The Red Hallway Trick: Using a Colored Gel to Spice Up Your Background

Here’s a short and sweet video in which photographer/entrepreneur Gary Fong shares his “red hallway” trick for turning a drab background into something colorful. The basic idea is to trick your camera into thinking the world is a certain color by doing custom white balancing with a colored gel in front of the lens. Once you have the WB set, use the gel over your flash to color balance your subject while the background is transformed.

  • Samcornwell

    Hi, my name is Gary Fong and I don’t shoot in RAW.

  • Dean W. Thompson

    How do we know if it’s recording?

  • Samcornwell

    OK, I take that back. I got to the end, not expecting much and was pretty impressed. :-)

  • Zta

    I was about to say something negative in the lines of “Try a microphone!”, but then watched the video to the end and realized how damn awesome this trick is =)

  • Spider- Man

    LOL does his tupperware make you jealous! ;) I lol when I see these things

  • Alessandro Aimonetto

    the question is….WHY???


    great piece of info. definitly gonna try it

  • tonyhart

    It’s a clever trick for sure. However, the on camera flash makes for really dull/flat lighting that makes he look like she’s been photoshopped in.

  • Persio Pucci

    Really fun, not much of a point other than specific shooting scenarios, but really fun indeed. I guess this is the difference of knowing what is going on and pushing a button. I just push buttons :/

  • Mansgame

    It’s always funny to see people use his Tupperware outside. Or inside.

  • wickerprints

    I’ve always wondered about the effect of white balance on noise. Since white balance is just an instruction that specifies how to transform the raw image data (i.e., WB does not change the intrinsic sensor response), wouldn’t such a technique create significantly more noise in the region of the spectrum that is being filtered by the gel?

    For example, in the video, Gary uses a cyan/blue gel, which filters out red light. Putting it over the lens and setting the WB to compensate, causes the camera to increase the red response relative to blue/green. Then moving the gel to the flash causes the subject to be over-illuminated with blue, at which point I would expect there to be more noise in the red channel for the subject, since the sensor now has to “work harder” to detect red light.

    A similar phenomenon happens when I take photos in tungsten or sodium-vapor street light–because it is so yellow, when I apply color balancing, the result tends to have more noise in the blue channel. The sensor always records the same pixel data regardless of the WB setting.

  • Ferry Hage

    Wouw, great tip.
    Question….. is this Custom WB setting or locking or fixing , what ever it is called possible on a nikon camera? If so, from what type?

    BR Ferry

  • name

    YouTube, the place where people show their good idea, thinking that no one have done this before…