Using gels with opposite colors

By Oleg Ti,   July 31, 2014,   Views: 2918,   Comments:

Every photographer endeavors to find new, bright solutions in their studio working. Spectacular, unusual concept is the key to attract attention not only to exact picture, but also to all works of the photographer. And I am looking for new ideas too. Always.
One day I tried to use gels in pairs, choosing colors lying on opposite sides of the color wheel.

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

If you mix all the colors together, you get white (or neutral gray, it depends on light intensity). A similar effect would occur if you picked only two colors that lie on opposite sides of the color wheel.
Combining such colors as green and red, purple and yellow, and so on, we can get neutral gray. In theory. Let’s check it in practice.

Look at conversion gels. They are created for changing color temperature. And we have at least on pair of gels, which make opposite work. 201 and 204. One of them changes color temperature from tungsten to strobe, and another does reverse work, from strobe to tungsten. What happen if we use them together? We will get neutral grey gel!

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

The same we can to with fluorescent gels. 247 and 244.

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

How to do it?  The technology is quite simple. Because in addition to the specific color of each gel there are transparency and saturation, it is so hard create a pair simply selecting colors from opposite sides of the color wheel. You have to check every pair looking through them to very bright source of light. And if you see that you’ve got neutral grey, lucky you, you found the pair.

Sometimes colors of this pair could be so saturate that you will barely see the lighting source and in this case the best solution is to take picture with this gels as we did with conversion gels.

Take a look, I found my pair, and green and red gels gave me neutral grey. But you have to understand that I have dozens and dozens of gels and there are not simply green and reed. There are EXACT green and red, which I have chosen from several shades of green and red.

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

So, why is all this necessary?

If we now put on these gels not only on one alone lighting source, but if we use two lighting units,  with one gel from the pair on every lighting source, we get a neutral light across whole picture, which will be the sum of two opposite colors.

But you will get two shadows and every shadow will have color of opposite gel! Great! We’ve got such an incredible effect!

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

What can we do with that?
Why not to try this with a model?

The first picture I made with two standard reflectors, which I directed straight to the model. Very wide lighting spots, which I got with this reflectors make the background behind the model white and neutral. But the shadows become colored as we saw before. 

Oleg Ti article Oppositecolors

The next example was made with reflectors with honeycomb grids. They produce narrow lighting spots and it helps me to play with that creating dramatic lighting picture.

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

And the third one was made with the same reflectors but directed to the ceiling of the studio. Do you remember supersoft light? Here it is. You see very soft shadows and accordingly smooth transition from one color to another.

Oleg Ti article Opposite colors

What happened if to take tree colors? Maybe four? Oh, I guess story have just begun. Try it!

Good luck.

 

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