Colored gel kits are an invaluable gift to photographers. Not only can a colored gel add a more defined mood and atmosphere to a plain and dull scene, but it can also give a photographer more opportunity to experiment with their creativity in shooting distinctive colored shots.
These are the two types of colored gels for photography: corrective and non-corrective.
Corrective color gels: these are used to improve the color balance of an image by compensating for daylight or tungsten sources. The color temperature blue is used to adjust tungsten light to daylight, while the color temperature orange is used to balance the temperature of daylight to tungsten.
Color-effect gels: these gels are non-corrective. This type of gel allows photographers to showcase their artistic capabilities and think outside the box in order to produce mood-filled, edgy, and unique images. A single color can be used to set a certain mood, but most often, photographers use a combination of colors as backlights, highlights, broad lights, and flat lights.
So, how do you decide which color gels to use to spice up your photography? While you can make your own color gels by using cellophane and tape, there are plenty available in the online market. Check out our picks below!
1. Rogue Flash Gels (Overall Winner)
The first gels on our list are the Rogue color gel kits. These gels are thicker and more durable than others so expect quality and long-lasting use. The sheets are coated on both sides, helping to produce more concise colors.
Rogue offers two kits for photography enthusiasts: the Rogue Photographic Design ROGUEGEL-CC Flash Gels Color Correction Filter Kit and ExpoImaging ROGUEGELS-U Rogue Photographic Design Rogue Gels Universal Lighting Filter Kit. The former is for color correction, and the latter is for color effects.
The best thing about Rogue Gel Kits is that every gel is labeled with its corresponding features, which include its filter color, Kelvin temperature, and its camera white balance icon. These labels are printed directly on the edges of the gel sheets so they can never be peeled off.
The gels can easily attach to mount-shoe flashes through a patented rubber band. They’re are produced by the world’s leading producer of lighting filter LEE Filters, a UK-based company. The sheets measure 6” x 3”, but are on the pricey side. However, their high quality makes it worth it!
Rosco is one of the most recommended and most popular brands of colored gels. This is despite the fact that their products are some of the priciest among similar product lines. These tried and true gels come in larger sizes, which is no problem at all because you cut them according to your needs.
If you’re looking for thick yet elastic colored gels, then Best Starloop is literally the best for you. These gels may be thick, but they’re lightweight, resilient, and you can use them conveniently for a long time to come.
With the gels’ high-quality light transmission, you can combine colors to make new ones. Best Starloop offers seven different colors: orange, yellow, red, pink, blue, purple, and neon. The product also comes in two packages: the 21-pack and the 16-pack.
Neewer’s 12×12 color lighting gels are perfect for their Photo Studio Strobe Flash Light and LED lights, though if used for model lamps there’s a chance they can melt.
These gels come in eight colors which you can combine to form darker colors. Neewer Color Gels are marked “Amazon’s Choice” due to the high volume of sales and, most likely, they’re affordable price.
If you’re looking for a perfectly cut size for your external on-camera flashgun, then Selens’ gel kits are a must-buy for you! These gels are easy to use for speed flashes, and are very portable! The sheets measure at 3.74 x 2.56 inches, meeting a specific size for a camera flashlight.
You can have 20 different color lighting filters for your camera: 14 color-effects, five color-correction, and one diffusion. And do you know the most exciting part? You get to have two custom-designed Selens Gel Bands. Definitely worth the price. Like any other color gels, though, these shouldn’t be exposed to high heat or they’ll melt.
This is a medium-priced but high-value color gel kit that comes with 30 easy-to-use colored gels for speed flashes and reflectors. You get all of these for use in background lighting or light altering. It’s pretty cheap for a package that gives you all you need to set up the magic touch. Moreover, Falcon Eyes’ color gels can easily mount to any flash, as they are designed to flip up.
LimoStudio’s colored gel kit contains 14 sheets of color correction and color effects gels. These colored gels work well with low-voltage LED lights, meaning they don’t easily melt. Thanks to the thick, sturdy features and larger size, these gels are available for larger external light sources but are also customizable with shoe-mount flashes.
They also have a protective film, so they don’t scratch while in use. Note that you have to remove these protective films before using as the film might affect the color emitted or could melt as it is made from a different type of plastic.
Cheers to Initial Heart for including protective film, so the gel itself stays safe from scratches and unnecessary markings. The package includes 18 gels, measuring 11.7 x 8.3 inches in nine assorted colors (two sheets per color). The colors are red, yellow, green, blue, purple, orange, pink, grey, and fluorescent yellow.
9. Fosoto Speedlite Color Gels (Budget Winner)
This is the best option if you’re looking for a low-budget, high-quality product. Fosoto’s Flash Speedlite Color Gels offer 20 colors (14 color effects, five color correction, and one diffusion) and two rubber bands fitted for a shoe-mount flash. However, these do easily bend, so you have to be extra careful.
Each colored gel kit has its own unique features. However, it’s worth considering that your colored gels must withstand the heat of the flash, at least a considerable temperature, so you don’t need to buy a new one after every use.
With lower quality manufacturing, the gels could melt on the bulb, and then you’re left with two problems – having to replace the gel and the light source. So, it’s important that you invest in high-quality, long-lasting colored gels.