Colored Gel Photography With Jake Hicks

Colored Gel Photography With Jake Hicks

Color has never been more important to the story of an image. Famed UK photographer, Jake Hicks walks you through his signature style using color gels to create vibrant and life-filled images that grab a hold of every viewer. Jake takes you from understanding the basics of bringing color to your subjects to creating complex color schematics with a dynamic impact.

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Colored Gel Photography With Jake Hicks

84 Videos

  • Meet Jake Hicks

    Join photographer, Jake Hicks, in the complete guide to creating Colored Gel Portraits. Listen as Jake discusses his philosophy as a creative artist and his belief in the importance of differentiating yourself. Receive a course overview, highlighting the four key looks that will be covered - Gell...

  • The Fundamentals of Colored Gel Photography

    Begin with learning an overview of the six fundamentals of shooting with gels. Learn the impact exposure has on the hue of a gel color. Apply best practices to control unwanted color contamination when using multiple gels. Explore how to effectively utilize both soft and hard light modifiers. Und...

  • Introducing the Look

    Before jumping straight into the first setup, learn about the elements that go into creating the look of colored gel photography. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, describes the importance of white lighting techniques to establish a firm lighting foundation, building towards colored gels. Learn...

  • Key Light

    Begin the step by step setup of lighting for colored gel photography. Work in studio to focus on the key light's position, angle, subsequent shadows and their symmetry. Learn about the benefits of using a beauty dish, right angle bracket, and the importance of subjective vs. objective lighting. C...

  • Camera Settings

    With the key light properly placed, dial in the optimum camera settings. Adopt a fixed approach for shutter and ISO leveraging the power of studio lighting to make exposure adjustments. Establish the depth of field, refining focus to an aperture setting that will only vary for creative taste. See...

  • Fill Light

    With the key light established, proceed to adding the second light in the setup - the fill light. Utilize the 60 x 60 Broncolor softbox and floor stand to establish the proper fill for maintaining lighting symmetry and shadow control. Contrast reflectors versus using additional strobe lighting. L...

  • Adding Hairlights

    Continue the step by step setup for lighting the set. With key and fill lights established and positioned as the objective lighting of the shot, begin to build dimension, specularity, and separation from the background with the addition of hair lighting. Watch and learn as photographer, Jake Hick...

  • Introducing Color

    After completing a solid lighting foundation for the set, begin the process of introducing color. Think about color in relationship to the background of the set, the styling and wardrobe of the model, and the gels that are placed on each light. Apply color theory to the process of lighting a colo...

  • Lenses

    Explore lens options, with photographer, Jake Hicks, for creating specific on set results. Watch as he utilizes the 50mm Lensbaby Composer Pro, to create a practical radial blur. Iterate through a series of captures to achieve the ideal focus point and creative exposure. With lighting, gels, and ...

  • Skin Retouch

    Upon completing production for the first look - the gelled flare - begin the retouching process in Photoshop, with photographer Jake Hicks. For this example, work to understand a portrait retouching approach, adding more complex editorial examples as the training series progress. In this section,...

  • Black and White Toning

    With the primary distractions eliminated with the Patch Tool, apply another process to refine and enhance the subject's skin. Use a layered approach with soft light blending, hue saturation, and a variety of other tools within Photoshop to remove splotches and uneven skin tone. Leverage the flexi...

  • Skin Smoothing

    Having applied a variety of methods to retouch and tone skin, begin to focus on blending the layered approach for a natural, cohesive look. With blurring, high and low pass separation, linear light blending and masking, manually apply a skin smoothing method for an incredible result for a natural...

  • Dodge and Burn

    After applying Frequency Separation in a methodical and intelligent way, move straight into Dodging and Burning. In this pass of retouching the portrait, focus on a global approach. Utilize curves, adjustment layering, masks, and the paint brush to create extra depth and dimension to the image.

  • Sharpening

    Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he moves through a layered and intentional methodology to retouching the Gelled Flare image. Having started with targeted areas of the images, continue to work with a more global approach, refining skin, creating dimension, and focusing on color through the ret...

  • Global Highlights

    Learn to evaluate highlights in the image, separating them from the main exposure, and reducing the oily effect they can have on skin tone. Target troublesome areas like the forehead and cheekbones on a subject, while maintaining the definition and beauty of the skin pores from the Frequency Sepa...

  • Color Toning

    With the final step of color toning, work with photographer, Jake Hicks, to create the finishing touches that define the image. Utilize curves adjustments, separating the red, green, and blue color channels for precise control and manipulation of the image grade. Gain control over the subtle hues...

