Soooo this may sound like a stupid question..


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Jun 6, 2010
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I'm very new to studio lighting, and flash photography. I've just been using natural light most of the time, mainly because I like the ending results more..But I'm going to be doing a wedding in 2011 for a friend, and was wanting more consistent lighting..Anyway...Aside from all that..

How do gels work in studio lighting? Do you put them over your flash? Obviously buying gels is much cheaper than investing in every color seamless paper, so I was curious at how these work?

If anyone could NICELY explain this to me, I would be grateful!

Thank you!
in Masters of Wedding Photography DVDs I see a lot of them actually use video camera lights instead. But they also have soemone else holding them from the side as "sunlight" or keylight

But how are you going to be using them? Are you talking about setting up a backdrop and people will stand infront of it to take pictures?? Confused a bit
Oh no..I'm just asking about Gels in general. Not planning on using them for the wedding. Just talking about using my new flash for the wedding..Also..Another question..The different colored diffusers for the flash..What exactly do they do? Anything? Obviously they make the flash less harsh, but why do they have orange and blue?
Gels main use was to correct colour in film days - ie, shooting in a fluorescent-lit room, your flash and the fluorescent tubes would be significantly different in colour temperature, so you would put the appropriate gel on your flash to "correct" it to the main lighting in the scene.

Orange = fluorescent, blue = tungsten
Ohhhh ok. But what about the gels used to change background colors?
are u planing on pointing them at the backround only or how do u plan on using them so that it changes the backround?A green screen may be a better idea with digital backdrops but that would be alot of work.
Ohhhh ok. But what about the gels used to change background colors?

Yes, you could actually buy pastics from craft stores or buy the pre-cut ones from camera stores. They will change colors. Even if they reflect or go through them. But if you want to change background color, you'll need 2 flash units. One to light up the backdrop and the other to light up the subject. Unless you want the subject to be the same color as the backdrop?
Ohhhh ok. But what about the gels used to change background colors?

Any coloured plastic - I have a stack of overhead projector transparency sheets (blue, green, red, yellow) in 8.5x11 - I just cut to fit whatever strobe/modifier I need them for. Keep in mind though that they're not really going to change the colour of the background, but rather add a colour cast to the image.
So can you put a gel over a continues lighting kit?
Ok...So I have a shoot through umbrella with a continues light..Could I put a gel over that, facing the background, and then use my SB-600 to light up the subject that's in the picture?
whatever lght you're using, you put the gel right infront of the light source and it'll light up the color.
you would have to find a way to rig it but its going to be trial and error let us know how it works (pictures please)
I am definitely going to try it! :) I'll post pictures once I do. I saw example pictures online. I think tomorrow I'm going to go to a photo store and purchase a couple gels (or just find something else) and experiment with some stuff!
Put the gel over the light-source. With speedlights, just cut a piece to fit, bend it over the flash head and hold it in place with tape or elastic. The issue with continuous lights is that they tend to get hot (even the CFLs) and if they're too close for too long, you may get some interesting melted plastic sculpture. I'm curious though, why so much interest in gels?

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