Nikon Learn & Explore

Adding a Gel to the Background Flash for Effect

Behind the scenes at portrait lighting workshops with Speedlight flash master David X. Tejada

David Tejada photo of a female model with an orange and blue mottled background

© David Tejada

D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II, 1/250 second, f/2, ISO 400, manual exposure.

The Portrait Workshop Series

If you're visiting for the first time, we're presenting here a dozen photos taken at portrait photography workshops by the noted commercial photographer and Nikon Creative Lighting System expert David X. Tejada.

To get the most from his tips, techniques and comments, be sure to take a few moments to check out our notes on flash, metering and the CLS before viewing the photos.

Back to Front

In this photo, made during an NPS (Nikon Professional Services) workshop, the main light is an SB-900 in an 8x12 softbox (David's is a European model; there are several sold in kits in the U.S.). The light from the softbox is bounced up from the Softsilver surface of a 30-inch Lastolite TriGrip reflector.    

There's also a second light in play here. Positioned by the model's right knee is an SB-900 fitted with a blue gel. Firing it into the silver fabric behind her gives the background the circles of blue and silver color you see in the final shot; the amber tones are picked up from the wall sconce lights.

While your eye is undoubtedly drawn to the model's face, a very cool background plays an important part in a compelling portrait that owes its impact to lighting.

David Tejada set up photo of a female model with a reflector and background visible

© David Tejada