  • Introducing the Look

    Move into a whole new look, the Gelled Beauty. Go back to the the studio and listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, breaks down the elements of what goes into making the Gelled Beauty look. In this composition, hear about the importance of makeup, monochromatic color, creating skin texture, the usag...

  • Key Light

    In the Gelled Beauty setup, change from a black to white background. Begin the layered, step by step build up process for lighting the set. Begin setup with the key light, focusing on position, angle, distance from the model, paying attention to the subject's eyes and jaw line. Evaluate the dista...

  • Fill Light

    In the second step of lighting a Gelled Beauty portrait, add a silver umbrella to create specular highlights and contrast. Leverage the ease of use on an umbrella with a gel, compared to a softbox, creating soft light. Understand the position of lighting in relationship to the model and other lig...

  • Adding Control

    With exposure from the Key and Fill light dialed in, apply additional control in shaping the lighting setup by using black and white v-flats. Shape the lighting around the model and observe as photographer, Jake Hicks, explains his methodology for controlling light within your shooting environment.

  • Extra Fill Light

    Add one final light to the setup, with additional modifiers to create soft, diffused lighting. Hear photographer, Jake Hicks, approach to shooting a flatter image in camera, retaining as much information at capture for manipulation in post. With practical lighting methods, avoid unwanted color ba...

  • Posing

    With lighting, gels, and modifiers locked in, capture a series of poses to create stunning gelled beauty images. Create a tight composition with an emphasis on hand and shoulder placement, refining focus and dimension. Work with extremely shallow depth of field, creating vividly sharp focus on th...

  • Lightroom Culling

    Enter the retouching phase for gelled beauty with photographer, Jake Hicks. Using Lightroom, cull through a series of gelled beauty images to select the top favorites. Listen as Jake, describes his approach in selecting the kind of images that will ultimately go through his rigorous editing proce...

  • Lightroom Colors

    After culling the top images, leverage the power of RAW image processing using Lightroom's toolset. Hear photographer Jake Hicks, philosophy on processing RAW with Lightroom, prior to editing your images in Photoshop. Using highlights, tone curves, clarity along with other adjustments, create a b...

  • Skin Retouch

    Begin the retouching process for gelled beauty using Photoshop. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, through a layered, multi-pass retouching process to create a beautiful, stand out image. Listen as Jake discusses his philosophy on how to improve your portfolio, where to invest your finances to impr...

  • Black and White Toning

    In contrast to dodging and burning, focus on balancing skin tone using a method of black and white toning. Using this step in the multilayered approach towards skin retouching, follow photographer, Jake Hicks, in creating a commercial look by eliminating splotches and patchiness. Using soft light...

  • Skin Smoothing

    Leverage the power of skin smoothing to create an incredibly soft, natural skin texture. Follow photographer Jake Hicks, as he uses a methodical, mathematic and balanced approach in another pass of skin retouching. With the goal of creating a high end commercial look for the gelled beauty image, ...

  • Dodge and Burn

    With each pass for retouching, tone and smoothing skin complete - focus on a more global approach for the gelled beauty image. Switch to creating depth and dimension using dodge and burn. Use curves adjustment layers and the paint brush tool to accentuate facial features, lightening and darkening...

  • Darkening and Sharpening

    Move the edit forward into the final stages of the retouching process - focusing on sharpening the exposure. With each pass in the process expand from a targeted to more global, all encompassing approach. Push the detail of RAW combined with production lighting and Lightroom processing, to provid...

  • Highlights and Colors

    With global sharpening applied, focus on the final pieces of the retouching process. Feather the highlights for a subtle roll off in specularity, reducing the often oily appearance of skin tone, without losing the dimension. Take a multi channeled approach to color toning. Learn when to process c...

  • Image 2 Full Edit

    Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, through an uninterrupted retouching session, on another image from the gelled beauty series. Learn how to expedite your workflow in a series image, by re-using some of your work from the first image across subsequent images.

  • Introducing the Look

    Transition to the third style of image in the color gel series - the gelled edge. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, breaks down the keys to creating this style. Focus on complementary colors, showing shape and form with contrast using color. Progress in your understanding of color theory, with ...

  • Edge Light

    In this setup for the gelled edge, begin with placement of edge lighting before the key light. Listen as photographer Jake Hicks, describes his philosophy behind using a black backdrop, wet skin tone on the model, lighting position and the role reversal of the edge and key lights. Learn how to co...

