What does a photographer do on a quiet Saturday night? Testing coloured gels portrait lighting setup on my favourite model, Helen, in our living room. Helen is a hairdressers mannequin we bought to stand in for John when he got tired of his onerous modelling duties (you know the kind, “Please-please-please, just stand over there for ten minutes, I’ll test this lens for sharpness in back light”…)
Since the last summer Helen has become a silent yet willing participant in various ad hoc lighting experiments. These became more frequent when I fell in love with the fabulous Rossella Vanon’s Lighting People book, a reference guide to artificial/creative lighting techniques.
There was a surge of interest in gelled portrait and fashion photography in 2016 and tons of workshops mushroomed on the web.
Here I was, also keen on spicing up my lighting skills for more dramatic, theatrical headshot images. Two gridded Speedlights had thick gels gaffer-taped to them. I own a Strobist-branded set of gels but find them too thin and fiddly, so I definitely prefer to use the normal gel sheets for video and studio strobes.
John came by on his way to the kitchen and briefly joined Helen and I. Ha-ha, no escape from modelling!