Photographing the Milky Way

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Beyond gelling and adjusting White Balance for “corrective” purposes, don’t forget that gelling and modifying Color Temperature is also huge for creative purposes. Check out the video and article below to see how I did it!

CREATING “WOWSER” IMAGES

When you have mastered the technical parts of exposure and color correct photography, then you can move on to the artistic side of lighting. When you learn how to use Gels and Color Temperature for creative effects, you can shoot beautiful and stunning imagery that wouldn’t have been possible before.

THE SCENE

We’re shooting during sunset on the beach, and my test shot is at 4500K with no flash. As soon as I took the shot with a gelled flash, I realized that I wanted the blue background and the model’s blue bikini to pop and be a stronger color in the image.

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THE CREATIVE SOLUTION

So I added a Gel on my flash and had my assistant stand to camera left with a silver reflector so I could bounce off of it. I also dialed down my Color Temperature to 3500K to allow the blue in the scene to become more dominant. Creatively modifying Color Temperature is a fantastic way to add extra dimension and interest into your images.

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BEFORE 4500K NO FLASH

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AFTER 3500K WITH GELLED FLASH

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PRIMARY TIPS

  1. Don’t light the same subject with light sources of different colors
  2. Create a clear separation between light colors. Don’t allow different colors to bleed over one another
  3. Gelling reduces power
  4. Cover entire flash head with the gel
  5. Most commonly used gels for creative lighting are orange, red, and blue gels
  6. Gels can be stacked to further alter color

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CONCLUSION

When you learn how to use Gels and Color Temperature creatively, it can yield “HOW DID YOU DO THAT?!” reactions from your clients. And as a photographer you can just tell them, “Maybe I’m born with it, maybe it’s Lighting 101,” then whip your hair and walk away.

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