelled key and fill lighting. Using Lightroom, cull through a series of captures with photographer, Jake Hicks, to find the top images for retouching. Learn to assess the details with Jake, analyzing pose, color contouring, specularity and color balance to select the perfect images for retouching in Photoshop.
Lightroom Colors (36:25)
With the top selects chosen, use the power of Lightroom for processing RAW data. Explore some presets that photographer, Jake Hicks, has developed through years of experience in colored gel photography. Learn to build presets within the develop module to build your own library. Manipulate color with control, adjusting shadows, highlights, saturation, contrast, vibrance and a myriad of other controls. Adjust color from a global and targeted way, ultimately working to achieve a balanced exposure with rich data to be exported for editing in Photoshop.
Skin Retouch (14:01)
Begin retouching one of two hero images. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he targets his process of skin retouching to local blemishes and spots. Hear best practices when using Photoshop's patch tool for this kind of detailed work. Learn the importance of building a solid base with this time consuming but valuable step in the skin retouching process. With a three quarter length composition, retouch skin across the models body, protecting highlights, contouring, and specularity. Use the clone stamp tool to remove to remove distractions from the lighting setup.
Black & White Toning (6:16)
After the first pass of skin retouching with a targeted, localized approach - begin another broader pass at the skin with black and white toning. Using soft layers, soft light, multiply, curves, hue saturation, paint brush and masking, learn to paint masks that create balanced, even skin tone with smooth soft transitions. In contrast to dodge and burn, work to create a clean and evenly distributed under tone that transforms the base texture into soft, beautiful skin tone.
Skin Smoothing (12:01)
With each retouching pass, work to create powerful aesthetic and vibrance. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he methodically applies skin smoothing to the gelled key and fill image. Create a mathematical approach, employing gaussian blur, High Pass filtering, Linear Light blending, to create natural and realistic skin texture. Using the paint brush, create even texture, preserving the detail of skin pores and hairs, while eliminating distractions. Learn to also effectively apply the same approach to wardrobe wrinkles and creases.
Dodge & Burn (12:37)
In direct contrast to black and white skin toning, where the goal is to create a smooth and even under tone, learn an extremely nuanced approach to dodge and burn skin. Understand how to create shape, contour and dimension, by accentuating the highlights and shadows of the image. Focus on a key facial features with a multi-pass approach. Use Photoshop's tools to paint masks, blend and layer subtle nuanced detail that enhances the methodical and intentional lighting setup of production.
Darkening & Sharpening (10:36)
With the darkening and sharpening pass, apply a broader more global enhancement to the skin retouch. Create global contrast and a sharpening to the image using layering, high pass blending, and opacity adjustments. With each pass, move closer to finishing touches for the gelled key and fill look.
Color Toning (7:08)
For the final stage of retouching, push the image onto another level. After multiple passes that removed local blemishes and distractions, more global even skin tone, smooth but natural skin texture, dimension and depth, contrast and sharpening, finally apply the finishing layer of color toning. See the power of intentional color design coming full circle as you enhance, push, and project color into a beautiful, exotic grade. Complete the final steps of retouching the gelled key and fill hero image.
Image 2 Full Edit (1:00:22)
Move through an uninterrupted edit of the second gelled key and fill hero image. Use a layered and staged approach to retouch blemishes, create beautiful, glowing skin tone, natural skin texture for a dynamic and dimensional image. Create a powerful and vibrant image through enhancing the colors of a primary triadic color scheme. Complete the second hero image from the gelled key and fill hero image photo shoot.
Soft Look 1 (25:49)
Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he goes on location into a larger, more open environment. With a variety of tools and experience, learn to apply the colored gel lighting techniques in a new scenario. Move away from in studio shooting to a location environment, learning to use the environment as a character with the colored gel techniques.
Soft Look 2 (9:06)
Learn to adapt to the environment of a location shoot and follow your creative muse. After capturing multiple, wide shot exposures for beautiful on location gelled imagery, watch as photographer, Jake Hicks, improvises in the moment. Using pose, perspective, and gelled lighting, see Jake create an improvised, cameo composition.
Soft Look 3 (15:12)
Capture the third shot in the on location series. Manipulate Kelvin settings to turn day into night. Create a lighting setup that enhances existing lights within the scene and clear color separation for environmental character and mood. Utilize a full CTO gel, low ISO, and shallow depth of field to create a corner perspective. Iterate through a series of captures, enhancing pose while maintaining clean separation of gel colors, avoiding color contamination.
