Home / Photography Tutorial / How To Use Gels In Photography – A Phlearn Video Tutorial

How To Use Gels In Photography – A Phlearn Video Tutorial

Check out the full post at: http://phlearn.com/gels

Change Up Your Lights

Its very easy to mess up an image by using a gel too directly and by using too many colors. This episode covers how to use them in a subtle way to change the overall mood of your photos and which lighting works best.

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Timeline

0:00- Ferdinand Magellan
0:30- Explanation of gels and how to use them
2:00- Gel grades
3:15- Light setup
4:10- Using full power with orange gel
4:30- Using complimentary colors
5:20- Softbox lighting
6:20- Let us know if you have any examples!
How to Choose Colors

Complimentary colors always work well together. Try using a warm and cool combination when choosing which gels you want to use, and combining them in a way that makes sense. Colors are much easier to get right by using a color wheel and planning out your final image before you start. You can also try placing the warmer tones in the foreground and cooler in the back, or vice versa. .

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20 comments

  1. Helpful!

  2. and what about WB?

  3. this guy is so annoying

  4. i have shot with gels 3 times and all 3 times I got outstanding results. I was SUPER happy with it. Check it out..https://www.flickr.com/photos/123569449@N08/sets/72157644109441486/

  5. I use gels in my studio mostly but I am using on location more, I use the Rogue Grid with a set of gels in my studio to color my backdrop mostly.  I add a 45 degree grid on my speedlight, set to 1/16 power on a white backdrop and I can have 15 different colors of backdrop with only having to change a 3" gel.  The grid also gives me a nice feather dark edge for a natural vignette.

  6. Q: does taping the gel paper to to light burn it? I mean the lights can get really freakin hawt! Also what if u use a regular transparent colored paper would it burn? 

  7. You're video tutorials are fantastic. This is not one of them though.

  8. You're such a (funny) dag..

  9. I have two or three backgrounds. I need to know how to use gels to change them to jeweled or pastel tones and shades.

  10. Just in case and to complete the info in this very educational video, CTO and CTB are not color gels but color correction gels. The different is that CC gels are used not to color your lights, but to balance the color temperature between your bulb and your film (or the WB of your digital camera). This is the reason why they come in 8th, 1/4, 1/2 and full variety. For color gels, just look at the swash book from any manufacturer as Roscoe or Lee and check the Theatrical colors in it. These gels come instead in precise colors without any gradation (excepting for the Storaro line). Almost any photography rental house carries swash books and they are free. There are also color compensation gels (Plus Green and Minus Green) and those are the ones you use for instance, to take the green spike off the household fluorescent tubes or to ad a green spike to tungsten or daylight lamps in order to match the household fluorescent.

  11. Alex Valtchev (Алекс Вълчев)

    so many dumb comments, OMG. If you aren't competent or a hater don't waist time to other people reading your bullshit. The guy is not forcing his opinion, he is helping and asking question too. Gels aren't use for matching color temperature only. Gels are used for all kind of creative purpose!

  12. portugal :D

  13. You can do it for free. It's called photoshop.

  14. Please let me know when you're doing another vid on something you know little about so I can waste more my life. Thsnks!!

  15. To me the prime motivation for using gels is to match the flash's white balance with the ambient light.

  16. With your english accent I couldn't understand the name of the portuguese guy and I'm portuguese… googling I found out that you mean "Fernão de Magalhães" but in english you guys say "Ferdinand Magellan"… Ok, I got…. Anyway, nice tutorial.

  17. I mostly use them to colour white seamless. Works pretty well but you have to keep the main lights off the background.
    Canon provided CTO gel and holder with the 600 EX RT. If you use it, the camera's white balance is automatically set. The gel balances with incandescent light really well, but you lose the warmth of that light because it brings the scene back to daylight. This action suggests the manufacturers think gel should colour balance.

  18. His arms are so hairy lol

  19. Even though it's dark outside the light spectrum is still considered daylight balance. If you take a shot at sunset with your camera WB set to daylight you still get the warm highlights and color from the Sun along with shadows. The daylight balance doesn't remove that warm glow. At night time it's the same principle. You set your camera to daylight WB (Sunny on some models) and put a CTO gel on your flash. A 1/2 cut CTO should do and match if the lights are warm and amber. More white..no gel.

  20. great comment. can you answer me this? when i shoot outside at night using my camera mounted speedlight with a rogue flash bender it looks kinda crappy without alot of editing which i am trying to get away from. i want to get it as close as possible in camera so when i edit i can focus more on other details. so question is what gel could i put on my speedlight to match the ambience of the street lights with the flash. and then what do i use for my whitebalane

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