I was asked a question this week about the use of coloured gels with studio lighting, so I thought I’d add another post about gels.  I know I’ve mentioned gels in the past, but it’s a subject that people are interested in.

I use coloured gels occasionally, not all the time.  Using a coloured gel can be a good way to add interest to a photo and to separate the subject from the background.  A gel, or colour filter, is simply a thin sheet of coloured transparent material that is attached to the front of the flash unit.  Gels are available to buy in various sizes and colours for use with studio flash or portable flash units (speedlights).

When I photographed Louise, the room we were using had several blue accents – cushions, vase, flowers, etc.  I thought the use of a blue gel on a back light would make the shot a bit different.  I added a hint of colour to the background by attaching a blue gel to the front of an Elinchrom studio flash unit, which was also fitted with barn-doors to stop too much blue light coming back onto Louise.  I didn’t want the blue to be dominant – just a subtle hint of colour.

The main light came from a second Elinchrom studio flash unit diffused by a large softbox which was placed camera left and close to Louise.  With a softbox the general rule is that the closer the softbox, the softer the light. 

Disclaimer – I don’t claim to be a studio lighting expert or the most technically competent photographer!  This post is just to get you thinking about extra touches that you can bring to your next shoot.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes, it’s all part of the learning process.

(Click to enlarge)

Louise with Coloured Gel

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