Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Macro using flash and coloured gels

remember : click each image to see it at full size

Hi All,

I've been doing some more macro photography but this time I wanted to do something a little different so I decided that I would use some background flash to illuminate my subject from the rear. I thought it might be interesting to use some coloured gels on the flash unit to give a different effect. 

I purchased THE STROBIST FILTER COLLECTION from Crooked Imaging. The kit comes complete with all the filters you could need. Each filter is cut to suit the face of the majority of flash units. In this case I'm using it with a Nikon SB-600 flash unit and I hold the filters in place using a small amount of masking tape. Adding the gels to the flash unit gives a new variety of potential images.

I used my standard macro set up as described in a previous post on this blog but I added a grey background card behind the subject and used my SB-600 with coloured gels to illuminate it. 

I took a budding branch from a tree in the garden and set it up on the table. Using my Sigma 50mm Macro lens I took this initial shot with a light blue gel over the flash gun and my LED macro light set at it's lowest setting.

Budding Twig with light blue gel

 This next shot is of the main bud taken with a purple gel on the flash gun and the LED macro light set low.

Macro shot of main bud with purple gel

For this next image I closed in on the main bud and used the light blue gel but with no front illumination from the LED macro light.

Light blue gel with no front light.
For this last shot I rotated the bud around in the holder so that I could shoot it from the top. I switched on the LED Macro light but left it set at it's lowest setting to bring out the yellow of the bud. I also added a green gel to the flash gun.

Green gel and low front illumination.
As you can see, adding some simple coloured gels to a flash gun can dramatically change the whole look if the shot. The gels cost under £10 for the set and are well worth getting.

Next time..... Shooting a band at a local venue

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