This sounds counter-intuitive, but you can light a black background and give it some colour. Here’s an example by John Jennings taken on our Studio Lighting Workshop.
You might not believe it, but simply placing a coloured gel on a light pointing at a black background will project that colour onto the background.
In this example a red gel was placed in front of a snoot and the light was pointed at the background. Obviously the most important thing to expose correctly is you subject’s face, but after that’s done experiment with the power, shape and position of the background light until you get an effect you like.
Doesn’t seem like it should work, but it does.
You can learn more about this type of thing, plus more, on out Studio Lighting Course.
by Andrew Mason