Using Gels For Flash Photography – Combat Nighttime White Balance Problems with CTO & Stacking of Gels

Step Three:

Ybor, Florida. Tutorial on CTO gels

I carry strips of Color Temperature Orange (CTO) gels to place in front of my Nikon Speedlight SB-900 flashes (Adorama and B&H carry them from a few manufacturers). You can get these gels in different strengths, from a 1/8 cut (think 1/8 strength) all the way up to a full-cut CTO, which is very orange. In many situations, I find that even 1/2-cut CTO is too much, so I tend to use the 1/4-cut sheets. However, because of how much I play with the color temperature in nighttime photography, I’ll occasionally want to really gel the flash, sometimes past a full cut of CTO. In this example, there are two 1/4-cut CTO gels placed on top of one another. Notice that there’s still quite a bit of a blue color on SJ’s face and on the façade. Stacking another 1/2 cut of CTO on top of the other two (we’re up to a full-cut CTO now) gets me closer to what I want.

1 2 3 4 5