So a while ago, I was on a quest to find an alternative to gels that I could use for my constant lights. Gels are such a great way to add a little creativity in the form of special effects to your photo shoots. The problem with these lights I have is, while they work amazingly, there's not really an easy way to attach a gel to them. The easiest way that I could find is to attach them to the actual modifier I'm using. The thing is though, getting gels to fit a 3 foot plus soft box is crazy expensive. So I decided to find a way to create a gelled effect without breaking the bank.
In comes cellophane. I'm surprised at just how well this cheap solution worked for me. I really shouldn't be surprised though, because at the end of the day gels are just colored, transparent film which is basically what cellophane is. The difference here is that cellophane can be folded down or rolled up to easily fit in your camera bag and only cost me $1 for a nine-foot roll of it. ONE DOLLAR. Not only that, but it's reusable and can easily be layered with other colors to produce the whole rainbow as long as you have blue, red and yellow with you.
I don't know about you, but paying a dollar to have a hugely creative tool for your camera bag is definitely worth it. Even if you don't use gels or never have used them before, splurge on yourself and invest a whole dollar to try something new and creative. I mean, the only way to get something cheaper is by taking markers to a shopping bag or something. I don't think that would be nearly as effective though =P.
So if you use constant lighting in your studio set up and are looking for alternatives to gels, look no further than cellophane. I got a couple of paper clips, or you could use the ever useful gaff tape ;), and clipped the cellophane onto the soft box so that it would cover the entire light source. i wouldn't worry about the whole heat thing. I've had these things on soft boxes for over an hour before and while they got slightly warm, they never got to the level where I'd be worrying about damaging expensive photo equipment or started a forest fire or in your studio. If you happen to know a better alternative to gels then let me know in the comments. It'll be pretty tough to beat the reusable, cheap and portable solution that is cellophane though ^_^.
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