A Basic Introduction To Using Gels With Flash

A Basic Introduction To Using Gels With Flash

A Basic Introduction To Using Gels With Flash

Flash gels play several important roles in photography. Gels can convert the colour temperature of your flash, helping you balance your flash’s output with any ambient light sources. Gels can reduce light output without impacting colour for times when even a low-power flash setting may be a bit too much for your subject or environment.

Gels can diffuse light (i.e. make it softer) or add a dash of colourful for creative effects to your scene, like dousing colour across a subject’s face or changing the colour of a grey background to purple.

There are an overwhelming variety of gels from various manufacturers in different cuts (strengths) together with a wide array of colours, resulting in an abundance of ways to gell your flash.

You can see examples of colours and strengths on the Lee Filters
Website Link Here https://www.leefilters.com/lighting/colour-list.html#

If you are new to using gels and there uses, I think following information will is a good starting point.

ND GELS
Cut down on the amount of light emitted by your flash without changing colour temperature.

Great for: Subjects in dimly-lit areas when shooting with a wide-open aperture where even the lowest power flash setting might be too bright.

DIFFUSION GELS
As the name suggests, diffusion gels take the concentrated burst of your flash and soften/spread it out. You can purchase diffusers based on light loss, measured in stops. Diffusers won’t typically be coloured, though some vendors sell diffusion gels that have slight colour casts to complement skin tones.
Great for: Anything (even faces) with shiny surfaces that may produce glare. A wide-angle diffusion gel is also useful to push light out to the corners of your frame if you need more coverage.

CORRECTION GELS
(PLUS GREEN, CTO, CTS, CTB)
Corrective gels are sold in varying strengths measured in fractions, with full strength typically indicated with a “full” in the product name. You can add gels together to boost their strength, so if your ½ gel isn’t cutting it, you can add a ¼ on top of it and the combined ¾ could do the trick.

COLORED GELS
Available in nearly every colour of the rainbow, these gels will transform your flash’s output into their colour. Most gel manufacturers make starter kits that bundle a selection of corrective gels and a few coloured gels; they’re an ideal place to start if you haven’t already stocked up. With coloured gels, there are no hard-and-fast rules. You’re free to experiment with their effects to your heart’s content. Or until your flash battery dies.
Great for: Creative effects and adding more drama to your image.

CTO (COLOR TEMPERATURE ORANGE)
Converts your flash’s daylight output to a warmer tungsten.
Great for: Balancing ambient tungsten lights. It can also be used creatively to create a warm vibe to your photo.

CTS (COLOR TEMPERATURE STRAW, OR OFTEN JUST “STRAW”)
Similar to a standard CTO gel but with a more yellowish hue.
Great for: A nice alternative to standard CTO gels if those are giving your subject too much of an orange tint. Straw gels are ideal for warming skin tones.

PLUS GREEN
Balances your flash output to match fluorescent lighting, which gives off a green cast.

Great for: Shooting in spaces with fluorescent lights. Note: The colour temperature of fluorescents continues to change so they’ll no longer throw out a putrid green cast on your subject. Best to first take a few test shots without a plus green gel under fluorescent lighting.

CTB (COLOR TEMPERATURE BLUE)
Converts tungsten light to daylight, the opposite of a CTO gel.
Great for: Creating a cooler, bluer tone to your image and corrects for tungsten ambient sources.

There are numerous manufactures of gels but the Lee Website https://www.leefilters.com/lighting/colour-list.html# has downloadable apps for phones and the iPad, together with Gel Mood Boards and technical information.

