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Chapter One. Using Flash Like a Pro: If ... > Using Gels (& Why You Need Them)

Using Gels (& Why You Need Them)

The light from your flash is always the same color—white. It’s nice, bright, white light, which is great in most circumstances, but what if you’re doing a portrait of someone in an office, or you’re shooting in a locker room, or in a meeting room? Well, that’s a problem, because the color of the light from your flash won’t match the color of the lighting in the room, which is exactly why some flashes (like the Nikon SB-900) actually come with pre-cut gels that slide right onto the flash to let you change the color of your flash’s light, so it matches the rest of the lighting in the room. (Note: If you have a Canon flash, you can buy a large sheet of Rosco CTO gel for around $6.50 from B&H Photo. You’ll have to cut it down in size so it fits over your flash head, but at least you’ll have a huge supply of them, whereas Nikon only gives you one.) Amateurs don’t worry about this, because they’re going to just overpower the light in the room, right? But since you now know the pro tricks of how to balance the light from your flash with the ambient light already existing in the room, you’ll need to do this next step, but believe me, for the 20 seconds it takes to slide that gel into place—it’s worth it. You’d use a yellow gel for balancing your flash color with incandescent light (the standard light found in homes), and a green gel for balancing the light if you’re shooting under fluorescent lights, like the ones found in most office interiors (Rosco makes those, too). Just pop that tiny gel into your diffusion dome, and you’re ready to go!


  

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