Color gels have gone somewhat out of trend–perhaps because people equate them with the gaudy type that they used in the 1970s and 1980s. However, color gels can create a variety of looks and can be a very handy tool in a photographer’s arsenal. The typical studio system is all about white lights, diffusers, etc. but color is the one thing that lets the portraits stand out. They bring a lot of imagery to the portraits, and they’re one of the cheapest accessories you can get. So, stick with us to know more about gel fashion photography and the workshop which was held on 11th August 2019.


Color gels are translucent sheets used to adjust photographic and film lighting. They come in a range of colors. They allow you to define and monitor the light in an image with a flash device, which is where the magic of photography really happens. Color gels are usually sold in rolls or sheets, which are then cut to the right size. But, because photographic lighting is much smaller, several manufacturers are selling small kits. These are often made up of unique heat-resistant plastics owing to the exceptionally high temperatures of photographic lighting.


There are basically two types of Color Gels that are popularized in the Gel Fashion Culture:

  • Color Correction Gels.
  • Color-effect Gels.


Color correction gels are tinted to correct both daylight and tungsten sources. CTB (Color Temperature Blue) transforms tungsten light to daylight color, while CTO (Color Temperature Orange) transforms daylight-balanced sources to tungsten. 

Color correction gels come into the picture when you use several light sources, such as a fill-in flash in a tungsten-lit space, or a combination of continuous tungsten lights and flashlights in the studio. Flash and tungsten lights have somewhat different color temperatures, which offer you various color casts. Tungsten light creates a rather orange color and on the other hand, the flash has a blue hue. 

One solution to this issue is to change the white balance of your camera to its tungsten settings. This brings a blue hue to the picture to neutralize the orange color of the tungsten. However, if you use studio flashlights as well, the blue lights will also be added to the equation, leaving you in a cold, extremely blue image. That is where the gels of color correction come into action. You can balance the color of the tungsten lighting by applying an orange color correction gel on your flash. This implies that now that the camera’s white balance is set to tungsten, you’ll be able to neutralize the orange color to create a neutrally balanced shot.


Color-effect gels are used to purposely tint the light to create a certain atmosphere, mood, or dramatic condition in a picture. The combinations of different colors are used subtly or dramatically to create customized lighting conditions. Colored gels can be very helpful to recreate natural light during other times of the day. They can be used at home by placing a flashgun and gel outside a window or in a doorway on a stand and utilizing this light to produce various effects, although it can offer you improved results if you use them in a studio. Only make sure you have a gray backdrop because it offers a neutral color for the gels to operate on.


Colored gel photography is also referred to as the ‘Color gel technique.’ Colored Gel Photography is one of the methods that has been proven to enhance the details of a person or a specific setup. Most of the time, colored gel photography is used as a component of portrait photography where it twists or alters the settings of the lighting over and over again. It is actually the reflection and repetition of color that makes this process different and its unique nature that manages to transform photos into stunning creations.


This is the most critical aspect where you’ll need to be sure that the gel is properly stuck to the strobe. A strobe light is a device used to generate frequent flashes of light. It is also known as a stroboscopic lamp. However, you have to make sure that there is no white light getting through. If you don’t do it carefully, you’ll find that there’s a large, noticeable white spot where the gel isn’t attached. The simplest and safest way to achieve so is to use gaffer tape. Gaffers tape is perhaps the most inexpensive and easy option for gel attachment. It’s the only type of tape that is particularly suited for this. To take some idea, look at how the mentor has stuck the gaffer tape to the strobe. Other tapes may melt. It’s always going to stick even if the flash gets hot after the constant shooting. Make sure that the gel completely covers the light and that no white light can escape from the sides. Spilled white light can easily undo the impact of a color gel. 

It is suggested to make a shape of a cone with the gel if you are using a strobe on high power settings to prevent the gel from melting. For larger modifiers, such as Softboxes and Octoboxes, just attach the gel inside the strobe. 


