Color gels are a lot of fun to work with and when done well can add a certain oomph to your photo. It can also be intimidating and hard to get just right. And when I say just right, even that itself is very subjective. Some people prefer it to be subtle while others want the color to dominate in the image. There are also photographers who only use it for color balancing.
Colors in an image can help tell a story or establish the mood. Adding in a gel allows you to craft the precise mood you want to bring across in your images.
Personally, I don't use color gels very often but when I do, I like it pretty strong. It's really up to personal taste, as for me, I seem to be really drawn to either red or blue.
I shot this set awhile back as a test to play around with color gels.
For this shoot, my main light was a silver umbrella. Right in front of the model, I place a light that was gelled blue pointed down to hit a reflector place on the floor. This was to reflect back up on the model to fill the shadows without being too harsh. Behind her on the right, I placed a light gelled red for rim light. I also had one more light gelled red for background light.
Behind the scenes:
After doing some skin editing, I used Pratik's newest color grading tool, the Infinite Color Panel to tone my images.
(original, round 1, round 2)
This add-on tool is really helpful in coming up with color combinations that I would not have thought of. It was also really easy to use and helped me push the image even further.
Color gels can give your work a whole new life and you should try it if you haven't! Let me know what you think!