I’ve used dozens of different photography gels on my speedlights over the years (store-bought and DIY-ed alike) and I’ve come up with just as many adjectives to describe them. Annoying is one. Cumbersome is another. Time-consuming a third. I could go on…
But all that changed a few years ago when MagMod emerged onto the scene. I bought into the system as soon as it hit the market and gelling has been nothing but a pleasure ever since.
MagMod MagGels | Ergonomics & Ease of Use
Just in case you’re not familiar with the system, MagMod makes a rubber “MagGrip” that stretches over the head of your speedlight. Inside the MagGrip (and all of the individual modifiers) are magnets that make it insanely quick and easy to swap out mods.
In fact, it’s so easy you can actually throw the gel holder at your speedlight to secure it (results will vary based on distance and coordination.)
Also, the names of the gels are printed directly on the gels themselves, so if you’re a colorblind photographer like me, you’ll have no problem finding the gel you’re looking for.
MagMod MagGels | Versatility
The MagMod MagGels are like the Christian Bale of colored lighting. If you don’t know who Christian Bale is, he’s portrayed Batman, Moses and Dick Cheney with equal degrees of credibility. Dude’s one of the most versatile actors on the planet.
But I digress.
My favorite thing about MagMod is the ability to easily stack/combine mods for complete creative control of light. This means you can use any of the other MagMod modifiers in conjunction with the gels.
Oh, and if you want to combine gels for different effects, no problem. You can comfortably fit three gels into one holder.
So, for example, you could do a Full CTO plus a ¼ CTO to create a 1 ¼ CTO. Or a Purple gel with a Diffusion gel. Or three Teal gels for maximum saturation.
The possibilities are endless. And MagMod produces just about every type of gel a wedding photographer could hope for, so you’ll never find yourself short-handed.
MagMod MagGels | Build Quality
The MagGels themselves are a hard, firm plastic that flexes just enough for easy insertion into the holder. It’s a monumental step up from the colored acetate sheets I used to use for my DIY stuff.
My only gripe, albeit a small one, is that the names of the gels tend to flake off rather easily. This shouldn’t be an issue for most people because you can simply hold the gels up to any light source to see which one you’re using.
For me, though, it has the potential to cause problems because I’m colorblind. I can tell the CTOs apart due to their varying degrees of transparency, but the Creative Gels are a bit more ambiguous. The solution I’ve found is to simply write in the names myself with a fine-point Sharpie.
Also, the gels collect superficial scratches at the slightest provocation, but this doesn’t affect light quality whatsoever. More of a cosmetic grievance than a functional one.
MagMod MagGels | Practical Application
Now that we’ve gotten through the nuts and bolts, let’s take a look at how some of the various MagMod MagGels perform in the field.
If you’re interested in learning more about how and why I like to use specific gels, check out the MagMod blog (coming soon) on that very subject.
MagGels | Accessories
I have mine compartmentalized as follow:
– CTOs in the first sleeve
– Misc. correction gels in the second (CTBs, 1/2 Green, Diffusion, ND, etc.)
– Warm Creative Gels in the third (Red, Orange, Yellow and Magenta)
– Cool Creative Gels in the fourth (Blue, Purple, Green and Teal)
The wallet also comes equipped with a lanyard and belt loop clip, so you can keep it on your person at all times, if you’d like.
MagGels | Price Tag
When it comes to MagMod, I’ve heard photographers complain about having to pay good money for “a piece of plastic.”
The real value of the MagGels isn’t in the materials. When you buy a book, you’re not paying for paper. You’re paying for knowledge. You’re paying for an experience.
[Editor: you can save $5 on the price of the MagGels, or any MagMod product by using any of the links in this review]
MagMod MagGels Review | Conclusion
If you’re a wedding photographer who frequently uses flash, a good gel set is a must. And the MagMod MagGels are, hands down, the best product on the market.
If you haven’t already bought into the MagMod system, I recommend you do so now.
Seriously. Like right now. I’ll wait…
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post contain affiliate links which help support Shotkit.
Jesse La Plante is an award winning wedding photographer based in Boulder, Colorado.