Using color gels

Started 5 months ago | Questions
Pixelthinker New Member • Posts: 5
Using color gels

I want to explore using color gels in my photography. Looking online it seems most gel kits include barn doors. Paul Buff for example. I’d prefer to use gels with an umbrella or diffuser so the light fall off isn’t harsh.

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

ANSWER:
Rico Tudor Contributing Member • Posts: 845
Re: Using color gels

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

No idea what kits you're considering. Barn doors and gels are distinct lighting treatments.

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JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Using color gels

I use Rosco gels / filters. They may or may not meet your needs.

https://us.rosco.com/en/product/roscolux

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Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 7,443
Re: Using color gels

Pixelthinker wrote:

I want to explore using color gels in my photography. Looking online it seems most gel kits include barn doors. Paul Buff for example. I’d prefer to use gels with an umbrella or diffuser so the light fall off isn’t harsh.

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

Using strobes with barndoors you are still able to use an umbrella. Two problems: you need to punch a hole in the gel for the umbrella shaft and if your model light is incandescent, it must be turned off unless your gel is heat resistant.

You can also just fix the gels to the standard reflector with C-47s. Different strobes are configured differently, so gelling without barndoors can take some ingenuity.

With speedlights you just tape the gel in front of the fresnel lens.

If your main light is a large softbox and the other lights use smaller modifiers, you can gel the smaller lights and shoot raw, and then push the white balance to create a coloured main light.

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flyinglentris
flyinglentris Senior Member • Posts: 1,347
Re: Using color gels

Pixelthinker wrote:

I want to explore using color gels in my photography. Looking online it seems most gel kits include barn doors. Paul Buff for example. I’d prefer to use gels with an umbrella or diffuser so the light fall off isn’t harsh.

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

There are two main reasons for using color filters, either on lenses or on lighting, 1) Color Corrections and 2) Special Effects.

Color Corrections on lighting may be best applied to mixed lighting situations where you need to balance alternate color temperatures from more than two light sources, so that you can better correct in post processing.    Without the adjustments using filters, that task would be nearly impossible.    Note that many will argue that otherwise there is no reason to color filter correct, as the camera has feature built in to do that sort of thing.  But its a photographer,s choice.

Special Effects is ultimately a photographer's choice based on their creative vision of what their results should achieve.

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Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 7,443
Re: Using color gels

flyinglentris wrote:

Pixelthinker wrote:

I want to explore using color gels in my photography. Looking online it seems most gel kits include barn doors. Paul Buff for example. I’d prefer to use gels with an umbrella or diffuser so the light fall off isn’t harsh.

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

There are two main reasons for using color filters, either on lenses or on lighting, 1) Color Corrections and 2) Special Effects.

Color Corrections on lighting may be best applied to mixed lighting situations where you need to balance alternate color temperatures from more than two light sources, so that you can better correct in post processing. Without the adjustments using filters, that task would be nearly impossible. Note that many will argue that otherwise there is no reason to color filter correct, as the camera has feature built in to do that sort of thing. But its a photographer,s choice.

Special Effects is ultimately a photographer's choice based on their creative vision of what their results should achieve.

The Strobist about the colours of ligth ... and there's also a link to an essay by Sara Lando on what she learned by being an assistant to Gregory Heisler for a week.

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Guillermo Shashte Senior Member • Posts: 1,011
Re: Using color gels

Pixelthinker wrote:

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

Barndoors are manufactured with gel holders because they are very useful for people who know how to use them and the additional cost for the manufacturer is minimal.

I want to explore using color gels in my photography. Looking online it seems most gel kits include barn doors. Paul Buff for example. I’d prefer to use gels with an umbrella or diffuser so the light fall off isn’t harsh.

Old school people don't have that problem. Barndoors are used with light panels to create a diffused hard light, a diffused soft light  or anything in between.

For umbrella, just tape the gel over the strobe Fresnel or flash tube, like this:

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GS

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FuzzyKeys Regular Member • Posts: 299
Re: Using color gels

I have always wondered about that method. Those gels with the vent holes would be pretty easy to reverse engineer. Is it safe to do with regular Lee and Rosco gels on strobes that have LED modeling lights such as the Godox units?

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Joe Wisenheimer
Joe Wisenheimer New Member • Posts: 17
Re: Using color gels

Pixelthinker wrote:

I want to explore using color gels in my photography. Looking online it seems most gel kits include barn doors. Paul Buff for example. I’d prefer to use gels with an umbrella or diffuser so the light fall off isn’t harsh.

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

Barn doors do what barn doors do - shape and flag light.

If you want to change the color, you add a gel.

Buff Light Mods offer a convenient way to add a barn door and / or a gel. Or as has been explained, C47 aka clothes pin a gel to standard 7" reflector.

Want to add an umbrella? Punch a hole in the gel. Still need a reflector or a way to put gel in front of light source.

And lots cheaper to buy like this or this is so you can cut and shape as needed. Not cheap to waste money on no name junk,  buy Lee or Rosco

Dan W Regular Member • Posts: 360
Re: Using color gels
1

Pixelthinker wrote:

I want to explore using color gels in my photography. Looking online it seems most gel kits include barn doors. Paul Buff for example. I’d prefer to use gels with an umbrella or diffuser so the light fall off isn’t harsh.

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

Bard doors are useful if you want to have more control what the light hits. Just depends on what you're doing and how much control you need.

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OP Pixelthinker New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Using color gels

I’ll try that. Thanks.

OP Pixelthinker New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Using color gels

Ok that explains the barn doors then. Thank you! I’ll try gel the method you showed.

JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Using color gels
1

Pixelthinker wrote:

What’s the reasoning behind using barn doors with gels?

I found an example where my photography assistant and I were setting up lighting for a shoot where I used primary color gels that drop into the barn door fixtures. The test shot is below.

I used different gels to change the color of the backdrop to see which colors might be complimentary to the person, an Asian woman like my assistant, I would be shooting based upon the outfits she was bringing to the shoot.

I only used gels occasionally but they did add some value from time to time. I preferred to use the appropriate background paper color instead.

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Rico Tudor Contributing Member • Posts: 845
Re: Using color gels

My example uses gels to balance xenon flash (key) to match the ambient fluorescents (fill):

Gel pack fits into a slot of the lighting fixture. I didn't employ the accessory barndoors for this shot, and they don't hold filters anyway.

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Ed Shapiro
Ed Shapiro Regular Member • Posts: 368
Re: Using color gels

Coloured gels have a simple function, they colour the light for a strong colour effect, a tint, or a colour correction (cooling or warming) issue.  A company like Rosco has hundreds of colours of clear and diffused gels for a wide variety of effects.

Bard dorrs are meant for light shaping and control- the act as a gobo- a go-between, built on or added to your lighting device to subtract or block part of the beam for more precise control. They are most often use with light units equipped with parabolic reflectors, Fresnel and p[tical; spotlights as these kids of light are aimed directly at the subject. They can be used on softboxes but that can be rather cumbersome.

Oftentimes, the adapter used to attach the barn doors to the lighting unit have a slot to accommodate gels and diffusion materials.

If you want to use gels in conjunction with umbrella bounce techniques you simply add the gel to the primary light unit and aim it into the umbrella so as to fill the reflective area of the umbrella - edge to edge. A richly colour filter will absorb light so you need enough power for adequate practical exposure.  Barn doors usually have no utility in umbrella lighting.

Google Rosco photographic materials and find a local distributor or your nearest supplier. They will send you a free swatch book of sample gels.

Ed Shapiro- Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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