Beauty Dish for Portraits

A beauty dish is a photographic lighting device which uses a parabolic reflector to distribute light towards a focal point. The light created by a beauty dish is between that of a direct flash and a softbox, producing a more abrupt shadow edge transfer than a soft box. It gives the image a wrapped, contrasted look, which adds a very dramatic effect. The combination of focused and diffused light allows a photographer to sculpt the light and create shadows on edges of the face, which serve to bring out the facial features. The intensity of the light falls off really quickly, creating drama when it’s needed, but not overdoing it.

The video shows different kinds of light that you can get from a beauty dish: with or without a reflector, using grids. The difference can be easily seen by the shape of the model's shadow.

Beauty dishes are great for portrait photography, especially for showing up good skin texture, good bone structure and producing sexy shots that ‘pop’ in fashion and glamour photography. However even the cheapest one will cost at least $100. There are a number of DIY tutorials teaching you how to make a beauty dish from inexpensive materials on your own. Check this one. You can also use your external flash with a handmade beauty dish.

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