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Workflow with gels

Sridhar125Sridhar125 Member
edited March 2013 in flash & lighting
So I was testing the spin360 flash accessory inserting the provided warm gel filter, with bounce flash and using my son as a test. So first image is directly what it looked like in LR3 and in the second image I set my white balance based on door behind him. Now, the second image does not look like night at all...So I guess my question is, how to achieve the feeling of
shooting in night light without an unwanted color cast ? I understand that by placing a gel on the flash, I am balancing the WB of flash to be more in line with the incandescent light, but what is the normal workflow after that ? Do we then tweak the WB till it appears close to what we want ?



  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited March 2013
    You are on the right track. When shooting without a gel your subject which is lit by the flash will have a different WB than people lit by incandescent in the background. When you gel people within the flashes range and the people in the background will have the same WB.

    So a wedding reception for instance. Without a gel. The brides dress will be white because she was within the flashes range which overpowered the ambient light. Flash is about 5200 Kelvin. Her mother who is standing 15 feet behind her and is wearing a white sweater will look orange because of the ambient light which is about 2900 Kelvin. She was out of the flashes range and was lit by incandescent light.

    If you gel your flash you can match the ambient. If you shoot in RAW you can set it to anywhere between 2800 and 3800 - depending on the gel and if it is his half or full. I just do that for visual confirmation when I'm shooing and it really does not matter until PP. Correct subject exposure is the most important thing at this point.

    So if you don't gel you can correct the WB for either the brides dress or for the mothers sweater during PP. One will be white and the other orange or vice versa. It can be done manually but it is a lot of work. If you gel both are balanced and WB correction is easy during PP because it is across the board. Both the dress and sweater will be white after you select the correct temperature.

  • Thanks Zenon for your reply. I guess my question is, if my ambient (1st picture) is around 2800 and I am gelling my flash, why was the WB of the first picture around 4000+ ? In the 2nd picture I brought it down to 2700, which rendered the whole image as if it was daylight.

    I guess what I expected was that I would *NOT* have to modify the WB if I gel my flash.

  • ZenonZenon Member
    I don't know why it was at 4000. Did you set it at 4000 or was the camera on Auto WB? I always have to modify mine. I set my camera colour temp to about 3200 for a full CTS and about 3800 for a 1/2 CTS. I always have to fine tune during PP because I don't know what the actual colour temperature of the incandescent lights are and every place is different.

  • ZenonZenon Member
    I had to step out for a minute. It is good that you are testing but you may not see the full benefits of a gel in that situation. The child is pretty close to the back wall and a flash is pretty powerful for standard sized room. You really see it at a larger event when there are white objects about 15 feet or farther away.
  • So, I keep my WB always at auto. I checked my file and by default it came in at 4650. Good point about setting the WB manually. I will try that next time. Thanks for your time.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited March 2013
    No problem. Sorry for misunderstanding your question first time around. When you gel you need to match the ambient light temperature. Much easier than changing all the lights to match your flashes temperature :) You can leave it on Auto if you want because the beauty of RAW is it lets you correct it during PP. I just find it is more pleasing to the eye as I'm shooting. I figure it most people do as well.
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