1 Keep it simple
You don’t need anything fancy to start with, just a fairly plain wall. We don’t have a plain wall in the studio, so we’re going to put up a simple paper roll backdrop. If you don’t have the room for a paper roll backdrop, buy a big sheet of paper from your local stationery shop.
2 Add some colour
Flash gels are photographically balanced for accurate white balance. However, you can buy some coloured acetate for a fraction of the price. This works for vibrant colours like red, green and any colour you don’t need accurate WB for, but for accurate WB go with flash gels.
3 See both sides
Put the flashguns on light stands and place one camera left and one camera right of your subject. The idea is to produce a portrait lit with two separate colours, which blend together over the model’s face, so each flash needs to be fitted with a different-coloured gel.
4 Dare to bare
To start with, use the flashes bare (without diffusion). By keeping things simple you can slowly build your portrait and see how the light and colour interact. This is a step most amateurs overlook, which results in a frustrated photographer and model. Set the flashes to ¼ power.
5 Control the light
Take a test shot at your lens’s widest aperture, 1/200 sec shutter speed and ISO200. Try not to clip either side of the histogram. If you need to increase the exposure of your photo, boost your ISO. If you reach ISO800 and it’s still too underexposed, turn up the flash power.
6 Soften it up
Now is the time to diffuse the light. Put an umbrella on either or both flashguns to spread the light. The intensity of the light will reduce because it’s being spread out more, so increase the flashgun power until you get good exposures as per the previous step.