#08: Color, color, color

Nikon D800, 85mm f1.8 @f9, ISO 100, 1/200s


  • 3x Striplights with orange color foil on 500Ws monoblocks
  • 1x 150cm octabox with cyan color foil with 1000Ws monoblock
  • 1x normal reflector with orange colored foil with a 500Ws monoblock
  • 1x hand-painted Gravity background


Granted, this setup is complex and leaves little scope for the model – but it is pretty grand at the same time.

The main light is a 150cm octabox with a cyan color foil hanging from the ceiling in front of the model. The light is being feathered (See Setup # 2).

From the left and right, two striplights create a symmetrical light edge and the whole scene is lightened from the front / bottom with a third striplight, which also had an orange gel.

Behind the model is a normal reflector, which gives the background a vignetted effect.

The background is a hand-painted backdrop by Gravity. These backgrounds fill the scene completely. Think of them as paintings; no painter would ignore large areas of a canvas. Their presence brings a great deal to the composition.

The camera position was not easy, because you are using very fast softboxes. The mix of focal length and distance, as well as position, is a bit tricky.

The individual light sources

Main light

The octabox is directed perpendicular to the ground in front of the model. The shadows are important here. We absolutely need shadows in the picture as they are going to carry the highly saturated color.

Side lights

The same applies to the lights from the side. Two striplights form a clean edge of light, filling the shadows of the main light.

Main light + side lights

Used in combination, two colors—cyan and orange—result in high color saturation. If you were to mix the the two colors, you would produce a reddish white rather than the intense orange/blue tones.

Light from below

The legs lost a bit of color, so to compensate for that we used a discreet softbox. It lightens up the remaining shadows and produces an orange tone.

Main light + ground light:

The ground light and main light together produce distinct colours but nothing is too bright to reduce the shadows.


The light for the background was hidden behind the model. This is a bit tricky, because a slight sideways movement from the model will immediately reveal the equipment. As I said, the model doesn’t have much room for manoeuvre.


For the pictures in the article we used the light simulation “Set.A.Light 3D”. You can download the lighting setup and try everything for yourself.

If you’ve never worked with Set.a.Light before, you should give it a try!

There is also a free demo version on the website, which you can use to open our set.

all setups

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