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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 08 Sep 2017 (Friday) 11:20
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Gels for portraits under trees outdoors -- what color?

 
mdvaden
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Post edited 9 months ago by mdvaden. (2 edits in all)
     
Sep 08, 2017 11:20 |  #1

The past couple years, I've only used gels indoors to add color,. But never used gels outdoors, especially under forest trees. I found a video example on Youtube where a photographer used a thin blue gel for a portrait in relation to the ambient light. I didn't fully understand whether he chose that color more for the sunlight color peeking through, or for light that pushes through foliage. For whatever portraits I have done under trees, there appears to be a hint of green or yellow ambient going through deciduous leaves like maples. For under tall evergreens with needles, but it seems like a hint blue cast. Have any of you used gels correctively on your human subjects under evergreen trees? If so, what color gel? And did you manually set a number in your camera while shooting, or just go auto and change later in Lightroom? If you haven't, but still understand the right choice and solution, please share. Thank you ...


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Snydremark
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Sep 08, 2017 11:37 |  #2

It isn't so much to correct for light coming *through* the trees; it's to correct for the fact that shooting in shade gives you a cooler/bluer temperature of light on your subject. I would, also, use blue there, if I were needing to balance flash against shade. Of course, this is the experience of, probably 4 images taken in that scenario, ever...so, take it with a salt lick :p


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mdvaden
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Post edited 9 months ago by mdvaden.
     
Sep 08, 2017 11:45 |  #3

Snydremark wrote in post #18447340 (external link)
It isn't so much to correct for light coming *through* the trees; it's to correct for the fact that shooting in shade gives you a cooler/bluer temperature of light on your subject. I would, also, use blue there, if I were needing to balance flash against shade. Of course, this is the experience of, probably 4 images taken in that scenario, ever...so, take it with a salt lick :p

In other words, if my flash is close to 5500 K ... then adding a blue gel for people compensates them for the ambient on everything around them being lit differently.

My plans are to use barn doors, snoot or softbox to contrain the spill of light to mainly people and their clothes.


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MalVeauX
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Sep 08, 2017 11:48 |  #4

Heya,

Typical flash is around 5200k +/- a bit. That's normal daylight white balance usually. The output of my speedlites and strobes are not far from this.

If you're shooting in evening light, it will be significantly warmer. So we use CTO gels to warm up our lights to blend to ambient.
If you're shooting in morning light, or shade, it will be significantly cooler. So you can use normal flash output, or you can cool your light temps with a blue or green gel.

But a little bit goes a long way.

The other use of these gels is to get creative. You can use a blue gel for example on your light, and then correct the white balance in post so that your subject is normal white balance, and your ambient will become ultrawarm (red even). Like wise, you could use a CTO gel on your flash on subject, then white balance it so that they're normal and the ambient will be very cold temp, near blue.

Again, a little goes a long way, if you're interested in shooting in shade a lot, and you want it cooler than 5200k for your blends to ambient, then consider a partial blue (like 1/4th) or something.

I shoot in shade often and really I don't use gels in shade.
I mostly use gels (CTO) for late evening shooting to blend my cold lights to the warmer ambient.

Very best,


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RDKirk
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Sep 08, 2017 11:55 |  #5

If one's electronic flash is on the warmer side of electronic flashes and the subject is under full shade--that is, illuminated by nothing but blue sky--and the flash is being used to provide some highlighting with the skylight filling the shadows, then a light blue gel might be used to match the flash with the skylight so that the entire scene can be properly color balanced in post.

Under a tree canopy with no direct sun illumination, the usual problem is that most or all the light has been bounced (and thus "filtered") by green vegetation. In that case, a light green filter might be used for the same reason--to match the flash to the greenish light the subject is otherwise receiving.

In both cases, some experimentation should be done before actual shooting. The gels I'm talking about are Color Compensating (CC) gels, which come in very fine density gradations and more delicate hues, not Color Balancing gels.

And, to be pedantic, I'm also talking about "filters," not "gels." A gel is a filter, but technically gels are of optical quality to be usable over lenses (and are much more expensive because of that), while filters might be plastic of much less quality and expense.




  
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mdvaden
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Sep 08, 2017 11:59 |  #6

MalVeauX wrote in post #18447357 (external link)
... SNIP ... Again, a little goes a long way, if you're interested in shooting in shade a lot, and you want it cooler than 5200k for your blends to ambient, then consider a partial blue (like 1/4th) or something.

I shoot in shade often and really I don't use gels in shade.
I mostly use gels (CTO) for late evening shooting to blend my cold lights to the warmer ambient.

Very best,

Appreciate it ...

RE a "little bit" ... I noticed that one inexpensive brand of gels "Selena" had solid dark bolder colors in their product photos on Amazon. The Rogue gels looked more soft and delicate. I was thinking of going with the Rogue gel set.


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RicoTudor
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Sep 08, 2017 17:05 |  #7

mdvaden wrote in post #18447335 (external link)
For whatever portraits I have done under trees, there appears to be a hint of green or yellow ambient going through deciduous leaves like maples. For under tall evergreens with needles, but it seems like a hint blue cast. Have any of you used gels correctively on your human subjects under evergreen trees?

As you note, color temp under a tree varies with the tree and the usual ambient factors. You could suffer three or more ambient color casts, for e.g. red (ground), green (trees), blue (skylight) and amber (sunlight). Gelling the key correctively is going to be an approximation at best. For tighter color control outside, you need to be quite selective about the location and sky conditions. There's an argument for an overcast day, shooting on a concrete pad, and keeping the foliage well behind your subject. :) Of course, part of the charm of autumn is leaf color, so color cast isn't always bad!


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Gels for portraits under trees outdoors -- what color?
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