Day for Night with LEE Filters CTO 204

Would you buy a used car from this man? You may recognise my good friend Jamie Bannerman, I've been shooting his head shots for Spotlight etc since around 2001 - he's also the bloke in the image at the top of this blog.

This image was created outside of our Burgess Hill studio to demonstrate the simplicity of using a colour correction gel to create a blue background night-time effect, aka day-for-night.

The set-up BTS (Behind The Scenes) frame, colour corrected in post.

The studio I work from is based in a busy industrial area/business park south of London Gatwick Airport and north of Brighton & Hove, so shooting outside presents numerous challenges as seen from the BTS frame.

Uncorrected file showing the effect of the LEE Filters CTO 204 gel.

Kit List & Camera Settings

  • Camera: Canon 5D MkII
  • Light Source: Canon 580 EX II Speedlite
  • Light Modifier: 86" (7ft) satin silver reflective umbrella, similar to 
  • Lighting Filter: LEE Filters 204 CTO Full (100%) Colour Temperature Orange - CC Colour Conversion Filter for daylight (6500K) to tungsten light (3200K) "daylight" varies according to the source. Here's an insight from Lowel.
  • Gel Holder: The Original Gel Clip
  • White Balance: Daylight, which on my Canon 5DII seems to be 4850K, I tend to dial in 5300K as a starting point!
  • File Format: RAW & JPEG
  • Shutter Speed: 1/1000th sec
  • Aperture: ƒ/2.2
  • ISO: 320

The same RAW file as above with White Balance adjusted in RAW convertor to 3200K

Post Production Processing
The frame above has been processed in a RAW file convertor, intros case Adobe Camera RAW (ACR). The WB White Balance has been adjusted to 3200K which introduces blue into the frame to neutralise the overall orange colour cast. The introduction of the blue colour neutralises the orange colour on Jamie's face and any light not created by the CTIO flash is rendered blue.

The grey card in the image is used to sample the colour for correction. I prefer grey (gray) as it's less susceptible to exposure errors than white which can blow-out/over exposure and not enable an accurate WB correction, even with a RAW file.

One of the final images

The final images were dodged and burned using Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop™ to add depth to the blue and draw attention to Jamie's face - cool colours tend to recede and warm colours will enhance similar, i.e. skin tones, flatter & focus attention.


That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.


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