How To Attach Gels To Lights

By | 20/08/2022

If you’re similar me and you’ve tried to attach gels to your lights in the past, you’ve probable resorted to using 1 of the many types of glutinous tapes bachelor. When I used to manage a studio, I would encounter all manner of tapes being used to attach gels to hot modifiers.

From masking tape, duct record, parcel tape and when they ran out, fifty-fifty regular one-time gluey tape was used. But ultimately, all of these tapes fell short in achieving their simple job of property a colored gel in forepart of a light.

The Trouble With Using Tape to Attach Gels

Put merely, most tapes are not designed to withstand heat. In fact, when most viscid tapes are subjected to sudden rises in temperature, their stickiness dries upwards and the gel inevitably falls off the lamp. There are tapes that can withstand this heat but they combat this past simply getting extremely gooey, which in turn leaves your gels in a right sticky mess that is certainly not conducive to long-term use.

An Alternative to Record

By far and away the best solution I’ve found to this problem is to actually not utilize record at all, just instead use magnets to adhere your gels.

Magnets have a multitude of benefits; showtime and foremost being that they won’t ruin your gels in any fashion, plus they won’t cease working when they go hot either.

So What’s the Downside?

The biggest problem with using magnets in this way is that they only adhere to magnet-friendly metallic like steel. Just alas virtually photographic modifiers are made of other metals like aluminum which have zero allure to magnets whatsoever.

What’s the Solution?

And so if our lighting modifiers are rejecting our magnets, we need to find an intermediary and that’s where the folder/foldback clip comes in. These niggling clips are nearly e’er fabricated of sparse steel and as such are more than happy to attract magnets. Simply prune them onto your modifiers and so attach the magnets to them whilst sandwiching the gel between the two. Job done.

It really is as unproblematic as that, plus it takes a thing of seconds to do. I also personally tend to get out the clips on all of my modifiers permanently, that fashion I don’t even need to add the clips each time I utilize them. The clips are super cheap, then buying a bunch of them and so applying iii clips to each modifier is non a problem and they don’t go in the way of anything else either. That way all I need to do is add the magnets along with the gels each fourth dimension.

Works on Any Dish Modifier

Similar I mentioned earlier, this is a very simple procedure and the clips will adhere to nigh any dish-blazon modifier, as we can meet below.

If y’all use the correct size clips, they’ll even go over ‘lipped’ modifiers also. Plus the same clip and magnet combo will even work with the grids attached too.

With the right size clips, you can even utilize the same method to attach gels with the grids in place as well.

This method of attaching gels is so stiff, you tin can use it to stack multiple gels on the aforementioned modifier. Using this prune and magnet fox you can hold an ND gel, a regular gel and a diffusion gel all on the same dish with ease. Attaching multiple gels in this way with tape was a real pain in the past.

What You Will Need

As I said, this is super easy and most metal prune and magnet philharmonic will work, but hither’south what I personally use. I’ve tried a variety of dissimilar sized clips and magnets but this item setup seems to work best for me as the clips work on all of my modifiers and the magnets are big enough and strong enough to concord stacks of multiple gels if need be.

Folder Clips

These are some of the smallest binder/foldback clips available and they measure about 1in/ii.5cm at the base of operations. Bigger ones will work but the smaller and lower profile clips work best in my opinion.

Simply search “binder clips” on Amazon or eBay. Y’all should exist able to get a 12-24 pack of these for merely a few dollars.


Again, whatsoever magnet volition piece of work but potent minor ones are really what you’re looking for. The ones I use are typically referred to every bit ‘Rare Earth Neodymium Magnets’. These are remarkably strong magnets for their tiny size, so strong in fact, that getting fingers caught between stacks of them can be painful so they should exist kept abroad from kids.

The ones I’m using are nearly 3cm long and about 1cm wide. These little attraction powerhouses are a bit more expensive than regular magnets, so if you can go abroad with using less powerful ones, go for it.

Simply search “rare earth magnets” on Amazon or eBay. A 20 pack of these should exist effectually £15-£20.

Endmost Comments

I’ll exist honest, I’ve been using this gel zipper method for a while now and I was looking at manufacturing something to sell that was branded by me that did the same chore. The problem was, it’s almost impossible to refine this incredibly simple idea into a product that didn’t overcomplicate the process.

This folding clip solution is just and then perfect as their grips fold dorsum out of the way and into the modifier itself. This then leaves that flat, fifty-fifty surface when airtight that are perfectly suited to permit the magnets to sit flush on top of them.

Also, the super-potent rare globe magnets are already perfectly made to near the exact aforementioned size as the clip itself. Plus this whole system works exactly the same style on any bore dish from small umbrella holder dishes, to larger groundwork dishes.

Designing a purpose-congenital product that actually did all of this ameliorate than these inexpensive piddling DIY alternatives, proved to be impossible! So in the end, I just decided to share it with yous guys and mayhap somebody else volition figure out a better manner (but I doubt information technology).

About the author: Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion lensman based in Reading, UK. He specializes in keeping the skill in the camera and not only on the screen. If you’d like to learn more most his incredibly popular gelled lighting and mail service-pro techniques, visit this link for more info. Sign upwards to the Jake Hicks Photography newsletter and receive his free Top Ten Studio Lighting Tips and Techniques PDF. You lot can detect more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, 500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. This article was also published here.