For far too long, I didn't experiment with gels. I was interested in artificial lighting early one and I experimented by using LED torches and lamps around my house before I even bought my first flash. However, I didn't really know what I'd use gels for. It was until a few years later, when I was trying to setup my first organized shoots, that I had looks in my mind that could not be achieved without gels. I ordered some — they're very cheap — and was blown away by how dramatically they can change an image instantly.
I have used gels for both soft and hard lighting for varying effects. For example, I have used orange gels with soft lighting to simulate golden hour on indoor shoots. Alternatively, I've used red and blue gels with hard lighting to give a punchy, stylized and less natural look. Introducing color into a shoot can be transformative, particularly if the location you're shooting in is a little plain, such as a studio or white backdrop.
How do you use gels in your work? Share your experiences in the comment section below.