Wednesday, 3 December 2014

LEE Filters Gel Snap



There are a number of ways to fix lighting gels to flash heads and Speedlites. When using Speedlites with swatch size gels I favour the Gel Clip which lightweight, compact & inexpensive.

Larger cuts of gel can be problematic but LEE Filters have a solution which I discovered on a visit to B & H Photo in NYC, the Gel Snap.

Gel Snap is designed as a camera lens holder for mounted 100mm polyester gels. I don't think when LEE Filters introduced Gel Snap they realised it's also a perfect fit for Speedlites and hot shoe flash units!


LEE Filters Gel Snap mounted on a Canon Speedlite Magenta Minus Green colour correction filter

The Gel Snap kit I have contains the filter holder and four mounted polyester filters - Plus Green, Minus Green, 81A & a soft focus/softener/diffuser.

Plus Green is a particularly use filter in that it can be used on flash to add colour to insipid skies and boost sunsets for wedding and portrait photographers. As the filters are manufactured to tight spectral tolerances a white balance reference isn't always necessary!

How to change the colour of the sky in a portrait image



This image was shot outside of our studio which is based in an industrial unit in Sunny Sussex! Nice and soft light, but lacking modelling and drama. We'd just completed a shoot in the studio so decided to shoot some new images for Jamie's Book.

I decided to shoot with a single Canon 580 EXII Speedlite into a soft satin white reflective 30" Photoflex 2-way (shoot through/translucent) umbrella. To add interest and colour to the sky I added a Plus Green colour correction gel to the flash held in place with the LEE Filters Gel Snap.


This is the uncorrected image with the Plus Green filter in place. The area lit by the flash, i.e. the model, Jamie, is green, the rest of the image neutral as it's not lit by the flash.


In the above image you can see the colour correction applied in post, in this case Adobe Camera RAW. Shooting RAW files is essential for the success of this technique. Here you can see the colour correction influencing the ambient light and neutralising the flash reflected from Jamie's skin tone. There is influence of the ambient in the shadow areas of this test image.

Colour Wheel
To master this technique it helps to have a basic understanding of colour theory. The Colour Wheel is good starting point. On the Colour Wheel, colours opposite are complementary and will neutralise a colour cast or the opposite colour - hence the green filter to create a magenta/pink sky. You will need to experiment with your own particular filters to gain confidence and consistent results.



When shooting using this technique it's essential to shoot a white balance reference. My preference is to use a calibrated WhiBal card, Kodak Gray Card or Macbeth Color Checker.

If you prefer to see a colour corrected preview on your camera LCD screen, you can shoot a full frame correctly exposed white and/or grey balance card and set a custom white balance in camera. Personally, I just do it in post and add CC64M as a starting point when working with the Plus Green gel.



The final image. Canon 5D MkII, Av (Aperture Priority). Ambient light was under exposed by 2 stops in camera and the flash over exposed by 1.3 stops. Flash was eTTL triggered with Young Nuo YN622C transceiver & controller. The umbrella was positioned camera left 9 o'clock(ish), slightly above eye level and feathered away from Jamie, toward the camera to give better fall off on the shadow edge.


Rough sketch showing the lighting set-up. Sometimes simple and uncomplicated are best.

The lighting kit for this image is stored in a Giottos tripod bag, batteries charged and ready to grab & go!


Lousy iPhone snap, but you get the idea. Speedlite and YN triggers removed from their protective cases for clarity.

What's in the bag?

The LEE Filters Gel Snap is available in UK from:

Worldwide LEE Filters dealers:


If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.