If you do not wish to buy gel sheets or roles here are some gel systems and product links

https://www.rogueflash.com/collections/rogue-flash-gels-lighting-filter-kits

https://magnetmod.com/collections/accessories

MagBounce & Green Lanes

MagBounce & Green Lanes

The Coronavirus is having an effect on everyone and everything so lots of people are finding themselves with more time on their hands, which could be a good or bad thing depending on one’s financial circumstances. Before the Covid19 crisis, distance and travel were not an issue, it is perhaps only now that we are missing the ability to where and when we desire. I personally am trying to keep my photographic brain active even if we are confined to our local area, although this has led to Fran & I discovering some beautiful local Green Lanes and making the most of our one form of exercise a day. I don’t always take a camera with me on these little escapes from the house, but I decided to revisit one of Green Lane we have discovered and take a flash, a Magbounce and a very small and portable light stand on the walk and take a few images whilst out walking keeping kit lighting kit as portable and light as possible. As my main focus of photography work is equestrian and lifestyle photography, I mainly use C Stands for my lighting, so keeping kit light and ultra-portable is not so important. I think the last wedding we photographed was about three years ago and used to bounce flash and or use a reflector. We had a wedding booked for July, but since the lockdown, this has now been cancelled. However, I had planned on using some very portable lighting kit during the wedding (Magbounce & Magsphere) as wedding are fast paced small and light becomes a priority. I have had some Magmod kit for a few years now and to be honest it rarely gets used, but I have never owned or used the Magbounce, so decided to give it a try prior to the wedding we did have booked before it was cancelled. I purchased the Magbounce just before the Coronavirus pandemic, as my intention was to spend the spring and early summer playing around with it and see what was possible with it, yes you can bounce light off of walls and ceilings, but I was curious as to what the Magbounce could do where there were no wall or ceilings, it was the portability that really appealed to me. As far a testing out the Magbounce out fully, it’s still early days, but for a really small portable lighting mod, so far, it’s growing on me. Will the Magbounce replace the lighting mods I use for equine and lifestyle off camera flash? No, it won’t, but I do intend on trying out some new ideas and for locations where there are no walls or ceilings and I want ultra-portability, this little lighting mod does have a lot of potential.
Lighting Modifiers, Don’t Be Fooled By The Hype.

Lighting Modifiers, Don’t Be Fooled By The Hype.

When it comes to lighting modifiers, don’t be fooled by the hype, the quality of the materials are important, but the brand name will not make the light quality superior or transform you into Annie Leibovitz. However as Annie Leibovitz knows how to light, she could use any modifier to create a good image regardless of it’s brand name.

I have purchased various lighting modifiers over the years and think I have found one of the most versatile lighting modifiers I have ever seen and used, what is it? A HWAMART ® EOS100B 100cm 39″ Easy Open Silver Soft Umbrella Softbox.

For my uses a modifier above “39 for outdoor use becomes an issue if there is a breeze and anything smaller than “39 is just a tad too small in relation to size, distance and light quality. However, this conclusion has resulted after experience of photographing Horse Portraits outdoors, whilst trying to keep kit portable, packable and of good quality.

The HWAMART ® EOS100B provides the sweet spot in terms of the quality of light it produces in relation to its size, quality and price. The softbox is built around an innovative and integrated spring-loaded rod system that quickly snaps into place. There is also Included is a detachable beauty dish deflector as well as two levels of removable diffusion panels and a honeycomb grid. With these options you have many different ways to achieve different lighting for most situations.

What is the build quality like? Is it as good as Westcott? I guess time will tell, but for the price it is very close and far better than most of the gear coming out of China.

If you are getting into lighting and are looking for your first light modifier, the HWAMART ® EOS100B is worth considering, if I had the choice of only having one lighting mod, this would be it. Price wise it’s in the middle, the price tag is neither low or high and from my experience, this price point provides quality without paying for the name and unlike most of the cheap kit from china, it will last if you take care of it. Moreover, learn to use one light properly and you can achieve some great images, spending a fortune on kit won’t provide any short cuts, you have to put in the effort and practice.

You can purchase these online through various vendors. Amazon link for idea of prices https://www.amazon.co.uk/HWAMART-Umbrella-SpeedBox-Foldable-honeycomb/dp/B01M1EIDK7/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

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