Top Photography Tips for Using Coloured Lighting Gels


Looking for something different in your photography then why not use coloured lighting gels to add a new dimension to showcase your work. Exotic lighting in your photography can really set your work apart from the rest. Your first thought about photography using lighting gels is probably some dated image form the seventies using a red uplight but the technique has moved on significantly since then and now lighting gels can be used for specific illumination in an area of the shot, special affects and also colour correction. The usage is definitely more subtle and not as crude and overt as used in times gone by.


Glamorous image of fashion model in studio shot with colored gel

What are lighting gels?

Today lighting gels are transparent coloured sheets placed over the light source in your studio to vary the lighting colour during your photography shoot. The term lighting gel comes from the old method of achieving this effect which the use of coloured gelatines but over time particularly with the high temperatures lighting can reach gelatine has been replaced by heat resistant plastics. These are far more durable than gels which would fade and flake over time.

Beauty Woman Fashion Make Up With Color Gels

How to use lighting gels:

Photography lighting gels are a great way to make your photos look unique but they need to be used carefully to ensure they suit the context of the subject matter and mood you are seeking to create. Colours convey different If you are looking for a way to make your images stand out, lighting gels are the ideal equipment to do so. It is important that you use the colour wisely and think about the mood you are aiming to create with each colour. Colours can convey different messages depending on the context they are in. The colour green can communicate life and nature or greed and jealousy so you need to get that context right.

coloured lighting gel photography

Top Tips for lighting gel photography:

  • Colour co-ordination when using coloured lighting gels is vital so avoid clashing colours and try to make sure colours complement each other in the image you are creating
  • Think  about your exposure settings for this shot as inevitable lighting gels with reduce the flash output from your lighting so you will need to adjust accordingly.
  • Artistic styling is crucial to this style of photography so it important to ensure the colours work with the clothing being modelled in the shot.
  • Avoid unwanted colour effects on skin tone and too much colour overspill. Experiment with colour gels and over/under exposure until you can create the perfect image.

Glamorous image of fashion model in studio shot with colored gel




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