How those nifty gun photos are taken

    I posted a comment the blog of Guy Sagi, a veteran gun photographer and Editor-in-Chief of Shooting Illustrated, asking him how he took these fantastic gun photos using very nifty colored lighting.

    Orange gel lighting applied to the LaRue OBR

    Guy was kind enough to respond with a comment and then later a slideshow. His reply to my question …

    If I tried to fully explain the technique in one response, when I was done Jimmy Stewart’s clone would be back in DC as Mr. Smith II!

    Let me start with the gel question. A gel imparts artificial, forced color on the image. Yeah, I know everyone thinks gelatine or Jello, but in photospeak it’s different. It’s any artificial covering of a light source that tansmits palpable color (so all you real photographers, feel free to indict that statement and realize I’m trying to provide a Reader’s Digest version). I apologize if I led you to believe anything different.

    In the case of my orange photo, I put an orange screen/filter/gel in front of the strobe/flash/speed light. Here’s a link to the exact filter set I used (obviouslly I selected orange). Photogs call that filter a gel and it’s pretty common parlance. If you go to a craft store and pick up tanslucent wrapping paper you’ll run into problems with curling, dispersion at bends, plus density (and believe me, I’ve tried to work the inexpensive route…let me know if you have better luck, though).

    The overall approach is called strobist. All strobes/flashes are off the camera, remotely triggered, and balanced as you see fit. If you’re interested I’ll set it back up again and explain the balance. In the photo you like, there are four flashes involved, but it would be easy to do the same thing with two without near the expense.

    Guy has created a slideshow, demonstrating the techniques used to create this style of photo. It is well worth watching.

    Also from Guy: More photos of the LaRue Tactical OBR in .308 Win.. The rifle will be featured in the November issue of Shooting Illustrated.

    [ Many thanks to Guy for taking so much time to answer my question. ]

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!