How to use cosmetic gel in beauty portrait

September 2, 2014   8349 views

You know, you need sometimes to add rim light to bring the volume to the picture and to emphasize the shape of model’s face. And you know that even using the same lighting modifier as the key light has, you get more pale, more cold, more gray light. If compare it to the key light. And you know that it crushes lighting integrity, shows artificiality of your picture.

Why this happens?

This is because the model’s skin works as a reflecting surface and we get some portion of light just bouncing from this surface. Like from the mirror or from lighting reflector. It doesn’t have color of the skin, just neutral gray light. Comparing to the key light it seems more pale and cold. But it is more truthful to say “more neutral”.

Look at the picture. I deliberately chose such radical lighting setup: only 3 lighting units with standard reflectors. That’s it. One reflector as a key light, placed slightly right and up, the second as a background light, painting a narrow spot of light behind the model, and at last the third reflector as a hero of our story, as a rim light, placed behind the model and very close to her.

Cosmetic 184 gel rim light

Decision on the rim light is not usual but I wanted to have all lighting sources playing the same rules. To see the difference more clear.
Now compare light on both side of model’s face. You see that the side lit by rim light is more cold, or (as we know how to say correctly) more neutral. We see difference and let’s try to correct, to cure that.

As you can guess, to solve this problem we should not use warming conversion gel. It would change color temperature of the rim light but wouldn’t paint it skin color. How can this be solved? By adding a special cosmetic gel. Among very wide range of gels using in movies and photography, there is one interesting category of cosmetic gels. Their mission is not to add some color to model’s skin but vice versa to enhance this skin color, sometimes to make it more saturated, sometimes to make it more pale. To story about all cosmetic gels needs additional article but here let’s do it faster and choose immediately necessary gel.

Cosmetic 184 gel

It will be 184 Cosmetic Peach gel - the most "skin" of all cosmetic gel. Let’s put it over the rim light and get:

Rim light. Cosmetic gels. Beauty lighting setup

Take a look. The left side lit by the rim light got more skin color. And we no longer have such a big difference from another side. However, we still have the difference.

What should we do?

Put one more gel over the rim light! Here it is:

rim light, cosmetic gel, beauty lighting setup

You see, now we got 100% the same natural color of the skin over the area lit by the rim light. You do not see any difference! The picture seems more completed and pleasant to our eyes.

I would add that of course you will need different amount of gels because of exact lighting modifier you use in exact lighting setup. But now you know the way to operate with that!

If you like to use more soft rim light (that is better way of course) you need to have this gel of larger size. To get an ability to cover softbox with this cosmetic gel. Or if you don’t have larger gel you can use umbrella as a soft rim light. You would need to cover only reflector and get the same effect.

Learn, experiment and practice! And everything will be great!    

Good luck!