Image 1 Lightroom Culling (11:29)
Transition from the on location shoots to the retouching phase of on-location gelled photography. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he culls through a series of captures to select the first on location image. For this style of photography focus on developing color for the environment. With a different approach to gelling subject and background, listen Jake describes what he is looking for when selecting the best image from an on-location, colored gel shoot.
Image 1 Lightroom Colors (14:56)
With the hero image selected, use the power of Lightroom's development module to manipulate, balance, and optimize color to prepare the image for retouching in Photoshop. Using a variety of the development modules tools, balance color using the curves, luminance, and highlight controls, evaluating the effect on the models skin, the tone of the background environment and the overall flexibility and depth of color needed for editing in a multi-pass approach in Photoshop.
Image 1 Full Edit (45:54)
Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, through an uninterrupted edit for the first on location colored gel image. Work at a more accelerated pace, applying principles from the studio retouching modules of this tutorial. For the model, smooth skin, liquefy, apply black and white toning, dodging and burning, darkening and sharpening. Apply creative color unique to the environment. Apply fine and global sharpening and deliver a sleek, colorful and defined on-location colored gel image.
Image 2 Lightroom Culling (5:57)
For the second location shoot, listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, culls through his series of improvised portraits. Using the unique texture of the door for environment, see the results of subject and color as Jake, describes his intent through the series of captures.
Image 2 Lightroom Colors (14:04)
After selecting a second hero image from the on-location colored gel shoot, see the power of processing RAW in Lightroom. Watch as photographer, Jake Hicks, brings the portrait to life. For this image, focus on accentuating the eyes and eye makeup. Manipulate highlights and shadows Use curves to isolate specific color channels. Evaluate color manipulation in Lightroom with consideration of the latitude that will be needed to edit in Photoshop. Learn Jake's process of creating a well toned image, leveraging the intention of the lighting in production with the preparation of the image for retouching within Photoshop.
Image 2 Full Edit (31:11)
With color balance established in Lightroom, open the cameo portrait in Photoshop, to retouch the second on-location colored gel image. Work simply and quickly following the same procedural methods, to create fabulous skin tone and texture, with compelling environmental lighting.
Image 3 Lightroom Culling (9:19)
For the third and final image of this location series, develop an entirely different mood and tone for colored gel on-location shoot. In contrast to the warm pastels of the previous two images, cull through a series of darker, richer tones for an evening, nightclub look. See the results of shifting white balance in camera and through using a CTO gel. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, describes his thought process as he culls through this series of captures to find the one, ideal capture for color development in Lightroom and retouching in Photoshop.
Image 3 Lightroom Colors (14:20)
With a here shot selected, work on color, exposure, and contrast to prepare the image for retouching in Photoshop. With the white balance manipulations applied in camera and to the lighting setup during production, evaluate and adjust the results in the development module of Lightroom. Adjust highlights and shadows, hue, saturation, and luminance. Learn to evaluate color balance with photographer Jake Hicks as he methodically adjusts the range of information inside the RAW image.
Image 3 Full Edit (45:45)
Complete a full retouch of the third and final image from this location series. Before moving on to another location and different model, finish the retouching for this stairwell, nightclub look. Utilize the power of content aware, the magic wand tool, and the familiar procedural method of skin and environment retouching, to complete this series of images.
Dark Look Setup (12:06)
Transition to a new location with a new model, following photographer, Jake Hicks to create another series of unique, dark, and moody colored gel images. With the focus shifting from core principles to direct application, watch and observe as Jake iterates through his captures, working out the look as he creates it. Using deep reds, blues, black plastic and a modern, bright white sofa, learn to create with deep and vibrant colors, in a dark environment that absorbs all of the light. Continue to build on the foundation of layered lighting added in sequence. Enhance your ability to control color contamination, and intentional color separation for stunning compositions created in camera.
Dark Look 1 (17:19)
As Lighting, camera settings, and the environment are established, begin capturing the model, focusing on controlling a pool of light and the subsequent shadows, establishing a wide frame. Work through posing and perspective. Add a fan element for subtle lift on the model's hair. Iterate through captures quickly and confidently to create a simmering series of deep, vibrant colored gel images.
Dark Look 2 (11:20)
Create a powerful and seductive cameo image with the second setup in the dark look series. Use the blue gels as ambient lighting with a deep red contrast exploding onto the background. Develop pose with emphasis on the chin angled upwards. Alternate the subject between sitting and standing to perfect pose. Observe photographer, Jake Hicks, as he emphasize the model's physique and wardrobe in the context of the environment and story. Listen as Jake describes key characteristics of a shoot featuring nudity. From the absolute consent from the model, being professional with a closed set, and following the look of the shoot.