  • Adding Key Lights

    After establishing clean, gelled edge lighting, setup the third and final light for this setup - the key light. With a complimentary gel, setup the key light, leveraging the advantage of a right angle knuckle bracket for unobscured shooting. Iterate through a series of shots, to examine the reaso...

  • Posing

    After working through the lighting setup for creating the gelled edge, focus on posing for this style. With a wardrobe change, learn how posing the model's body, makeup, and wardrobes pieces can accentuate the power of gelled edge lighting.

  • Lightroom Culling

    With some favorites selected, hear photographer Jake Hicks, approach in selecting the best images from a series in the gelled edge style. With a three quarter length shot, examine what Jake is looking for in the model's pose in relationship to the lights. Look for dimensional, contoured images, w...

  • Lightroom Colors

    Transition from the library to development module in Lightroom to hone the color processing. With artificial colors defining skin tone in the gelled style, learn to manipulate color with freedom. Watch photographer, Jake Hicks, manipulate white balance, exposure, curves, hue saturation and lumina...

  • Skin Retouch

    Begin the retouching process for the gelled edge hero. For this image, begin with compositing two exposures to eliminate a camera stand. After creating a clean composite, move forward with a solid base image to eliminate targeted skin and clothing distractions. With a wider shot composition, focu...

  • Black and White Toning

    Work in black and white to create even skin toning across all of the model's body. Leverage Photoshop's curves layers, multiply and soft light blending modes, to paint beautiful, soft transitions. Perhaps the most challenging step in the retouching process, follow photographer, Jake Hicks, and le...

  • Skin Smoothing

    Focus on balancing skin texture in this step of the retouching process. Using Photoshop's gaussian blur, linear light blend mode, high pass filtering, paint brush and masking, learn to create smooth and soft skin, while retaining natural pore and hair details. Adjust opacity to create subtlety, m...

  • Dodge and Burn

    With skin retouching complete, focus on adding dimension and interest to the gelled edge hero shot. Work on evaluating highlights and shadows, learning what areas to accentuate and what areas to minimize. Use Photoshop's curves layers, paint brush, masking and opacity adjustments to blend believa...

  • Sharpening

    In the final touches, begin with sharpening the gelled edge hero shot. Separate tone sharpening from detailed sharpening. Learn how to sharpen the details without affecting the saturation of color in the image. with different layers of sharpening, leverage the power of Photoshop's layer-based edi...

  • Color Toning

    At the final stage of retouching for the gelled edge image - focus on color toning. With a lot emphasis and manipulation put on color during the RAW Lightroom processing, learn to bring everything into balance with this final pass of the image. See how the clean lighting, areas of tone, and secti...

  • Introducing the Look

    Advance to the most complex look yet - the gelled key and fill. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, describes the fundamentals of achieving this look. Using 3 distinct gels for this setup, approach the background, key and fill with clear separation, avoiding color contamination. Use a triadic col...

  • Background

    In this lighting setup, begin with using a gelled light setup on the background. Observer photographer, Jake Hicks, as he describes a sequenced methodology to his lighting setup, to eliminate color contamination in a gelled environment. Iterate through a series of text exposures to avoid unwanted...

  • Key Light

    With the background lighting set, add the model and key light to continue building the gelled key and fill setup. Test through a series of exposures examining what a key light (without a gel) does to the model and environment. Observe as photographer, Jake Hicks, captures a variety of exposures, ...

  • Fill Light

    Building step by step, add the third and final light to the gelled key and fill look. In this scenario, the background, key, and fill light are all colored gel lights. With the addition of the fill, work to mirror the lighting of the key, using a small silver umbrella. Learn to balance the fill l...

  • Wardrobe Change I

    With multiple images captured, transition to a new wardrobe and work to hone pose and story within the color gel key and fill lighting setup. Watch as photographer, Jake Hicks, teaches how to troubleshoot unwanted halos appearing around the model. Continue to iterate through multiple captures cre...

  • Wardrobe Change II

    In this section, work with an entirely new wardrobe and gels to create a whole new key and fill look. Use a new triadic color scheme with three primary colors. Continue to apply all of the principles and practice gained through the method of colored gel photography. Push post and composition to c...

  • Lightroom Culling

    With the photo shoot wrapped, move into the culling and retouching phase for gelled key and fill lighting. Using Lightroom, cull through a series of captures with photographer, Jake Hicks, to find the top images for retouching. Learn to assess the details with Jake, analyzing pose, color contouri...

