When Do You Use Gels In Photography

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How To Use Photography Lighting Gels

April 8, 2022

How to employ photography lighting gels:

Apart from a softbox, the nearly useful accessories that I accept for my small lighting kit are different-coloured lighting gels. Nonetheless, mention lighting gels and many photographers will think of images seen in photography books from the 1970s and ’80s, where portraits were lit with blue- or red-coloured lights – and sometimes even both.

This garish style looks very dated, and has probably deterred quite a few photographers from ever buying a set of lighting gels. Yet these gels are useful for a multifariousness of dissimilar purposes, and are one of the cheapest accessories available. There are basically three ways that lighting gels can be used: for colour correction; to create a special effect; or to only illuminate an area or subject with a particular colour. The key to using lighting gels well is to use them subtly and in moderation. Unless you are using a lighting gel for colour correction, there are few times when the coloured light should be the dominant illumination in an image.

What is a lighting gel in photography?

Lighting gels are coloured transparent sheets used to alter the color of a light source. They are chosen gels because for years gelatine was used in their manufacture. However, equally the gels 
have to withstand the extremely high temperatures created by continuous lights used in photographic, theatre and television productions, they are now manufactured from various rut-resistant plastics.

As the size of lighting gel required depends entirely on the type of light with which it will exist used, gels usually come 
in rolls or sheets that are then cutting to 
the correct size. This is particularly true 
in photography, where oft only a very pocket-sized amount of gel is required for use 
with a hotshoe flashgun. For this reason, many manufacturers offer pocket-sized kits 
for photographers with a number of different-coloured gel swatches. Despite beingness manufactured from materials designed to withstand very loftier temperatures, lighting gels practise wear out over time. The colour can begin to fade and the cloth can become quite brittle and simply flake away.

[Right: Some flash gel kits have Velcro fixings so they can be hands fastened to your flashgun]

How exercise you use a gel filter for photography?

Colour – Correction Gels

Some of the about useful types of lighting gels are those that modify the colour temperature of a light so it replicates another lite source. While these are besides possibly the least exciting, they tin can make a crucial difference to images lit with multiple sources of light. For example, using backup flash in a tungsten-lit room means at that place volition be ii lite sources illuminating the scene, each with a dissimilar colour temperature. The tungsten low-cal will be an orange colour, while the flash will exist very blue in comparison. Setting the camera’s white balance to tungsten volition add together bluish to the epitome to neutralise the orange colour of the tungsten lights. However, in doing so, the added bluish will also exaggerate the blue light from the wink, which can be very unflattering when using fill up-in flash for portraits, producing a cold, pale-looking complexion.

However, past using an orange colour-correction filter over the flash, the light it emits will be orangish and volition match the color of the tungsten low-cal in the room. Setting the camera’s white balance to tungsten will then neutralise the orange light from both the tungsten lights and the flashgun, creating a perfectly neutral prototype. Another instance might be when taking images outside at night. Streetlights produce a very orange/amber-coloured light. If you are taking a portrait of someone using flash, with the camera’south white balance set to flash, and so the subject volition look neutral, but the background volition be a deep amber colour. Instead, using a deep amber filter and setting the photographic camera’s white balance to tungsten, or an even stronger custom setting, will make both the subject and the background neutral.
Blue colour-correction gels work in a like manner.

A good example is when people wish to mix continuous tungsten lights and flash in the studio. Instead of putting the orange gel over the flash, blue gels can exist used with the tungsten lights to help match their light to the colour of the flash output. Fluorescent lighting is a piddling trickier to compensate for, as the exact color of the calorie-free can vary every bit the bulbs or tubes heat up, and depending on which gas is used within. As a general rule, virtually fluorescent lights emit a green hue. A green colour gel over a wink volition therefore match it to this light, enabling the fluorescent white balance setting to be used on the camera for an even colour temperature beyond the image.

how to use lighting gels

Colour-correction gels are available in different strengths, unremarkably measured in 1/4, 1/2 and full, to lucifer the colour temperature of different strengths of light. To get an exact color match, it may be necessary to combine different filters. For example, combine 1/iv and 1/2 gels to brand a 3/4 gel, for those times when a total gel is simply a petty too much. Similarly, some lights may just have a slight hint of some other colour, such as sure types of street lamp. In these instances, try using a full orange gel combined with another slightly pinkish gel to recreate the hue of the light. There are hundreds of different colours and strengths of gel available, and manufacturers will frequently take sample swatches that can be purchased to try out. The table above contains some of the most mutual types of colour-correction gel and the product numbers from the well-nigh popular manufacturers.

