One of the things you’ll often have to deal with when using flash is the color temperature difference between your flash and other light sources in the scene. At slower shutter speeds, ambient light sources will show up in your images, so you have to make choices about how, or if, to handle them. Household tungsten lighting (in the 3200 range of the Kelvin scale), for example, is much warmer than standard flash (closer to 5500 K).
In a scene where you’re mixing indoor ambient light with flash, the ambient light can tend to appear orange. If you like that as an effect, you can leave things as they are, but if you’d like to balance the colors of the flash and ambient light, you can do this by placing a Color Temperature Orange (CTO) gel over your flash head. There are several ways to attach a gel to your flash head; including a simple solution by Ian Pack.
Ian sent me a couple of his Gel Clip products to review and I generally like the simplicity of the design. The Gel Clip is a molded piece of clear acrylic that can hold a gel in place over the flash head. The accompanying literature suggests using the Rosco Strobist Filter Kit but keep in mind that those gels are about a centimeter shorter than the face of the holder. If the gels are not positioned in the just the right way over the actual face of the flash head, or if the filter slips a little, a part of the flash illumination might not be covered by the gel. I found that the process of securing the Gel Clip to a flash head to be a bit clunky and it feels like the attachment might easily slip off, but in actual use, it’s very unlikely; it stays on unless you slip it off intentionally. Finally, you should be aware that the Gel Clip is best used with standard-sized flash heads. It won’t fit well over smaller units.
The Gel Clip and Velco-style strap.
Gel Clip attached to a Speedlite 600EX-RT flash unit. Note the orientation of the Clip.
Gel Clip attached to a Speedlite 320EX flash unit. This is about the smallest size flash head the Gel Clip will work with. But notice I’ve had to mount it upside-down in order to secure it to the flash head. You can also see the difference in size between Rosco filter and the Gel Clip face. Gels are available in other sizes, of course, and can even be cut to fit the entire face of the Gel Clip if necessary.
Ian Pack wanted me to tell you about two resellers who are offering special discounts on the Gel Clip: