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Color Gelled Ballet Photos: Christine Shevchenko – Principle, American Ballet Theater

8/06/2019 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Color Gelled Ballet Photos - Christine Shevchenko – Principle, American Ballet Theater

One of the things I love doing is using color and light to give my images visual impact. For this project I had the pleasure of working with Christine Shevchenko, who's a principal at American Ballet Theater in New York. We did both, still photography and I wrote and direct a short narrative with her.

I love having color contrast in my images and that's why I use a lot of complimentary colors. When it comes to lighting, I love combining warm and cool tones. One of the questions I get asked most often is if I use blue gels? And the answer is, VERY RARELY.

What I much prefer to do is set my Kelvin temperature in the camera anywhere between 2500k-3500k. And that turns any daylight balance strobe, blue. Any warmth that I want to bring into the images, I gel the light. With a combination of CTO (color tint orange) and CTS (color tint straw) gels. I find that combing both of those gels, gives me the warmth I'm looking for.

Even when I want to go for a monochromatic look, and just want one gold tone. I rare just do that in camera [with WB], I prefer to gel the lights and I find that using a combination of CTO/CTS gels gives me the warmth and gold tone I want.

When I want a little less color contrast, my white balance is anywhere between 3500, and maybe 4000 Kelvin. And I'll gel the light depending on the mood I want, with more CTS gel. Which you can see above. Which is much more subtle then what I shoot at 2500k and combine a lot CTO/CTS gels (right image).

The inspiration for this image was a portrait I did before of an artist named Hueman (below).

As we were walking into the dance studio I noticed a wall that had red and white stripes and it reminded me of that image. I wanted to create something similar that didn't have any white at all in it, and just color purely for impact.

To eliminate all the white from that wall I put a gridded light behind her that again had a combination of CTO/CTS gels. And behind that light, I had a light with no gel on it so it would bring out the red. And to light Christine in this photo, I actually had a CTB (color tint blue) to bring the blue for underneath. And on the sides I lit her with a green (Rosco Moss Green #89) and magenta (Rosco 60 Magenta 4760) gel.

I absolutely love lighting and it's essential to how I make my images. Color, helps amplify the emotion and the mood that I want to evoke in my photography.

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About Alexis Cuarezma:

I'm a portrait photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I focus on athletes and fitness. I photograph anyone who gives me the time, and sometimes the people I photograph are really popular. Let's Get Connected: | Instagram 

This article and all the images were originally published on  and shared with their permission

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