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Which gel: outdoor rainy day & natural effect


I bought a set of Rogue color-correcting flash gels and have not used them much yet. The little I am finding on the interwebs seem to be all shooting for a fake blue sky look on a grey day. I don't want that for this shot. I just want to use a little fill flash in HSS in a natural-looking way, as my 2-year old jumps up and down in muddy puddles. (Ala Peppa Pig cartoon character)

Would that be a blue gel? 1/4, 1/2 or Full? Would it be "cloudy" WB setting in the camera? Or does camera WB even matter so long as I am shooting RAW and can fiddle in post?

That seems right, but so much of the advice is about doing a "trick effect" like turning the grey sky a "Tidy Bowl" blue, using orange gels and a Tungsten WB, that I am having a hard time getting confident on how to simply balance the flash to the ambient rainy day light and do this the "straight" way.



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Cloudy white balance will add a tiny amount of "warmth" to the shot -- but this assumes you are shooting JPEG (white balance is never applied to the image if shooting RAW).  When I shoot in cloudy weather I very gently nudge up the WB by about 3-5%.  


This short for example:

Was actually taken mid-day on an overcast day and just the 5% boost to white balance warms it up (and has the side-effect of saturating the grass... I did not actually touch the saturation slider in this shot -- that's "as is" but the grass looks saturated simply because of the very gentle white balance adjustment.)


I don't think you'll necessarily need to gel the flash.  According to Bryan Peterson, you can capture the "rainy" effect (he prefers to do this on a sunny day using a garden hose sprayer / sprinkler) but the subject needs to be backlit (he wants the water droplets backlit) and that helps to punch them up in the photo.  He shoots facing the sun (with sun out of frame) to light up the water.  Also, he uses a 1/60th sec. shutter speed to get the water drops to have appropriate length streaks to imply the motion in the water.


If you have a few flashes and wanted to blue-up the water, I might try to gel the backlights with CTB (color temperature blue) on the backlights, then add front lighting source using CTO (color temperature orange) to warm the subject.  The CTB is fairly weak (its intended to correct a tungsten bulb to daylight balance) and you could even use Quarter CTB for a weaker blue effect (and Quarter CTO for a weaker warming effect.)



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

I would first expose for the background and set your WB where you like it.  For overcast I'm usually in the 6 -7k range, as I too don't like the fake blue look.  Just a little warmth.  Then add in your flash.  If you're already up that high then chances are that ungelled flash will be warm enough.    I often use a quarter straw gel when I want to warm up the subject just a bit off the background, but I certainly wouldn't go full CTO unless you want something unrealistic.  If it's partly cloudy it can look like the sun is peaking out and lighting the subject, but on a completely overcast day it just looks unrealistic, IMHO.

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