Lower the power output of the strobe if you have a highly saturated color. On the other hand, increase the power output if you prefer a more subtle and light color. Specific subjects can often consume more or less color depending on items such as the clothes and the color of their skin. Moreover, keep in mind that gels absorb some light, and for a similar exposure to light that is not colored, you’ll want to improve the power output of your strobe.


If you’re ready to start experimenting with the colored gels and practice this type of photograph in your next shoot, you’ll need:

1. Strobes and flashes

“ A GBGS Strobe light” Photo Courtesy – Amazon

You might already have those. Continuous lighting devices will also work, but you must be vigilant and make sure that the higher temperature of the lamp would not melt the gels, which, in effect, would destroy the bulb. 

2. Color Gel

You should purchase the best color gels for photography. You can buy color gels from Easymall and Amazon. They are inexpensive & last longing at the same instant.


One point to keep in mind is that the color from the lights that have been gelled will show more in the shadow areas of a shot. The gelled light can then be positioned in the direction of the shadow region, and the color would appear beautifully. Whenever you don’t get the colors you are expecting, double-check that you don’t have white light, that might be oversaturating that part of the image. This happens usually either directly or from reflecting on the white wall.


It may look easy to choose the colors of the gels that you need for this kind of photography but it is a little confusing. Colors can make or break your shot. So, here we have a few tips that you may acknowledge while choosing the right colors. 

  • One strategy to pick colors that go well together is to select two colors that are complementary. Blue and orange, for example, are a very common combination. However, you don’t have to stick to complementary shades, so you can use a tool like Adobe Color to provide analog or triad color combos.
  • You may use several gels on top of each other to make your own colors.

To get a deeper understanding of colors, you can check out Color Theory. It talks about primary and secondary colors. You can also have an idea about the three variables of colors, i.e, hue, saturation, and luminance. 


Each color absorbs certain colors and reflects others. Every time another color is blended in, more colors are consumed and less is reflected. Now we are left with only wavelengths that both the colors reflect. It’s called subtractive mixing, and when the colors are combined, the wavelengths are omitted from what we can see.

Additive color mixing creates a new color by adding a set of wavelengths to a different set of wavelengths. And this is what occurs when the light with various wavelengths are combined together. 

For instance, when all the different wavelengths of sunlight are mixed together, we see white light rather than multi-colors. 


If a gel is attached to the strobe, the white light leaves the flash and travels through the gel. We have a blue gel attached to the strobe, for example. Since white light is made up of a spectrum of color, the blue gel filters out all the other colors or wavelengths and allows only blue wavelengths to pass through. 


There is no ideal camera setting for this sort of photograph. Just get your camera settings where you want them to be in the first place and then adjust your lights around the model. For example, if you want a shallow field depth on your subject, go with it in a wide aperture such as f/4 or f/2.8. 

However, there are some common settings that many people use and it is a wide aperture of f/8, ISO should be around 200 and the file type is mandatory to be RAW. Professional photographers often prefer RAW over JPEG. RAW will give you the highest quality of an image and it records a greater level of brightness. Not only this, one has more freedom of Post-Processing in a Raw Image, which is highly recommended in Fashion Photographs. You can go to Delve Into The Raw v/s JPG for more details. These settings will work if you are a beginner. 


Vipin Gaur is a commercial fashion photographer based in New Delhi, India.  In an exceeding career spanning over a decade, he has worked with a wide range of popular brands like Gionee, Fiat, Coke, Berger Paints, Marks & Spencer, Aquarius, and many more. 

All these years he has tried pushing his creative and technical boundaries. Apart from experimenting with a camera, he likes to play with the lights. His strong and instinctive understanding of fashion photography lighting is something that sets him apart from the rest and gives him the status of Official Mentor for Photoquip (Elinchrom India).

