Coloring a rock star portrait

Rock star, guitarist, singer, and photographer Ken Susi of the band, “Unearth,” dropped by the Photographic Test Kitchen, for a portrait session. Our goal is how to create a different look by using colors.

Creating the first image

In the first image, I used 2 Dynalite Baja B6 strobes, one on either side and slightly behind Ken, giving him the light on his face. Both strobes had a Dynalite 20 degree, 7” grid. The ends of both of the grids were wrapped in Rosco Cinefoil, black tin foil, that controls how the light is spread. On the left side, I used a Rosco Medium Straw gel from the Rosco Location Lighting Kit by Rick Friedman, and on the right side, I used a Rosco Calcolor 30 Cyan.

Directly behind Ken’s head is a Nissin Di700A speedlight with a Rogue grid and a red gel. Directly in front of Ken is a second Nissin Di700A speedlight with a Rogue Grid. The power of this Nissin was turned down, giving a minimal amount of white light. To fire the strobes, I used a Dynalite transmitter. The Nissin flashes were triggered by using the built-in optical slave.

ISO 64, f16, 1/250

Nikon D810 Shot with 70-200mm Nikon Lens with a 1.4 teleconverter, Shot at 230 mm 

Rock star image #2

The second image is lit from below Ken with one Dynalite Baja 6 with the 20º, 7” grid and wrapped in Cinefoil. The strobe is centered just below the bottom of the frame. The red backlight is the Nissin Di700A with the Rogue Grid and the red gel. To prevent the light from bouncing off the white ceiling in the studio, we placed a black foam core on a Photoflex boom arm over Ken.

rock star color portrait

ISO 64 F13 & 1/250

Nikon D810 Shot with 70-200 Nikon Lens with a 1.4 teleconverter, Shot at 260 mm

rock star lighting

Controlling the colored light

When working with color gels, you want to control exactly where your light is hitting your subject. If white light hits your colors, it will blow your colors away!

It is very important to control the direction of each light when using colors in your photography. Grids and Cinefoil are the best solutions for controlling the shape of your light.

Cinefoil is included in “Rosco Location Lighting Kit By Rick Friedman” along with many color gels. Also included in the kit, is a sheet of Tough Spun, a diffusion material, used for light softening. I designed this kit to contain all of the gels I use on location.