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Warm Your Big Flash at the Source with Glass Shells

Remember when we talked about gelling your light mods, and how some almost aren't worth the trouble?

If you frequently light people with large soft boxes, you can choose to warm your light up right at the source.

Lose the UV, Gain the Warmth

For most big lights from most reputable companies, you can choose UV tubes—or, warming domes—instead of the standard variety. Some companies even offer a choice of domes to let you warm up flashes (typically, your key) to your signature shade.

With speedlights, as we noted earlier, this warming is easily accomplished with about two square inches of gel right on the front of the flash. This is what I do for the SB-800 of mine that is pretty much dedicated to being my key light when using speedlights. Rather than gel it each time, the (¼ CTO) gel just stays on the flash.

But I also have an Einstein that is a dedicated key light. And that one gets a warming dome. (That flash is on the right in the photo above) The dome warms up the color of the light by about 600 degrees Kelvin, which is 300K more than a standard dome and gives a pleasing color of light for skin tones.

This is ideally suited for any kind of light mod, no matter how big or unwieldy. And this is something you might just do for one head—the one you use for key lighting people.

Most of your better lighting companies will offer this option for their shooters who do do a lot of people shooting. Left to right, that's a Profoto dome, an Elinchrom and a Broncolor, respectively.

The cost can vary greatly, depending on the size/color of the dome and whether or not it happens to be Profoto/Broncolor.

And if you happened to have purchased your big lights from some pop-up company you had never heard of before for $43, you are probably out of luck. That's because this is one of the things that separates the lighting companies who have care enough to pay attention to the details from the ones that just want to produce something as cheaply as possible, get it onto market, and iterate in six months.

If you shoot people and you want a consistently better look to your subjects' skin, a warming dome is totally worth the purchase. If you bought Einsteins (but not AB's, so I guess there's your line) your wallet gets off the easiest—they are about $15. If you bought Profoto or Broncolor, no worries. You can probably afford to buy the shells, too.


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