Game of Thrones Lighting Tutorial

If you’ve paid attention to the lighting used for the TV series Game of Thrones, you’ve probably noticed light beams coming into a room with a combination of cool and warm tones. The makers achieve this look by using large light sources but you can get similar looking images using a workaround. Photographers Tony & Chelsea Northrup explain how to create Game of Thrones lighting for your photo shoot:

Light Source

Hollywood studios have large constant light sources that they use to replicate the sun. For Game of Thrones, these huge light sources create the effect of light beans in the castle rooms. But if you want to replicate this effect, instead of looking for large light sources, lookfor small window openings in a room.

Tony points a flash outside a small basement window to achieve the beam effect.

flash with gel pointed towards a small basement window

Replicating Haze

Castles were built of stone, which caused the air to be a bit dusty. This justifies the hazy look in the light beams in Game of Thrones. However, to achieve a similar look, you may need to add a bit of thickness to the air around you. For this, you can use some atmosphere aerosol.

atmosphere aerosol to add haze

“If you want that super heaviness in the air, you’re gonna have to spray it and take the image really quick. You need to spray it where the light beam is going to be.”

Besides being quick, make sure to pay attention to the background and the lighting. The haze will not be prominent when used against a light colored background.

“For best results, the aerosol should be backlit and against a dark background.”

Any kind of breeze will easily blow the aerosol away so also make sure to turn off any fans and close the windows.

Color Tones

If you’ve paid attention to the color tones used for shooting dark scenes in Game of Thrones, you’ve probably noticed how they play around with cool and warm temperatures. To replicate the look, Chelsea uses a blue gel on the flash that emits a blue beam of light into the scene. And to complement the blue beam, she uses warm Edison lights around the subject which work perfectly together to create a fantastic atmosphere.

Game of Thrones lighting

Are you a fan of the Game of Thrones look?

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

2 responses to “Game of Thrones Lighting Tutorial”

  1. Donald Schwartz says:

    What sort of focusing instrument fo you have on the front of your strobe?
    How did you attach it?

  2. Mikey says:

    Great look, couple of gels can really lift a scene.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever