Hi I am always looking for ways to experiment with photography and I recently thought of getting color gels for my camera. I actually have one shot in mind that may require a red/orange gel to simulate a lamp in a room.
They only cost a few dollars from what I've seen on amazon.
Does anyone have any suggestions for a budget gel kit and examples of how they utilized color gels well?
Normaly I shoot journalism and I come to different places with all kinds of different light. Sometimes the lights are too dark to not use a flash. But the flash is ballanced to daylight. And when you have normal (yellow) lightbulbs or tungsten-lights, you start to mix two different kinds of temperatures. It makes pictures horrible.
I don't use them that often but it does work its purpose. I experimented with them during the summer. In one I had a grid on my speedlight pointing at the subject then on another room I had a blue gel on my other speedlight. It changed the mood and it more resembled another time of day. SO yes you can really get creative with them and add more fun.
YN-560 gelled with red in the oven, bouncing off crumpled aluminum foil;
SB-900 with a blue gel for the cabinets;
SB-900 with straw gel for hair;
SB-900 with orange gel as a contouring accent.
Gels from the HONL kit. I have incinerated a few when not allowing breathing room from the speedlight's fresnel.
San Francisco, California, US
I agree with the suggestion above about checking strobist.com ... there are lots of informations about using color gels for your off-camera flash/strobe lights ...
I use color gels a lot ... mostly 1 stop & 1/3 stop CTO (Color Temp. Orange) ...
In this picture ... to lit the model, I had a big softbox with 2 flashes inside it both with 1/4 power (one with 2/3 CTO, the other one is only just diffuser).
There are 3 other flashes positioned in the back of the model, all with 1/3 CTO on ... One on the right (nearer to her) to give her a rim light & lit the small tree next to her. Another one on the left & a bit further away ... give her a lil rim & lit the background grasses.
The last one ... way back on the right - lit the grasses to add dimension & color to the image ...
I did a little experiment with one around Halloween. I cut one out of a plastic blue folder. At first I put it over the lens and took a shot to get a blue picture, then set it as my white balance. Then I put in on the flash so the light coming from the flash would be white again from the camera, and it turned the ambient light red. I thought it was kinda cool.
To encourage you to buy the full size sheets, pro camera stores will gladly give you the Lee Filters sample book that has dozens of different filters. Those samples (about 1" x 3") magically fit over the head of a speedlight. If you can fire the speedlight remotely, you can then add color to any scene.
I use coloured gels on studio flash quite often. Sometimes to fill cast shadows with a lighter tone, sometimes using complimentary gels to create effects with "white" light where both fall, one colour in highlights and another in shadows - subtly of course.
The Rosco and Lee sample swatch books used to be free. After the advent of the Strobist, people started ordering them to use. Turns out they were just the right size for many Stobist applications. Now they sell the swatch books, as well as Strobist-sized filter sets.
I keep 20x24-inch Rosco gels in several colors on hand and cut them down for use. I favor colors like blue, red, gold (which they call straw), lavendar and purple.
This is the only photo in my portfolio where I used a gel.
Camerosity wrote: The Rosco and Lee sample swatch books used to be free. After the advent of the Strobist, people started ordering them to use. Turns out they were just the right size for many Stobist applications. Now they sell the swatch books, as well as Strobist-sized filter sets.
I didn't know they charge for them now.
Probably still a bargain.
Been using them for 15 years.