Light Test – Using Gels


It’s always good to test new techniques and gear whenever you get the chance. A few days ago I had an urge to start playing around with gels for our lights. For those who don’t know, gels are essentially translucent sheets of paper that are toned different colours to give your strobes a different colour temperature. For this shoot I wanted to play around with a CTO gel (orange) and some blue gels to experiment with complimentary colours. Luckily enough my good friend mark was willing to pose for a few minutes and I think we came away with a cool style that Cooper and O’Hara will definitely be using in the future.

Lighting Diagram
Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetA few Sample Images


Things to Note

1. My drawings are very “Abstract.” Therefore some of you might call it bad or illegible, but I assure you it is a stylistic choice. 🙂

2. We used speedlights for this shoot opposed to our original Paul C Buff lights because they were small and light allowing us to quickly set up the shoot. We also had more small gels than large ones.

3. Gels come in 1/4 1/2 and full. 1/4 will have the least amount of colour. You don’t have to be good at math to use gels as no one actually knows which gel to use; it is just a personal choice. That being said 1/4 CTO is a good way to start as it adds just a little bit of colour to skin.

4. The key to this shoot is Mark. If you don’t have a Mark I highly suggest getting one as your images won’t look as good without one. (Kaihla, his girlfriend/fellow photographer, would probably agree with me.)


Often times it becomes very easy to overlook the small things that will lead to self improvement at your craft. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a photographer, or any other creative. You can always be improving your craft. It is just a matter of setting aside time and committing to it. It is also amazingly freeing to do something for yourself.

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