Gels and Collaboration

December 13, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Gels and Collaboration

There are volumes of information available to allow artist to use Gelled light sources such as this one from Lindsay Adler.  This post is not to repeat this information in a short blog post which one could easily learn from a little research on the web. Many of these tutorials review color theory, lighting setups, which modifiers and choosing particular gels.

While this information is essential to getting good results, collaborating with your talent is a step that some of the tutorials miss. Discussing concept(s) with your talent is always a good idea, but certain concepts such as gel photography may need a little more communication upfront before the day of the shoot.

Are you using your Gel as a main light, a fill light, a rim light? Will you be using more that one colored gel? Are you using hard light or diffused light? Warm or cool colors?  While these questions seem to focus around how the photographer designs the set, it will also influence how your talent interacts with the set.

For example, what clothing will your talent bring? What accessories will your talent use? What type of make-up should your model prepare? Do you want your talent to have natural or gelled colors on their skin? If you decide you would like a warm color palate and your talent brings outfits that have a cooler tone to them, it may require some last minute adjustments. Make-up can certainly be a consideration not only for colors, but how the makeup is applied in some cases.

Color wheelColor wheel Remember the old adage, when you assume, it makes an A** out of U and Me.  Don't assume simply because you may have hired an experienced model that the talent understand color relationships.  This is even more important with a subject who may have never posed for this type of concept in the past. It can be amazing if you present the same color swatch to several people, you may get several different answers as to what they believe the color represents!

Sending images through email or worse yet, cell phone images can lead one down a dark path. Your talent may be viewing your messages on a display that may make red look orange  or green to appear to be a shade of blue.


In the perfect world, photographers would provide their talent with all the wardrobe needed in any color and size that may be desired as well as have an expert makeup artist on set to match the palate perfectly.  Well, we can only dream, but in most cases this is far from reality. While there is no perfect answer, asking your talent to bring multiple outfits and avoid extremes of makeup make may your concept flow a little smoother.

One final mention regarding post processing. There are many ways to adjust colors and luminosity in photoshop and other editing programs. One of the quickest and easiest method to try if you don't seem to have effect that you wish is to try to change the white balance.  Depending on your image, the effect may be subtle or rather dramatic.














No comments posted.

January (8) February (8) March (9) April (8) May (8) June (5) July (1) August September October November December
January (3) February (1) March April May June July August September October November December