Rosco Gel Samples Just Arrived

in Flashes, Strobes & Lighting

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I, along with every other photog-blogger in the blogosphere, has read about using the Rosco Roscolux Swatchbook available free from Rosco (beware I’ve heard there’s a major wait through Rosco) and for $0.01 now $1.95 from B&H to color a background using a flash unit.

Well it’s hard to get a hold of the Roscolux Swatchbook. I’ve seen it sell out on the B&H website in as little as 24 minutes before. Though B&H also has the Rosco Cinegel Swatchbook for the same price, and it was in stock, so I ordered it and got yesterday.

The first thing I did was remove the straight pin holding the samples together and replaced it with a clip I had previously used for embroidery floss. This allows me to remove gels easily while not making a mess of the whole situation.

Accompanying Photographs

Rosco Cinegel Swatchbook Embroidery Floss Ring Cinegels on a Ring

You can pick up a loop like that at any craft store like Joann’s near the embroidery or notions storage section.


I haven’t had a chance to play with any lighting with the gels yet. You know…work…sleep. But I’m excited to give it a try tonight or tomorrow.

I learned about these gel sample packs by reading a post on the Photography on the.net forums, using gels to create colored backgrounds. I was immediately inspired, especially by the photos posted to that thread by curtis N, agent.media and flg8r.

That was when the Internet twisted my own arm into buying the background and stand I did the video about last week.

While waiting for my delivery I looked and found some other good posts on forums about using gel samples. This post started as a question regarding the effectiveness of a colored background and saturation of the color by the gel, and includes a sample photo. Another post about using gels shows sample photographs using models and still life and also shows demonstrations where you can fill the background with the color, or hot spot the color, even a demo that appears to snoot with a color.

I also stumbled across another post where the demo was using the gel against a white wall. Though one response pointed out that using the gel on white has a tendency to reflect back onto the subject which can cause highlights in the hair to become the color of the gel. Not always a desired effect. I’m quite glad I went with the dark grey background now!

I’ll probably be working on a holder tonight, I’ve been exploding a few options:

As you can tell I’m kind-of being a big wussie about not melting my gel to my flash but even if is unlikely to happen I’d still rather use preventative measures.

I’ll post up my final solution I settle with. My guess is it will be a lot like the mat board with clip, except with magnets since they’re way easier to change quickly and if they’re attached I can’t lose them!


Researching these holders was a big help and lead me to request sample packets from a few other companies such as Lee and Apollo Design Technologies. We’ll see how long it takes for those sample packs to come in.

Update: Lee Gels vs. Rosco Gel Swatchbooks

The Lee Gel sample pack came almost days later. And I prefer using the Lee gels because they use larger samples which cover the flash (or my gel adapter) nicer. I managed to get my hands on a couple of the Rosco Roscolux Swatchbook and I see why they are recommended, that book has a wider variety of colors and focuses mainly on gels. Maybe I’ll do a full review of the different swatch books once I get the last one I ordered.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

april June 20, 2008 at 11:40 am

Great research! Thank you for sharing.

Amber June 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

this has been EXTREMELY helpful! None of the photo supply stores in my region carry the swatchbook so I will have to go through bhphoto or the roscoe site… what is the difference between the roscolux and the cinegel swatchbooks?

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