Color gel photography has been around since the early 1800’s, but the process is really not that different from old-fashioned black and white photography. Here are 10 tips to help you create a successful photo session.
Table of Contents
1. Do your research.
It’s essential to understand the capabilities of your equipment and the best settings for the color gel you are using. Look online and in camera manual for information and to check if there are any additional features you may need to use.
2. Prepare your gel for each session.
Do this by soaking it overnight in warm water. If your gel has a specific recipe, follow that. Otherwise, make up your own recipe.
3. Select the right type of gel for you.
Remember that the color gel you choose will determine how the colors of your image appear. There are three basic types:
Matte gels are designed to create a smooth surface on top of the film. They offer no depth and create images that look flat. Matte gels are ideal for portraits and large group shots.
Translucent gels are transparent in appearance. The colors of the scene appear through the gel, giving a more three-dimensional effect. Translucent gels are excellent for landscapes and close-up shots.
Opaque gels are completely opaque. They are most commonly used for black and white photography, and can also be used to create dramatic effects.
4. Light your gel.
When shooting outdoors, try placing a piece of paper with light on it in front of the gel. This will allow you to see what the gel is doing, making it easier to adjust the lighting. When shooting indoors, use a lamp. If you are unsure what the best setting is, check the manual.
5. Use a tripod.
It is possible to shoot a color gel with your camera on a stand, but it will likely cause your photos to be less sharp than they would be on a tripod.
Try various color gels to see what effects they have. Some will work better than others with certain subjects, and this will be reflected in the results. Keep in mind that the gel is what will make the colors of the image.
7. Take a few test shots.
Take a few test shots with each gel. This will allow you to see how they work for you, so you can then make adjustments accordingly.
Practice, practice, practice. Practice your poses, your compositions, and the angles you want to use. You can do this with friends, family, and even your pets.
9. Have fun.
Having a good time and enjoying yourself will make for great memories. Try to shoot with people you enjoy being around. Don’t be afraid to let loose and have some fun. It’s what will keep you in the moment and keep you inspired.
10. Share your photos.
Once you have finished your session, don’t wait until the last minute to share your work. If you are sending a professional print to a client, post your digital file along with the print. If you are sending a print to friends and family, send it as a digital file, as well as the print.
We hope you enjoyed our blog posts, feel free to drop us a line with your comments and questions.