So, after a couple of years attending occasional events with Welshot I have joined, and the first event I am attending as a member is the shooting with coloured gels in Chester. Like many other photo enthusiasts I did use the coloured clip on colour filters that came with my flash and indeed sweet wrappers from that Quality Street box (other sweeties are available) but the results lacked any merit and I threw all that stuff away. Kept the chocolates obviously.. .
Perhaps tonight I’d finally get the insights needed to make this approach work?
Shooting with Gels at Welshot: Chester Academy Evening
In a large conference room the team had created two studio sets. One utilising a grey background, the other white. I have some basic lights at home but I lack the space to really use them well, the clear space here is, by comparison, a real luxury! We split into two groups and in mine we enjoyed Eifion talking us through the colour wheel and complementary hues. A further exploration of using an equilateral triangle to establish good choices of colours where there are 3 lights available was interesting – I started out as an art teacher and that was new to me.
Our first works tonight we worked on one ‘main’ un-coloured light which was either a soft box or a beauty dish, with two coloured gels either on the model – the excellent Sadie – or lighting the background. Eifion talked us through and demonstrated how the grey background can be manipulated to white or different colours using gels. He also demonstrated ‘Rembrandt’ lighting using one main light. Very useful. I’ve had my Nikon for a while now and have it set up the way I need it to be but some others in my group needed Eifion’s expert help to get the best from their cameras and this was readily available.
The groups switched over and we had a white background and as our model and Jason as our coach. This setup was very interesting as it included two off-camera speedlight flashes. My first experience of using such kit and later on when we moved out of the conference room I was impressed with how easy to maneuver and change these were. I am speculating that a lightweight portable studio could be a possibility….hmmm – but these musings cut short by the arrival of supper: real old fashioned chunky cut chips! Excellent.
We switched sets again to do further works with Sadie. I quite enjoy bring the lights into the frame where possible and did get some shots that I am pleased with but inevitably some of those experiments… taught me what to NOT do in the future! A final switch took us back to Karianne and Jason’s support. This is where we ended up out in the open plan Chester suite and for me the highlight of the evening as we moved the speedlights around, quickly exploring different setups under Jason’s expert guidance. I’ve now also become very interested in the beauty dish modifier. I may have to get one of those!
So an educational and enjoyable evening that has left me wishing for more and introduced even more equipment to put on that xmas list to Santa. Rembrandt lighting, using a beauty dish, using different colour gels, the Nikon 70-200 that Jason was using, the advantages of off-camera flash and the chatting to fellow photographers about our kit and where we have taken it all added up to an evening where the time flew. Thanks to all involved!
The next Photographic Academy Evening in Chester is: 70’s Glam Rock Fashion – Themed Photo-Shoot with Models