On Using Gels

Coloring the Light

Oftentimes photographers “gel” their lights in order to change the color of their lights. There are a variety of gels widely available for purchase–from the Rosco gel sheets that you have to figure out how to attach to your light sources, to the Profoto gels that fit snuggly over Profoto light sources.

I have a set of gels that I sometimes use for the background and/or the subject.

Without promoting any particular brand, here’s my take: I find the Rosco gel sheets quite useful and quite affordable. They come in a rainbow of colors, hence, offering a wide variety of colors and color combinations to experiment with. On the other hand, there’s no snap-on way of attaching the gels, as it is with the Profoto gel filters, for example. With Rosco, especially if you do not want to cut the gel sheets, you might want to get creative when placing them in front of your lights. For example, I use clothespins to attach my gel sheets to the edges of my light modifiers–umbrellas, softboxes, and strip lights.

Here are a few images I’ve captured in the studio while using gels to add color to the backdrop:

The studio shots published with this A&U article were also captured while using gels to enhance/change the color of the backdrop.

Photographing Men. ©Alina Oswald.
In the above image, the striplight reflected in my subject’s sunglasses was my main light. I used the second light as background light and gelled it with two Rosco gel sheets of different colors. (you can also use three gel sheets, depending on the length of your strip light)

I always love trying out new ideas. It’s worth the try.

As always, thanks for stopping by,

Alina Oswald

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