Dark Look 3 (9:03)
For the final image of the dark look series, transition to new set pieces, lighting, and wardrobe to create an entirely new look for the series. Change gels to pink and teal hues and establish a strong key light from a beauty dish modified with a grid. Focus on creating really clean separation with the gels, while establishing subtle contouring around the model's body. Experiment with wardrobe to get the perfect pose.
Image 1 Lightroom Culling (10:51)
Transition from production to post-production, to begin the process of selecting and retouching three hero images from the dark series captures. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, reflects on the challenges of shooting in an environment with no natural light. See the intention of his lighting setup and gel work as he culls through a series of captures from the first dark image. Learn to see what characteristics create the ideal exposure for retouching in Photoshop and finishing to create incredible imagery.
Image 1 Lightroom Colors (22:51)
After selecting the hero image, leverage the power of Lightroom's develop module for precise RAW color processing. Working through shadows, highlights, and discreet color channels, continue to develop your ability to really see color and its relationship to every detail within the image. Advance through Lightroom processing resulting in the widest latitude base exposure, ideal for highly detailed manipulation in Photoshop.
Image 1 Full Edit (38:28)
Move rapidly through a full image retouching process, using every skill established in the series. Work on skin retouching, black and white toning, skin smoothing, blending and controlling color banding with the power of Photoshop and the skill of your gained knowledge and experience. With practice across multiple captures, dodge and burn with ease. Darken and sharpen in the final stages knowing that you've preserved the fidelity of the image across the whole workflow. And finally, apply a rich, deep, and intentional color tone, creating a vibrant, dark, rich and sexy image that stands out from the crowd.
Image 2 Lightroom Culling (9:54)
Advancing to the second image in the dark series, listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, examines the results of this setup. Hear the intent of his lighting decisions and their impact on the final captures as he considers his placement of the lighting, model, and camera perspective. Cull through the exposures to find the perfect capture for retouching.
Image 2 Lightroom Colors (20:21)
After selecting a hero image, use Lightroom's RAW image processing to sort through color, white balance, and exposure to ensure you have the most information possible to bring into Photoshop. Copy and paste settings from the previous hero and contrast the results with different key lighting between the images. Use the develop module to balance this image, considering highlights, shadows, skin tone, luminance, saturation, perfecting your ability to see color.
Image 2 Full Edit (1:06:05)
Transition from Lightroom into Photoshop for a full retouching session. Examine the challenges of the lighting setup for this shot and the constraints of the environment. Learn to examine what isn't working in this lighting setup and how to correctively retouch the distractions. Use this scenario to address problematic lighting, what happened in production, and how to still create a stunning image. Using liquefy, skin retouching, black and white toning, smoothing, dodge and burn, darkening and sharpening, and color toning, create a beautiful cameo portrait.
Image 3 Lightroom Culling (6:29)
Photographer, Jake Hicks, explores the captures of the final shot from the dark series. Using the library features of Lightroom, cull through Jake's exposures to find the hero image. Examine the results of shooting a bar scene, in a location with no natural light. Listen to Jake's assessment of his images, as he reflects on the setup, the choice in gels and pose and the constraints in shooting with limited time as production neared the end of the shoot day.
Image 3 Lightroom Colors (17:50)
With the final image selected, apply your gained knowledge and experience with ease, leveraging the power of Lightroom's develop module. See color from its initial intention, carried through to the RAW image capture result. Evaluate RAW imagery with confidence, adjusting, pushing, pulling to create a finely tuned balance. Explore the latitude of RAW and know its limits to create a robust and malleable file for retouching in Photoshop.
Image 3 Full Edit (1:03:40)
Congratulations! Thank you for working through this course on colored gel photography. We believe that with this knowledge and experience, you will be able to enter the styling and approach of colored gel photography, with everything needed to be successful. We echo the sentiment of our friend, photographer, and all around cool guy, Jake Hicks. Get out there and do this! In this final image, take everything you have learned and apply it. And then go, plan, shoot, experience, fail, repeat, succeed and make stunning colored gel images. We can't wait to see what you make!
Jake Hicks Biography (8:30)
Get a behind the scenes look at photographer, Jake Hicks. Hear about his introduction to photography, education, practice, and development as a professional. Listen to his approach and ongoing pursuit of knowledge, his success, and facing real career ups and downs. Gain inspiration and insight as Jake shares what ultimately inspires him as an artist.
See what other people have to say about their learning experience.