Friday, August 12, 2011

Use of Gel with Flash Photography

I've been a "Strobist" for a while now, but never got into using gels until earlier this year.  Recently, I did a shoot with Georgie Akali and I played with gels for a set of images.  The location has these lovely arches, but I wanted to try to change the mood with gels.  The white balance of the first shot was set to cloudy and lit with a single flash in a 60cm softbox.

Then I added another flash behind Georgie behind a pillar just out of sight and fitted it with red gel.  The flash was set to full power.  In the dark arches it showed up quite well.  In my experience, if the ambient light level is high it will not be as effective.

Finally, I set the camera white balance to tungsten, removed the flash behind the pillar and fitted  CTO gel to the flash in the softbox.  Setting WB to tungsten in day light will turn everything blue normally.  In this case I used the CTO gel to correct the white balance on Georgi.  Any object not lit by the flash will come out blue.

It needs to be used selectively.  I would not want to shoot a whole set of photos this way as it will become overpowering.  As shown here, using gels can change the moods of photo very easily.

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