  • Lightroom Colors

    With the top selects chosen, use the power of Lightroom for processing RAW data. Explore some presets that photographer, Jake Hicks, has developed through years of experience in colored gel photography. Learn to build presets within the develop module to build your own library. Manipulate color w...

  • Skin Retouch

    Begin retouching one of two hero images. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he targets his process of skin retouching to local blemishes and spots. Hear best practices when using Photoshop's patch tool for this kind of detailed work. Learn the importance of building a solid base with this time c...

  • Black and White Toning

    After the first pass of skin retouching with a targeted, localized approach - begin another broader pass at the skin with black and white toning. Using soft layers, soft light, multiply, curves, hue saturation, paint brush and masking, learn to paint masks that create balanced, even skin tone wit...

  • Skin Smoothing

    With each retouching pass, work to create powerful aesthetic and vibrance. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he methodically applies skin smoothing to the gelled key and fill image. Create a mathematical approach, employing gaussian blur, High Pass filtering, Linear Light blending, to create na...

  • Dodge and Burn

    In direct contrast to black and white skin toning, where the goal is to create a smooth and even under tone, learn an extremely nuanced approach to dodge and burn skin. Understand how to create shape, contour and dimension, by accentuating the highlights and shadows of the image. Focus on a key f...

  • Darkening and Sharpening

    With the darkening and sharpening pass, apply a broader more global enhancement to the skin retouch. Create global contrast and a sharpening to the image using layering, high pass blending, and opacity adjustments. With each pass, move closer to finishing touches for the gelled key and fill look.

  • Color Toning

    For the final stage of retouching, push the image onto another level. After multiple passes that removed local blemishes and distractions, more global even skin tone, smooth but natural skin texture, dimension and depth, contrast and sharpening, finally apply the finishing layer of color toning. ...

  • Image 2 Full Edit

    Move through an uninterrupted edit of the second gelled key and fill hero image. Use a layered and staged approach to retouch blemishes, create beautiful, glowing skin tone, natural skin texture for a dynamic and dimensional image. Create a powerful and vibrant image through enhancing the colors ...

  • Soft Look 1

    Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he goes on location into a larger, more open environment. With a variety of tools and experience, learn to apply the colored gel lighting techniques in a new scenario. Move away from in studio shooting to a location environment, learning to use the environment ...

  • Soft Look 2

    Learn to adapt to the environment of a location shoot and follow your creative muse. After capturing multiple, wide shot exposures for beautiful on location gelled imagery, watch as photographer, Jake Hicks, improvises in the moment. Using pose, perspective, and gelled lighting, see Jake create a...

  • Soft Look 3

    Capture the third shot in the on location series. Manipulate Kelvin settings to turn day into night. Create a lighting setup that enhances existing lights within the scene and clear color separation for environmental character and mood. Utilize a full CTO gel, low ISO, and shallow depth of field ...

  • Image 1 Lightroom Culling

    Transition from the on location shoots to the retouching phase of on-location gelled photography. Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, as he culls through a series of captures to select the first on location image. For this style of photography focus on developing color for the environment. With a di...

  • Image 1 Lightroom Colors

    With the hero image selected, use the power of Lightroom's development module to manipulate, balance, and optimize color to prepare the image for retouching in Photoshop. Using a variety of the development modules tools, balance color using the curves, luminance, and highlight controls, evaluatin...

  • Image 1 Full Edit

    Follow photographer, Jake Hicks, through an uninterrupted edit for the first on location colored gel image. Work at a more accelerated pace, applying principles from the studio retouching modules of this tutorial. For the model, smooth skin, liquefy, apply black and white toning, dodging and burn...

  • Image 2 Lightroom Culling

    For the second location shoot, listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, culls through his series of improvised portraits. Using the unique texture of the door for environment, see the results of subject and color as Jake, describes his intent through the series of captures.

  • Image 2 Lightroom Colors

    After selecting a second hero image from the on-location colored gel shoot, see the power of processing RAW in Lightroom. Watch as photographer, Jake Hicks, brings the portrait to life. For this image, focus on accentuating the eyes and eye makeup. Manipulate highlights and shadows Use curves to ...

  • Image 2 Full Edit

    With color balance established in Lightroom, open the cameo portrait in Photoshop, to retouch the second on-location colored gel image. Work simply and quickly following the same procedural methods, to create fabulous skin tone and texture, with compelling environmental lighting.