He loves experimenting with all Fashion Photography functionaries and the art of using colored gel is no exception in that. During his affiliation with the Pearl Academy, T.Series, Elinchrom, and Canon as an advisor, he has mentored 100’s, young photographers. 


This Fashion Photography Workshop was conducted by Vipin Gaur on August 11, 2019, at Noida. The workshop was warmly received by the photographers, as they came in good numbers with the passion to study photography.

The workshop began shortly after the introduction and the presentation was short, straightforward, and easy to understand. Vipin Gaur entertained and responded in a very transparent manner to all of the participants’ questions. The event covered an overview of colors and its significance in fashion, fundamentals of shooting with gels, soft light, and hard light modifiers, and impact of elements on the hues of the Gel Photography.  The mentor even spoke about careers in fashion photography. He not only taught minor details of this type of photography, but he also encouraged the participants to come up with ideas for the shooting.


It is really necessary for a photographer to interact well with the model and the makeup artist in a photoshoot.  The model and the makeup artist had good communication with the photographer prior to the shoot. All of them got a pretty idea of how the other wants the photograph. 


After the talk, it was time for the participants to get into action. The model was photographed by all participants under the guidance of the mentor. The scenario consisted of women wearing soft colors so that the colored gels would make the pictures exciting and fascinating, not the clothing. The participants also dealt with lights, colored gels, etc. It was a fun activity that everybody loved the most. 

This was followed by an evaluation of the photos that the participants took and few suggestions on post-processing. The workshop ended with participants clicking the pictures to test the knowledge they have gained. Moreover, they have also acquired the courage to go out to capture moments in time.


The workshop was ideally designed for fashion photographers who wished to specialize in photography. It was also perfect for Wedding, Lifestyle, and Portrait photographers who are willing to improvise their talents and apply them in their own careers. It was relevant for the fashion community that wanted to expand their network. 


Fashion photography is one of the most competitive and innovative types of photography across the globe. From the workshop, participants learned about the following job prospects:-

  • One can go for a Model Shoot. 
  • Follow popular fashion photographers on social media. But, Don’t forget your own style.
  • One can try to enter into Fashion Styling. 
  • Try to evaluate the work of well-established Fashion photographers.
  • In these workshops, participants would learn the necessary lighting and colors that are very essential in order to start a career in photography. So, Yes, it was suitable for the Amateurs too.
  • Enroll in such workshops to understand the complexities.
  • One can start Online Webinars as a Mentor.


If you are a photographer, marketing your work is very crucial. Vipin Gaur taught all participants how to market their work. Following are the few tips that he gave for the same:-

  • As fashion photographers, you can go to Ramp Walks to shoot the event.
  • Create an online photography portfolio. 
  • Take part in Fashion Photography contests to assess what you have learned so far.
  • Make new contacts by participating in the events.
  • Keep your social media profiles up-to-date. Social media includes not only posting but also communication.
  • You can apply for Fashion Magazines as well. Who knows, maybe you get a chance to feature in Vogue.


A commercial Fashion photographer was supervising the workshop. The participants understood commercial photography and outdoor lighting techniques from end to end methods. Vipin Gaur also taught them how to edit photos of the shoot. The participants learned how to use flashlights properly. They got an idea to plan and shoot their concepts. The mentor also kept a special post-processing session for the participants at the end of the shoot. 


We have a number of photography workshops designed to teach both amateur and professional photographers. You can check that on our Events Website. Also, head to our Blog for more such tips and tricks about photography. You can subscribe to our digital magazine through Magzter or Issuu to delve into more organized and well-furnished photography content. And if you think you have learned a lot and you want to give it a check, then, proceed to our Contest website, participate there and win astounding prizes.

About the Author

Pratiksha Sharma
is a desperate writer. She has the energy of a teenager. Well, she is a teenager :-). But, her writings are way more forward. She is pursuing English Honors since she is a bookworm. Her hobbies are writing, playing video games, and traveling. She wants to excel in writing with perseverance, hard work, and dedication.

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