Awesome Cold Look With CTO Gel And Tweaking White Balance
A few weeks back I wrote an article about stopping down the ambient light by 2-3 stops and using flash to expose for your subject, kind of a Magic Bullet look. Today I wanted to make an addition to that article – how you can add a CTO gel to your flash and change your white balance to get a different feel and add “Whapak” to your shot.
What You’ll Need:
A DSLR, equipped with an off camera flash trigger. (I use my trusty poverty wizards – shown below – for these shots)
A Flash with a Full CTO Gel – I use rosco sun 85 gel (lightstand is optional).
How to Pull It Off:
I used the same technique of underexposing the background 2-3 stops and using my flash to correct the exposure on the subject.
This is how it looks like with the setting set “normally” i.e. white balance is set to flash.
ISO 200, 1/160 @ f18. Speedlight is @ full power. WB=FLASH.
When I put a CTO Gel on my flash it looks like this. The CTO gel cuts your flash down by about -1 stop so you have to compensate either by increasing the ISO or opening up the aperture. The subject here becomes orange because the white balance used on her is “incorrect”.
Camera and flash settings: ISO 200, 1/160 @ f13. Speedlight is at full power. WB=FLASH.
Switching the camera White Balance to Tungsten(Incandescent), to make everything bluer. Because my flash has a CTO Gel on it, it compensates for the subject orange color and makes it correct again. Basically we have aligned the strobe and camera with an orange look which pulls the rest of the image to the blue tones.
Camera and flash settings: ISO 200, 1/160 @ f13. Speedlight is at full power. WB=TUNGSTEN
The Setup Shot:
For this shoot I only had a bare sb-600 with CTO gel on a lightstand.
Without CTO Gel.WB=Flash.
With CTO Gel and WB=Tungsten.
Final Shots and Comparisons
Model is a Philippine based photographer, Jay Jay De Guzman.
Model is a Philippine based photographer, Milk Mendoza.
I actually like both options: both with compensating for the CTO gel in camera and simply leaving it as it is, getting a bit of an orangy look. But I like how changing the white balance makes everything on a colder tone, and makes your subject really pop out from your background.
Thanks to The Team. Me(Laya Gerlock aka LSG), Milk Mendoza and Jay Jay De Guzman.
Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao, Quezon City (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!