Do you use gels to add color to your photos? Jay P. Morgan shows you four different ways to use them, but with a twist – he focuses on adding color only to the shadows. By using gels, he achieves the desired effect in camera. Some of these four methods can work for you too, and they’re great ways to minimize the time you spend editing the photos.
Here is a great tool to add to your lighting toolbox, controlling lights with gels. It’s not about making the light hard or soft, it’s different of control, one that allows playing with color relations. And While there is quite a bit you can do with gels in general, today I am going to focus on controlling backdrop color.
There is a way to get three looks using only two lights and a gray backdrop. If we take this concept and expand it, we can use gels to control the background. We can actually mimic quite an infinite number of backdrops. Instead of using two studio strobes like I did in the last tutorial, for this lesson I’m going to be using three speedlights. The reason I wanted to use speedlights rather than studio strobes is because I got a handful of questions about whether or not the 3 in1 headshot could be done with more basic gear. In order to lay those concerns to rest I wanted to get back to basics and use some of the least expensive gear on the market to prove that you can get some great images with very inexpensive gear.
There’s a lot of DIY solutions out there for big diffusers, and such. Most of them with either wooden or PVC pipe frame. While PVC pipe is certainly lighter than wood, it’s rather flexible, and are still kinda bulky if you need several of them. In the studio, this isn’t usually a problem. But, if you need to get them out on location, you often need them to be as light as possible and take up little room.
Over at Cheesycam, though, they’ve come up with a great lightweight solution to the problem using screen door & window panels. The system uses aluminium struts, with plastic brackets on the corners. For a quick lightweight solution that packs up small, it’s a great option.
There is a progression that takes place in the journey that is our lighting knowledge. At first it is learning the ways of ambient light (read: I don’t want to buy a flash). As our career progresses we decide to buy our first flash and throw that sucker straight on the camera, only to question why the shadows on faces are gone… along with the artistic merit. Soon after that we discover a site like Strobist and point the flash at the ceiling and realize our first “Eureka” moment as a photographer. From there we buy our first off camera strobes and it is all downhill…
One of the biggest issues for those looking to expand their lighting setup is colour consistency. Even expensive ones can be very slightly out from each other. Even within a single brand, different models or generations of light can also be a little different to each other. But the problem is especially so with cheap LED lights, which often have huge colour shifts.
There are ways to work around this, though, and this video from Tony Reale over at Creative Edge shows us how. It does take some experimentation and work, though. But, once you’ve done it, you’ll know exactly how far out from each other each of your lights are. Then you’ll be able to quickly correct those colour shifts in the future before you’ve even turn the lights on.
Using coloured gels with speedlights has become pretty common. Many people who shoot with speedlights have given it a go at least a couple of times. But speedlights are quite easy to gel. All you need is a small strip of gel which you then gaffer tape over the front of the head. Studio strobes, though, are a different matter entirely. They’re not flat on the front like speedlights, and they project light in all directions.
You could, of course, just cover the entire front of your softbox with a massive gel sheet. But that can get expensive if you use many different colours. So, what can we do? Photographer Robert Hall shows us two options in this video on the Godox AD600 strobe. The first is the way he has been doing things, although it does have a problem. White light is still able to come out of the front, without a second piece of gel attached. One of his viewers sent him a solution to try that seems to work brilliantly.
I knew the second I had the email come through offering me the chance to review Jake’s latest tutorial that I was going to be in for a marathon of content. RGG EDU are renowned for 20+ hour slabs of content and this is the first time I’ve delved in with a professional capacity for writing about it.
I recently got my hands on some of Jake Hicks’s gels from Amersham Studios that are made by Lee Filters and hand picked by Jake Hicks for their placement and ability to work together based on his preference and experience.
Now that I’ve had them in my possession I can honestly say 2 things:
Man are they handy,
Creativity opens up.
Shooting on location with flash is one of the fun parts of portrait photography for me. But, depending on the lighting conditions where you’re shooting, your flash may not be putting out the same colour as the ambient light. This means that while your subject may appear perfect, the environment can appear very cool or warm.
In this video, photographer Robert Hall explains the problem how it happens. It’s an easy problem to fix, all you need is a few gels, and Robert shows us how.
I’m going to preface this by saying that this isn’t a lens review article, there are many photographers better suited for this topic, so if you’re after refraction index comparisons and chromatic aberration charts this article probably isn’t for you. This article is however my personal thoughts on three Nikon zoom lenses and their resulting images but also a broader look at how we as photographers covet lenses and other photographic gear. Is the latest and greatest piece of kit actually worth the investment?