Tuesday's Tips: Making Gray Skies Blue

How do you create a dramatic photograph on rainy cloudy day?  Easy, Have a beautiful model with a red dress, a castle and a Rosco CTO gel on your strobe. This photograph was shot in Caerphilly, Wales,  during one of the 10 stops on my Location Lighting Workshop Tour of the UK sponsored by SWPP.   

In this week's "Tuesday Tips" I'm going to talk about cross filtering technique with strobes.  When this photo was taken, it was raining and the sky was muddy ( See the workshop group photo below). 

Have you ever set your camera on tungsten and gone outside to shoot?  What happens?    Your photograph turns out blue!  So use this to your advantage on a cloudy day.  Set your camera white balance to tungsten, and place a Rosco CTO orange filter over the flash.   A CTO filter is a color correction filter, converting your speed light, which is balanced for daylight, to tungsten.  You color correct the skin tones of your subject while your background turns blue.

The model is lit by a single speedlight with a Rosco CTO gel in front of it, shot through a 24x30 soft box on the right side, with a reflector on the left.   Now the output of my speedlight is tungsten, which matches my camera setting. Because of this, the model has proper skin tones and the background is now blue.   This filter is available as part of the Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit .  Fun fact, my favorite soft box brand is Chimera Lighting, it makes beautiful light!

To determine your exposure, use your camera meter to read the "Element you cannot control":  In this case it is the ambient light on background.  My strobe is set on TTL and fired with a PocketWizard and if you want your background darker blue, under expose the sky.