It’s one of my favorite photography tools: the simple colored gel. Not only can it improve the color balance of your image, it can dramatically boost your visual impact when used to add touches of color to your shot.
Named for the colored gelatin that was once used to cast color in theater lighting, gels can be a valuable tool in your lighting kit. Today’s gels have come a long way from the heat-sensitive gelatin from days of yore and even more so from the simple glass of red wine that was used before that. They are available in a variety of colors and sizes, they are affordable, and they can really give a kick to your images.
In this video brought to you by Sekonic, the makers of top light meters, photographer Ab Sesay walks us through how he meters his lights in a three-light setup. After a quick demonstration of the necessary lighting adjustments, he then takes us through the steps needed to meter the strobes to get the most color saturation out of the gelled lights. The result is a deeply saturated background that adds lots of interest to the image.
Be it for color correction, subtle strokes of color touching bathing your subject’s skin, or bold blasts of color for a high-key look, the use of colored gels in lighting your photography is an excellent way to add pop and interest to an image. What are your favorite ways to use colored gels on your studio lighting? Share your experience in the comments!