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How to Get an Intense Color Backdrop with a White Wall Using a Gelled Flash


In this 9-minute tutorial from photography Andrew Boey of Beyond Photography, learn how to use a white wall to create any color backdrop you want by using just a speedlight and a colored gel.

First, expose for your background and make it pitch black in the camera. That means a low ISO, small aperture, and as fast a sync speed as possible.

Then, add a colored gel to your flash. Position this behind your model and point it at the white wall behind.

Stick the flash on full power and you’ll flood the backdrop in an intensely colored light. Straight out of the camera, it’ll look like this:

To create the rim light on the model, Boey has positioned another gelled light pointing at her from the side.

He then uses a reverse umbrella flash to light her, calculating the power using a handy cheatsheet which he shares in the video.

Lastly, Boey wanted to light the gun properly. To do this he uses the “Light Source Tracing” technique – something great for reflective surfaces. This means using a piece of card that is white on one side and black on the other. Moving it around, with the black side facing the gun, he lines it up so that it casts a shadow on the gun from the camera’s point of view. Then he flips it around and fixes the card in place.

With another flash pointing at this card, the shot is ready to be taken. After a bit of processing to up the vibrancy, the shot is complete.

Check out the full video above to see exactly how Boey does this. You can also find more of Boey’s videos by subscribing to his channel on YouTube.