  • Image 3 Lightroom Culling

    For the third and final image of this location series, develop an entirely different mood and tone for colored gel on-location shoot. In contrast to the warm pastels of the previous two images, cull through a series of darker, richer tones for an evening, nightclub look. See the results of shifti...

  • Image 3 Lightroom Colors

    With a hero shot selected, work on color, exposure, and contrast to prepare the image for retouching in Photoshop. With the white balance manipulations applied in camera and to the lighting setup during production, evaluate and adjust the results in the development module of Lightroom. Adjust hig...

  • Image 3 Full Edit

    Complete a full retouch of the third and final image from this location series. Before moving on to another location and different model, finish the retouching for this stairwell, nightclub look. Utilize the power of content aware, the magic wand tool, and the familiar procedural method of skin a...

  • Dark Look Setup

    Transition to a new location with a new model, following photographer, Jake Hicks to create another series of unique, dark, and moody colored gel images. With the focus shifting from core principles to direct application, watch and observe as Jake iterates through his captures, working out the lo...

  • Dark Look 1

    As Lighting, camera settings, and the environment are established, begin capturing the model, focusing on controlling a pool of light and the subsequent shadows, establishing a wide frame. Work through posing and perspective. Add a fan element for subtle lift on the model's hair. Iterate through ...

  • Dark Look 2

    Create a powerful and seductive cameo image with the second setup in the dark look series. Use the blue gels as ambient lighting with a deep red contrast exploding onto the background. Develop pose with emphasis on the chin angled upwards. Alternate the subject between sitting and standing to per...

  • Dark Look 3

    For the final image of the dark look series, transition to new set pieces, lighting, and wardrobe to create an entirely new look for the series. Change gels to pink and teal hues and establish a strong key light from a beauty dish modified with a grid. Focus on creating really clean separation wi...

  • Image 1 Lightroom Culling

    Transition from production to post-production, to begin the process of selecting and retouching three hero images from the dark series captures. Listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, reflects on the challenges of shooting in an environment with no natural light. See the intention of his lighting se...

  • Image 1 Lightroom Colors

    After selecting the hero image, leverage the power of Lightroom's develop module for precise RAW color processing. Working through shadows, highlights, and discreet color channels, continue to develop your ability to really see color and its relationship to every detail within the image. Advance ...

  • Image 1 Full Edit

    Move rapidly through a full image retouching process, using every skill established in the series. Work on skin retouching, black and white toning, skin smoothing, blending and controlling color banding with the power of Photoshop and the skill of your gained knowledge and experience. With practi...

  • Image 2 Lightroom Culling

    Advancing to the second image in the dark series, listen as photographer, Jake Hicks, examines the results of this setup. Hear the intent of his lighting decisions and their impact on the final captures as he considers his placement of the lighting, model, and camera perspective. Cull through the...

  • Image 2 Lightroom Colours

    After selecting a hero image, use Lightroom's RAW image processing to sort through color, white balance, and exposure to ensure you have the most information possible to bring into Photoshop. Copy and paste settings from the previous hero and contrast the results with different key lighting betwe...

  • Image 2 Full Edit

    Transition from Lightroom into Photoshop for a full retouching session. Examine the challenges of the lighting setup for this shot and the constraints of the environment. Learn to examine what isn't working in this lighting setup and how to correctively retouch the distractions. Use this scenario...

  • Image 3 Lightroom Culling

    Photographer, Jake Hicks, explores the captures of the final shot from the dark series. Using the library features of Lightroom, cull through Jake's exposures to find the hero image. Examine the results of shooting a bar scene, in a location with no natural light. Listen to Jake's assessment of h...

  • Image 3 Lightroom Colors

    With the final image selected, apply your gained knowledge and experience with ease, leveraging the power of Lightroom's develop module. See color from its initial intention, carried through to the RAW image capture result. Evaluate RAW imagery with confidence, adjusting, pushing, pulling to crea...

  • Image 3 Full Edit

    Congratulations! Thank you for working through this course on colored gel photography. We believe that with this knowledge and experience, you will be able to enter the styling and approach of colored gel photography, with everything needed to be successful. We echo the sentiment of our friend, p...

  • Jake Hicks Biography

    Get a behind the scenes look at photographer, Jake Hicks. Hear about his introduction to photography, education, practice, and development as a professional. Listen to his approach and ongoing pursuit of knowledge, his success, and facing real career ups and downs. Gain inspiration and insight as...

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