Fun with Gels 3

I shot a night club yesterday.

Dark (black) walls, low light, stark modern furniture, not easy to shoot.

First, I used a wide angle lens (16-35 on a full frame camera). That got me the ability to get it all in, as well as freedom from focus and shake worries (the wider a lens, the easier it is to shoot at low speeds and the easier it is to focus on everything). I used a tripod, so the low speeds did not matter, but the focus all the more.

Available light was dull. Like this:

Berlin Night Club in Oakville, using simple light

Night Club using simple light

So I got out my bag of tricks:

  • A Pocketwizard on the camera
  • Four small flashes with pocketwizards: for the next shot I used one 430EX through a white umbrella and one direct, equipped with a red Honl Photo gel.
  • I set the flashes’ power levels manually, using simple trial and error and the histogram.

Now I got this:

Berlon Nightclib using two flashes

Nightclub using speedlights and gels

Isn’t that much more interesting?

Same here in the following picture. First, with just the flash in the umbrella:

Not bad, but a bit like a furniture catalog. How about with a nice red gelled flash also:

More like a club where things are happening.

The following shows part of my setup for another part of the room, with alcoves:

Light setup with multiple=

Which, when properly positioned, got me pictures like this:

Nightclub lit with multiple=

Look at the stool’s legs: do you see how much difference that red accent makes?

Later still I used a white umbrella plus a red gelled 430, a Honl Folies Purple gelled 430EX in the dance cubicle upstairs, and a red plus an egg-yellow gelled 430 as well. All of this done with Honl gels and Honl speedstraps.


..and after:

Of course some scenery needed no gels to pretty it up, just one bounce flash:

I did have to move her to the right where the bar had a small ceiling area to bounce off.

0 thoughts on “Fun with Gels 3

    • Thanks! Yes, I do love gels and I think we vastly underuse them (that’s one thing I teach in the flash courses: how to use gels and other modifiers properly).(What’s more – it’s very easy – and fun.)

  1. Interesting shots and excellent work. Wonder if the club will hire a lighting consultant to add more accents, like your photos show? Much more interesting and inviting!

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