How to Fake a Sunset With Flash Photography Using Gels

You can't control the weather, but you can control what the weather looked like. In this video, go behind the scenes of this shoot with a beautiful Porsche 911 GT3 RS and how one photographer made an overcast day look like an epic sunset.

The photographer in this video sadly suffers the same problem with outdoor photoshoots that I do: we're British. Those apocalyptic sunsets and sunrises that give gorgeous, bright-orange light and high contrast are rare here — as is all weather that isn't overcast or drizzle — and so you have to improvise.

In all honesty, wherever you may be, it's worth learning how to change the scene you're in to look like something completely different, whether that's day to night, night to day, or cloud to bright sun. It isn't limited to just outside shoots neither. Many of my portrait shoots have happened indoors in rooms with large windows, but outside the large windows, are large clouds and little else. I will often reach for gels or RGB LEDs to change the entire mood of the scene — it's certainly a useful skill to have in your toolbox.

In this video, watch as Mark McGee shoots a stunning Porsche 911 in bland conditions, but using a strobe and an orange gel, turns the results into something truly memorable.

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3 Comments
Alexander Petrenko's picture

Is there a tutorial how to match direction of the setting sun (on the replacement sky) and your strobe? It seems like it is missing in this tutorial.

Justin Sharp's picture

This has all the subtlety of my three year old nephew trying to get to the halloween candy. Back off on the dramatic lighting and post processing by about 60-70% and it might look pretty good.

Deleted Account's picture

So much effort for this result? One look and it immediately becomes clear: this is not the sun and no sunlight and the sky simply does not match it at all. I would also recommend not to touch the vivid or saturation slider anymore.