A general rule of thumb in relation to separating your subject from the background is to use rim light or a hair light and by combining colour gels with flash, you can create some interesting looks. If you are using colour gels with flash and not getting the colour vibrancy you want these tips might help. The less power you put through a gel the more colour you will achieve, so you will have to experiment to see which settings work best in relation to distance and colour etc. Depending on the ambient light, you may find certain colours work better than others. For creative lighting I personally like to use blue and red gels and if you add just a hint of smoke or haze you will get a nice effect as the light hits the particles which provides more tonality and gradation to the colour. If you are thinking smoke machine, you will be surprised at just how little smoke or mist you need to create some great effects. You can buy Fog in a spray can that is ideal for indoor use and as you only need a little amount to create interesting colour effects, it’s a great way to start experimenting without having to buy a smoke machine. Showtec Magican Hazecan is about £11 so if you are intending to use a lot of mist or smoke, then a smoke machine is probably cheaper and better longer term option, but for little projects and experimenting and portability, I think the Hazecan is ideal. Here are two identical images, one without mist, and the other with mist. Just go’s to show what a difference a little bit of mist can make.

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