Turning Sunlight into Moonlight for Stills or Video: A Lighting Tutorial

In this Slanted Lens lighting tutorial we are going to show you how to change sunlight into moonlight for stills or video. This is not a post process, it’s an in camera technique using two different color temperatures in the same image. People ask me all the time, why worry about color in the camera when you can shoot raw and fix it when you process? That may be true to some extent but the reality is color balance can become another tool you can use to create mood and interest in your images. This will show you a creative way to shift the color balance of sunlight and create a blue background that looks like moonlight.
I wanted a night time look to this 20’s scene. Shooting later was not an option. This was a way to give a night time look to the sunlight streaming in the window. This technique can be applied to all types of photography. I saw a wedding photographer using this technique by putting a small amount of warm gel on his strobe which allowed him to let the background behind the bride and groom go slightly blue. This adds depth and interest. I have used it in corporate portraiture to create a cool background out of what was a boring scene. The blue becomes a unifying layer that pulls a background together into one element.
It’s important to think beyond my example and see the application in your own work. That is what this exercise is all about.
Keep those cameras rolling and keep on click’n!



  1. says

    Really, really liked how you used a mirror as a reflector from the rim light! That was genius and never thought about that. Well not that I am using a mirror a lot when out shooting but still a god idea to use one if you do. Loved the video but one question, I guess your shooting JPEG correct instead of RAW since your changing the WB to adjust for the lights?

    • says

      I shoot both Raw and JPG all the time. I was taught to shoot for transparencies where everything had to be perfect in camera so I still shot that way. The JPG will look good and gives me confidence that I will know what the end product is going to look like. I do process the RAW and use them for the post process. In a RAW image you have control of one color direction. If you want there to be more than one color direction in a RAW image you will have to make compromises with one of the colors. If you color correct the lights and the camera you have new area of control.


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