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

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

The Value Of Commissioning A Photographer

The Value Of Commissioning A Photographer

There are roughly 7.5 billion people in the world and about 5 billion of them have a mobile phone. Roughly 4 billion people 80% of phones have a built-in camera. Estimates state that 14 trillion photos are taken annually (14,600,000,000,000) but why do some photographs really make an impression on us?

There are many distinguishing factors that make photographs stand out from those you see or take every day, but despite the marketing of phone and camera manufacture’s, a good camera does not make a good photographer, or produce a good image.

Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, good photography equipment is costly. As a professional photographer, cameras and lenses are just the basics, there is also lighting equipment, tripods, backdrops, computer software, website costs and most importantly Public Liability Insurance and all of these costs require an income.

Professional photographers continually attend workshops and classes to master their abilities and learn new techniques and these have a cost and are often not cheap to attend and require dedicated time to attend.

Let’s return to that question “have you ever wondered why some photographs really make an impression on us”?

Personally, I think it relates to a combination these key factors

Experience

Skill

Knowledge

Lens choice

Lighting

Image editing

When you commission a photographer, you are investing in the value of these factors which all play a part in producing images that have an impression on the viewer.

We all have different tastes, but in summary photography is like wine, some excellent, some good and some not so good. There is an abundance of cheap wine that can be purchased, but do you value it for its quality or price? By commissioning a photographer, you are more likely to receive either excellent or good photographs, you are investing in them as photographers to create images that have value.

Sadly, there are some people who will screen grab photographers work, or complain about the price of an image and overlook the time involved in the process of creating the photograph. The cost of doing business as a photographer is like any other business, they need to generate a profit to survive, so if you value the images you see, show some appreciation for their time, effort and skill and invest in their work.

Shaded Environments, Flash And Overcoming A Few Challenges

Shaded Environments, Flash And Overcoming A Few Challenges

If you go down to the woods for an outdoor portrait with your flash, you may notice a disparity between colour temperatures in terms of unflattering skin tones and washed out greens that can often have a negative impact on outdoor portrait images and trying to fix this in post processing will take time, effort and skill.

So what is affecting the images? The cause is the colour disparity between the different light temperatures. Flash is a daylight-balanced light source, with a temperature of 5500K. However, shade has a higher temperature than 5500k and can range from 6500k-9000k depending on the type of shade you place your subject in.

One advantage of using flash is that we can gel it to help adjust and balance colour temperatures. The two most useful types of gels for flash are CTO’s & CTB’s, but for this blog, I will focus on the CTB.

CTB (Colour Temperature Blue) CTB gels come in varying strengths, full, half, quarter. (often called cuts) By using a half CTB gel on the flash we can convert the colour temperature from 5500 to 7900k and by setting the cameras (WB) White Balance between 7100k and 7900k we can balance the ambient light temperature and the flash temperature, thus achieving a balanced look and feel to images.

By using gels to adjust colour temperatures, it will equip you to remove or reduce the unflattering colour disparity often encountered when taking outdoor portraits in the shade.

Personally, I am still learning about colour science in relation to flash & gels, but like most things in relation to photography, you just have to experiment and practice.

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