I'm just learning photography and I found this picture


The background was warm with yellow soft tones ... but the subjects are clear. I wondered how can I do that?

Yesterday I did a test, but failed ... lOLz ... It was a bright sunny day at the lake nearby and I changed the white balance color to warm and shot with the flash on her face. But ... her face become darker, as seen in this picture:

Lake BSB and forest

I want to know how to make her skin tone natural. Which flash gel should I use for this?

Another case, I did this shoot at night with very low light. I used off-camera flash and shot at the subject but I saw my flash became blueish, like the garden lamp. Here is the picture:


how can I fix this color and, if possible, could you reference an article or book that can help me learn more about color and white balance?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if this is an answer but maybe its done with a reflector that changes the white balance on the subject allowing that the editing to push the background warm and the subject in correct white balance. \$\endgroup\$
    – thebtm
    Nov 9, 2015 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I really appreciate that you 1.Provided us an example image 2.Provided us your own attempt image. That makes the answers we can provide much better. Welcome to the site! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Nov 11, 2015 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have a look at strobist.blogspot.co.uk/2006/03/… \$\endgroup\$
    – eftpotrm
    Dec 23, 2015 at 13:37

4 Answers 4


A shot like this requires you to shoot during the golden hour. The light at this time of day will be very warm/yellow with very pronounced shadows. Other factors that can help you get a shot similar to this include careful application of additional light sources such as a reflector, as well as special consideration for what lens may produce the desired effect such as lens flare.

Further, if you want to replicate the effect that this photographer achieved, I would recommend you read some of his blog posts such as this one: 5 Easy Backlighting tips by Michael Kormos

Here is an example I shot 20 mins before sunset at my location:

Example image at golden hour


You can get different white balance on subject and background when you use flash and gels. That's one of the points of using flashes.


http://neilvn.com/tangents/photo-shoot-progression-of-an-idea/ (and many more on his blog)

The white balance of the flash is fixed. The color of the ambient light/background is fixed (assuming it's not affected by the flash). If you want a background warmer than the subject, put an opposite (cold = blueish) gel on the flash and then do white balance on the subject. The background will result warmer than the subject.

Of course you have to tune the intensity of the gel depending on the actual difference in color: if you want a background much warmer than the subject, but it is already sunset and you are lighting the subject with a flash, you may not need a gel at all: the flash is daylight and the background is already warm.


First, to get this warm and yellow background, you need to be shooting in that kind of light, which generally only happens at sunrise and sunset. You can see by the catchlight in the eyes that the photographer was using a fairly large reflector to get light back onto the subjects. Also, you will notice that the super golden part of the light is way off in the distance - the further away, the more golden, so being close to the subject with the camera means less gold, more natural.

So it's essentially three things: shoot just before sunset, put the light source behind your subject and a good distance away, and use a reflector to get light onto your subject's face.


It's basically about how you use the gels and white balance in combination. Your subject is lit by the flash. Your ambient background is not. So you can make a color temperature difference between the two, in any balance you want, by adjusting the color of the light on your subject, and then white balancing to match.

If you want a warmer background with a neutral subject, then gel your flash to be cooler (blue), and then shoot or post-process to warm up the entire image until your subject is neutral. The background, which was its normal temperature in the original shot, is now even warmer. On the flip side, if you want your background to be cooler (say, turning a grey sky blue), then gel your flash to be warmer (orange/yellow), and then white balance the image in-camera or in post to get a neutral subject, but a cooler background.

See: http://www.slrlounge.com/simple-way-change-color-sky-camera/ for good visual examples.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer seems very similar in concept to OlafM's. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Dec 23, 2015 at 6:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Caleb Agreed, but felt there was a different way to say it. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Dec 23, 2015 at 17:58

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