Measuring colour temperature

Information technology is usually quite easy to discover out the colour temperature of lights that are used for photography. Most manufacturers will list the colour temperature of flashguns, studio flash heads and continuous lights in each product’s specification – afterward all, information technology is in their interests to make this data available. When it comes to balancing different types of calorie-free, it is therefore quite easy to piece of work out roughly which gels to use, but for accented precision the exact colour temperatures are necessary.

how to use lighting gels

[In a higher place: Lit using both tungsten low-cal and a backup flash, there is a large divergence in white balance beyond the scene. Using a tungsten gel over the flash means it matches the colour of the tungsten lamp, leaving no colour cast when the tungsten white balance is used]

Lee Filters has a handy calculator on its website that allows users to select the colour temperature of the calorie-free source to be filtered, and so the color temperature of the lite that is to be matched. It and so displays the colour filter gel, or different combinations of gels, that can exist used to match the light sources. The gel reckoner is gratis to use and is available at www.leefilters.com/lighting/mired-shift-calculator.html.

With traditional tungsten light bulbs now existence replaced by energy-efficient ones, it is a piddling more hard to know the color temperature of the newer kind. Older types of free energy-efficient bulbs have the same color temperature every bit a standard fluorescent lighting tube, while others are designed to produce a cool daylight colour. However, most electric current household energy-efficient bulbs try to replicate the color of a tungsten seedling. When shooting with these bulbs, it is important to permit them to warm up fully to reach their peak operating temperature, as the colour of the calorie-free volition change as this takes place. The white residuum of these bulbs is sometimes featured as a Kelvin value on the box, or included in the instructions. Declining that, the specification is often available from the manufacturer’southward website.

Information technology is also possible to find out the exact colour temperature of a light using a digital camera. Using simply the light source to be measured, hold a grey bill of fare nether the lite and use the photographic camera’s custom white balance characteristic to take a colour reading from the light. Normally, the exact Kelvin value of the light source will be prepare and should be shown when looking at the image information on the camera screen. If the custom white balance value is not apparent, open the raw file in raw-editing software and it can exist seen there. Once this value is known, the Lee Filters calculator can be used to calculate the filters needed to match a wink to this light.

How to apply coloured lighting gels for furnishings:

With such a huge number of coloured lighting gels available, many are used for special furnishings. For example, a Deep Golden Bister 135 gel may be used to replicate a vivid sunset. By placing the flash at a low angle to light the subject field in a room, it can look like the light from a dusk pouring in through a window. At nighttime-fourth dimension, or on an overcast day, the flash can be placed outside a window, with the window frame creating stiff shadows across the discipline.

how to use lighting gels

[Above: Gels can be used to create different effects. Here a warm orangish gel used over a lamp at a low bending gives the feel of sunrise or dusk, while a absurd blue gel used on a low-cal at high angle replicates moonlight]

This effect can even be recreated without actually needing a window. Employ a large canvas of black card and cut out a unproblematic frame to give the impression of window calorie-free falling onto the subject. Alternatively, try cutting strips out of the menu to create a Venetian blind upshot. Both techniques will make it announced every bit though the bailiwick is sitting next to a window at dusk.

However, it isn’t merely sunsets that can be recreated using lighting gels. A Sky Blue 068 gel gives the appearance of moonlight. Employ the same technique every bit for the sunset effect, except place the gelled flash higher and angled downward at the subject.

Top tips

  • Employ the custom white rest to find out the verbal colour temperature of a light source
  • A grey background can be hands coloured using a filter gel
  • Remember to remember about how the colours of the gel will work with other colours in the image. Try using complementary colours together.
  • Keeping a basic option of colour-correction gels with your flash is extremely useful
  • Gels can reduce the flash output, so brand sure that this is factored into the exposure
  • Sure coloured gels can exist used to replicate certain types of calorie-free, such as a sunset or moonlight

Where to get the gels:

Lee Filters

www.leefilters.com.Manufacturer of lighting gels



Manufacturer of a number of kits to enable the utilize of filters on flashguns. Distributed in the United kingdom past Snapper Stuff



Honl makes the lighting gel kit pictured on page 54. Distributed in the UK by Flaghead Photographic



Manufacturer of the Universal Flash Gels Kit. Distributed in the UK by Daymen

Rosco Lighting Gels


Manufacturer of lighting gels


www.silverprint.co.united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland

Has a good selection of Lee Filters in both rolls and sheets


Source: https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/technique/expert_advice/how-to-use-lighting-gels-2-4304

Posted by: Fusiontr.com

Originally posted 2022-02-12 10:13:21.