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The photo will be taken from the ceiling above the bed and catch the entire bed in the frame.

I am trying to simulate a feeling of warmth, safety, and comfort in his bed using the light. I have red head lights and a golden reflector.

I am a beginner so any tips and advice offerings would make me happy!

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What you want is to set up a scene with a strong colour contrast e.g. with a warm light on your subject against a cool background. I have a shot which might be similar to the effect you're trying to achieve:

http://www.mattgrum.com/photo_se/sleeper.jpg

This was done with two flashes, one with an orange filter and one with a pale blue filter. Don't worry if you just have the gold reflector, just bounce one of your lights off the reflector onto the subject and point the other at the background. As long as one lightsource is warmer than the other you can still get the warm/cool effect by adjusting the white balance in post.

  • Is there any...for lack of a better phrase...degree of separation that would be necessary if you don't actually have the right temperature of light? If you have two white lights, what difference in temperature would be necessary to achieve the above with white balance correction in post? I would figure that if the lights were separated by only a couple hundred kelvin, you would get blue and a lighter blue, but not necessarily one cool and one warm. – jrista Mar 1 '12 at 21:38
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Matt's shot is quite nice. There is an easier way if all you want is warmth:

Just pick the wrong white-balance or fine-tune it along the blue-amber scale (towards amber obviously) to the get desired results.

This is a trick used by so many photographers that the XRite ColorChecket Passport has squares designed to this precisely and predictably. To use it you simply measure custom-white-balance on one of the 10 off-white squares provided.

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