Why are colored Gel Domes so fun to use?

An OCF Accessories series by Quentin Décaillet
Still life

It’s definitely the coolest OCF accessory to create a colored and creative look to your images. Enjoy and learn how to play with OCF Colored Gel Domes on the Elinchrom ONE.

What are Gel Domes?

OCF Gel Domes are a collection of gels in the form of domes that can fit on your Elinchrom ONE or OCF units. No more sticky gaffer on your strobe or DIY hack with velcro or magnets. These Gel Domes are as straightforward to use as it gets!

Take them and put them on the Elinchrom ONE and it simply snaps onto the unit.

Domes are currently available in 6 bright and very saturated colors, creating colorful work more effortless than ever. Inside the kit, you’ll find pink, red, orange, yellow, green, and deep blue gels. Additionally, there’s a frosted dome also available separately or with the Elinchrom ONE.

Gel Domes are useful

Let’s start with the less fun-looking but still very useful OCF Diffusion Dome. When shooting with a LED modeling light on, the OCF Diffusion Dome helps diffuse the very directional and specular light. This is created by the multiple LEDs on your unit.

It helps avoid getting multiple shadows that are very common with LEDs, similar to that found on the Elinchrom ONE. The OCF Diffusion Dome is also helpful for adding a diffusion layer when relying on the strobe. And, it dramatically helps minimize hotspots when using softboxes.

Finally, when using units with recessed flash tubes, this may help make the most of your light shaper. But, it doesn’t change the fact that recessed tubes are recessed, but it still can make a difference.

Colored or Diffusion Dome?

Colored Gel Domes are similar to the OCF Diffusion Dome in that they can slightly help with diffusion. However, their primary use and reason are to color the light and not diffuse it. They can be used in place of a traditional gel and can be combined with pretty much any light shaper that can be adapted to the OCF mount: Elinchrom Reflectors, Elinchrom Rotalux Softboxes with the OCF Adapter. Profoto softboxes, and probably Profoto reflectors as well.

Due to their shape, the Colored Dome will color your light beam very uniformly. Especially when using your unit for flashing and not just as a continuous light. Be aware, however, that just like gels, the flash power may alter the intensity of the color. The higher the power setting, the less intense the color will appear.

Fine art photography with Gel Domes

I recently shot a new fine art project using a rose to give you an example of how these fun little things can be. I wanted to play with flowers and colors and create a dramatic look. I decided to use a combination of pink and blue.

The pink gel dome was used on an Elinchrom ONE with a small Rotalux Strip Softbox like a backdrop. As mentioned before, these domes are genuinely impressive when it comes to gelling a softbox. They’re effortless to snap on, and the color is quite intense.

The blue gel dome was on another Elinchrom ONE with a 21cm Reflector and a Grid. This light was used as the key light but was less powerful than the backdrop light. I wanted my backdrop to be close to white but still with a bit of color, so I set my flashes with about a 2-2.5 stops difference.

Final result

The result was really cool! And thanks to the very intense color, it was easy to tweak and adjust their hue in post-production to refine and get the exact blue and pink I wanted. That’s one thing I love with very intense gels such as these OCF Domes. It’s easy to work on them in Capture One or Photoshop to get an even more dramatic look. Something that’s typically more difficult with lighter gels.

If you enjoy playing with gels and colors, these small Colored Gel Domes will do nothing but boost your creativity! When I was done shooting the rose, I decided to test out the freezing capacity of the Elinchrom ONE. And so I went further and added liquid and fire to the flower to try and create something even more unique.

Check out Quentins’ work on Instagram.