Want to dramatically change your composition in camera? Use coloring and gel bounce to create dramatic result in just a few steps.

It is commonly understood that we can alter in-camera white balance for corrective adjustments, we discuss this in-depth in Lighting 101, but how do we accomplish this for creative purposes?

Why do we gel?

The two reasons we gel depend on what effect we are going for:

  1. Creative effect: a temperature throw
  2. Corrective effect: balancing the ambient light with flash & matching the existing lighting

Gel for Creative Effect

Creative coloring is when we refine color in order to create a dramatic result. First we work with our background, light our subject and if needed, refine color. In our shoot on the beach we combined a tungsten gel to maintain a warm skin town. We then cooled our white balance down (between 3500k-4200k) and utilized a silver reflector to achieve higher contrast and saturation.

In this composite image we used a CTO (color temperature orange) gel combined with a cooler white balance (2500k-4000k) to enhance the blue in the midtones. We utilized our silver bounce to act as a fill for the flash and also to create depth in the color.

Gel for Corrective Effect

Corrective coloring is different from creative in that we want to match the direction of light but change the quality and color of the light. In this image, we placed a tungsten gel on our flash to adjust for the green tint on our couple coming from a nearby building. We then used, you guessed it, a silver reflector to simulate the same direction of light found in the scene to create a cleaner and brighter light source than the pre-existing light.

Still struggling with the characteristics of light? Here is a quick explanation on one of the four components of light – color:

For more lighting tips & tricks, check out SLR Lounge Premium where you can stream Lighting 101 & 201 in full!

CHAPTER GETTING OVER THE FEAR, HYPE, & MYTHS

CHAPTER 2: THE BASICS OF FLASH

CHAPTER 3 UNDERSTANDING LIGHT

CHAPTER 4: ON-CAMERA FLASH GEAR BASICS

Chapter 5: DIRECT FLASH DONE RIGHT

Chapter 6: STUDIO LIGHT? JUST BOUNCE IT!

Chapter 7: MORE LIGHTS, REFINEMENT, & CREATIVITY

Chapter 8: CASE STUDIES

Chapter 9: BONUS CHAPTERS

Total Course Run Time: 8H 17M 4S