Help with flash gels...


TPF Noob!
Sep 6, 2014
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Hello -

Flash gels are something new for me but I've realized their benefit and need some insight from more experienced users. I do not use flash for every shot....I use a reflector when I can but there are often times I can't reflect light and need the speed light for fill. I shoot raw and use AWB because my location/light constantly changes and it is just faster. I do realize my WB setting does affect my preview and histogram but it is not practical to change my WB for every shot especially because I really could be wrong in my best temperature guess anyway.

Most of my photos are outdoor portraits so my light changes a lot. I usually start about 2 hours before sunset and shoot in various locations within one session so sometimes I'm in shade, sometimes sun, sometimes clouds are in and out etc.

When sun is out and I'm shooting at "Golden" hour times, I've been using one of the CTO gels (full, 1/2, or 1/4) and it's great. I have not ventured into the CTB gels yet but am wondering if I should when I'm in shade or it's cloudy ??? I can sometimes see a difference in temperature between my flash and ambient light when it is close to sunset and I'm in shade or it's cloudy.

If I should use blue in those situations, I feel like I would constantly be changing my gels between shots and that would be cumbersome and I am open to suggestions.

Anyway, I think I'm okay with the CTO gels in late day sun but need info about the others, primarily blue at this time.

Thanks Much for any help.
If you are making Raw files Raw doesn't have a white balance.
If you're not making Raw files you are seriously limiting post process quality and options.

You're smarter and more adaptable than your inanimate machines (camera/flash) are.
For a lot more control when using flash I would recommend you choose the white balance rather than using AWB.
Get a color wheel.

When I shot portraits outside using flash I put a CTO gel on the flash unit and set my white balance to Tungsten.
That makes the light from the flash look like sunlight in the photo, but the background takes on a nice cool light shade of blue because of the Tungsten WB setting.
Consequently, the subject really pops from the background because of the nice warm flesh tones against the cool blue background.

Strobist: Lighting 101: Using Gels to Correct Light
How To Color Balance Your Flash With Gels - Digital Photography School

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