Challenge 31. Use a Gel


Using gels in your images allows you to interject color as a visual tool. Gels can add vibrant colors that dominate your image or subtle tones in the shadows that communicate a mood. But be sure that the color serves a visual role—gels can be beautiful and elegant, but they can also come across as gimmicky. If the gels aren’t being used to communicate a mood or a purposeful color palette, they can look like they were used to simply make a boring photograph more interesting. Your gel should be an important element of the scene without looking random or like an afterthought.


Gels are frequently used to set a mood by lighting the shadows and setting undertones. Director Anthony Mandler (who directed ...

Get Creative 52: Weekly Projects to Invigorate Your Photography Portfolio now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.