Proper color balance is one of those things that can go unappreciated and even unnoticed when it’s done right. But when it does go wrong, it’s apparent even to the untrained eye; and it can ruin an otherwise good or even great picture.
The Sticky Filter website describes it well on their site. “We have all seen it – the green background and the subject’s goofy yellow hair of images shot under fluorescent lighting; the orange glow of the background of images shot under tungsten light sources; even the aqua-blue color cast of images shot with a flash outdoors in the shade or under a hazy overcast sky at the beach ¦ Digital cameras have the unique ability to correct for various lighting conditions by using a feature called “Auto White Balance”. But only if you don’t use the flash! When the flash is used it automatically introduces a 2nd light source of a different color temperature (the white light of the flash) into the scene. Auto White Balance can only correct for one light source.
Mastering your color balance can really take your photography to the next level. When you know how to intentionally play with mixed lighting for creative effects, create color matched hair lights, or simply produce consistent, natural-looking photography, the quality of your photography will increase and your creative world opens up.
That’s where filters for your flash come into play. When it comes to flash filters (sometimes referred to as gels), you have a few different options. You can buy precut gels that you stick on your flashes with tape or Velcro, you can buy sheets of gels and you cut up and secure onto your flash with tape or Velcro, you can buy color balanced diffusers, or you can use Sticky Filters, precut Flash Gels with an adhesive side that sticks right onto the top of the flash.
Creators: Midsouth Photographic Specialties
Variations: 0, 2″ x 3.25″ for Speedlights, 0.5″ x 1.5″ for point-and-shoots and small pop-up flashes.
Where to buy: Amazon, Adorama, stickyfilters.com
Official Website: http://stickyfilters.com/
Material: Tear Resistant Polyester
Comes with: Two sets of filters. Each set comes in five different colors: Tungsten Bulb, .5 Tungsten Bulb, Cool Fluorescent, Unknown Fluorescent, and Hazy / Open Shade, labeled with the same white balance icons as digital cameras.
Quality: The sticky filters are made of durable, high-quality polyester.
Lifetime Warranty: Even Sticky Filters realizes that “over time, as you use the Sticky Filters, they will become worn and may lose their sticking ability. To compensate, the company offers a lifetime warranty. If one filter damaged or loses its stickiness, you send it in; and in the mean time, you have a spare to use while waiting for a replacements. More information about their trade-in is found here: http://stickyfi.startlogic.com/page9.html.
Convenient and Need Packaging: The Sticky Filters is packaged in a clear, foldable wallet. This looks much cleaner and professional than crumpled up sheets pulled from your pocket; and it’s easy to store in your bag or carry on your person.
Convenience: The stickiness of the filters allows you to apply the filter without having to use Velcro. When using Velcro, you may find yourself in a situation where you forget to place Velcro on one of your flashes, as you probably carry around multiple flash units. Having an adhesive side avoids this potential issue.
Full Contact: If you check out the image below with the Velcro, you can see that there is not full contact between the filter and the flash head. This can lead to unfiltered light creeping out from the sides, which makes it hard to control the exact color temperature of the light. Compared this to the image above, where you see at the adhesive side is completely flat against the flash head.
Price: Sticky Filters will by no means break the bank. At just under $50, it’s really a small price to pay for a good product. However, it’s also important to note that there are cheaper options that can save you anywhere from $10 to $40. However, you’ll have to keep in mind the pros and cons mentioned in this article. Also, remember the fact that it’s hard to put a price on the lifetime warranty.
Using filters is a great way to differentiate your photography and increase the quality of your photographs. Sticky filters is an excellent, high quality, well thought-out product that allows you use filters without the hassle of attaching Velcro or tape to every one of your flashes. The secure fit over the flash head prevents light from spilling out of the sides, giving you full control of the color temperature; and they are, overall, a cleaner, more professional look than the Gels attached by Velcro. These are our thoughts on the product; but we would love to hear what you have to say in the comments below.