Keep Tabs on Your Gels

Here's a quickie gel mounting idea from reader Rui M. Leal.

Rui is using a flash-head-sized template to cut the sample gels that are available for free from Rosco.

(The samples can be hard to find, tho. Always ask when you place an photo gear order somewhere.)

Rather than extend them with tape and mount them with velcro or rubber bands, Rui trims them in a way that leaves a small tab that fits in the built-in bounce card slot. Creased properly, they should pretty well stay put.

This seems like a pretty clean way to mount your gels if your flash has a built-in bounce card, as many do. You can see bigger pix here.

(Thanks, Rui!)



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Anonymous Peter S said...

Looks like the gel pack that comes with the SB-800s. One drawback compared to gels with velcro is that you can't store it on the flash while not using it.

May 30, 2007 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just tape one to the side of my flash with gaffer's tape. When I need it I just retape it over the front.

May 30, 2007 10:01 PM  
Blogger The Yeti said...

Yeah ... and if there is any wind say bye bye (two of my SB800 ones have been donated to the wind gods). Once I started using velcro I have never been without them and never lost one. Best idea out there.

May 30, 2007 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Mark Sirota said...

Peter S, you can indeed -- just slide the gel sideways inbetween the bounce card and the wide-angle lens. I've been known to do that in a pinch...

May 30, 2007 10:21 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

I just got my Nikon filter pack from Adorama last week. Nikon considers them "consumables." When you wear them out you throw them away. You get 20 in the pack so that's about a dollar a piece. At that price I can afford to replace the set every now and then.

It seems like a pretty good design. I think the tab is a little deeper than what you have pictured here. I haven't lost any to the wind but I'll definently keep it in mind if I use them outdoors.

May 30, 2007 11:41 PM  
Blogger fotoman607 said...

I use the filters that came with my sb800 in the same way. It works for the most part except I do have problems with the filter peeling away from the flash because it is only being held on from one side. Licking the filter and sticking it to the flash helps to remedy this, although you may get some weird looks. Velcro to me seems like a better option and I've been meaning to get some.

May 31, 2007 3:10 AM  
Blogger A J FRENCH said...

nice easy way of doing it,
but I prefer to have my gels marked with what they are (full CTO, half CTO etc) so that I don't grab the wrong one

May 31, 2007 4:08 AM  
Blogger tangcla said...

hmmm great idea... why didn't I think of this earlier!!

although I like the Scotchtape method myself :)

May 31, 2007 4:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like the Nikon SB-800 gels. It works but its not a very robust design. I've found that no matter how you crease it the gel tends to pull away from the flash. If not initially then has you fire it more and it heats up. Annoying. You also have to be careful when putting it in, takes a little work. Not much but if your in a time crunch thats one delicate task you could do without. I think the velcro method is superior. It works, its more robust and time efficient.

May 31, 2007 9:42 AM  
Blogger efrudd said...

Greg said...
I just got my Nikon filter pack from Adorama last week. Nikon considers them "consumables." When you wear them out you throw them away. You get 20 in the pack so that's about a dollar a piece. At that price I can afford to replace the set every now and then.

I'm not sure what comes with this set but wouldn't it be more cost effective to buy the sheets of gels and cut them to size? I bought a green gel and straw-colored gel sheet for $5 each. Cutting them to size for the strobe it appears I now have a lifetime supply at mere pennies a filter.

(I think this was mentioned by Dave in his post about gels.)

Unless there is a benefit to the Nikon filters that I'm missing.


May 31, 2007 10:37 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

SO I'm very new to this site (actually planning to start going through the Lighting 101) and wondering, why would you put gels on your external flash?

May 31, 2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger Haskins said...

Santa (UPS) just brought me PW's! Just in time for tomorrow....Lighting 102...woo hooo! I can finally junk the ST-E2!

May 31, 2007 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yea a sheet of them is the way to go if your going to be banging away a lot on the same color. The advantage of the nikon Filter pack is that it gives you a dozen plus different colors for the same price as two sheets. That would cost $60+ if you ordered a sheet of each color. Its a good Starter pack, lets you gell for color and if you find yourself burning through a lot of one then start buying it by the sheet.

Read through Lighting 101. The answer to your question is there. Color correcting for differnt light sources for starters.

May 31, 2007 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Adorama has to buy the sample packs or if it's all profit.

May 31, 2007 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Smith said...


There's plenty of info on the subject in David's tutorials. For extra reading I'll also plug a tutorial I wrote the other day which covers it in some detail:

"Hand-held portrait lighting"

May 31, 2007 7:19 PM  
Blogger Gordon McKinney said...

Just got the PDF and made several of these, CTO and Fluorescent. I cut into the edges slightly so it fits easily into the flash. Once the gel is folded fully it 'remembers' its fold.

I found a 77mm filter case perfect for holding the gels. It keeps them protected and prevents the 'tab' from becoming damaged.

I need to grab my color effect gel sheets and make up some blue, red, etc. tabs.

June 01, 2007 8:54 AM  
Blogger mhakola said...

The Calumet by me in Cambridge, Massachusetts has a big bucket ful of the Rosco sample swatches. You can get all the different CTOs, CTB, diffusers, reflectors, etc. They are a tiny bit small for a 580EX but hey, they're free. I pick one up almost every time I buy a piece of equipment there. I don't know if other Calumets do the same.

June 01, 2007 9:19 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks, Anonymous and Andrew!

June 01, 2007 9:40 AM  
Blogger efrudd said...

Does anyone have a link to the Adorama filter pack? I can't seem to find it.


June 01, 2007 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know where I can get a template for the SB-28? I looked around the Rosco website and I found nothing. Thanks.

June 01, 2007 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Andrew Ferguson said...

I tend to cut my gels a little long, personally.

I'm using the Vivitar 285HV, so having that extra bit sticking out the side is really convenient for me to grab.

June 20, 2007 5:11 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Always good ideas, never dissapointed, but I got a really idiot proof way of fixing my gels. It actually works first time, every time! Cut your selected gel oversize, maybe a half inch, lay it on table. Take flash unit, and apply 4 small balls of blu-tac, one in each corner. Gently press face of flash onto gel, and hey presto it's fixed! Also works with laminated gels. One gel will also, probably fit, several different flashes.

Keep the sensible ideas flowing, they're always good.

All the best to all,

Doug. :-)

April 28, 2008 12:28 PM  

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