26 Oct 2010

First Strobist DIY Beauty Dish Portraits!

I think it works!


  1. Yes, it works. Really good portraits.

  2. Wow, great portraits...so sharp!

  3. It looks amazing! What a DIY pro...not to mention a Photophile :)

  4. Could you explain the positioning of the flash/beauty dish on these shots? Obviously, the light is emanating from the right side of the frame in the last 3 of the 4, but it looks like it could have been mounted on the camera for the first one (or, it was positioned mostly center but higher). Thanks!

  5. Hi Joel, good question!

    The easiest way to see where the lighting for any shot was positioned is to look at the light spots reflected in the eye of the model. I very often look at other peoples pics and study the reflections in the eyes to work out how they set up for the shot. ;-)

    If you look closely, there are two lights in these. The first, largest light, is the beauty dish which was shot with the SB600 flash on full power. The second, smaller light, is the flash on my D90 that is used in commander mode to trigger the SB600, and this flash is set to -3, minimum power, to have as little effect on the portrait as possible.

    In the first portrait the beauty dish was high and slightly right of the camera and in the rest it was somewhat lower, at various distances to the right.

    The best thing to do is experiment and try various setups to get the look that you personally like. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way as long as you achieve the artistic vision that you personally have. Art and vision are subjective and don't follow any rules.

    Hope that helps!

    1. I apologize for interfering. I think I've read someplace that a piece of color film fully exposed and processed acts as an infrared filter. You can stick it on the camera's flash to avoid the second (direct, front) light and still be able to optically trigger the other flash(es). Again, please excuse me if you fell I have "intruded un-politely" in your conversation :)

    2. You certainly are not interrupting or intruding Gabi, I welcome any and all input. We are very democratic here at The Photophile! :-)

      I also heard about the exposed film trick, but when I tried it I just got a darkish orangy-brown light on my subject instead. I think it needs to be a specific type of film. Eventually I simply purchased the Nikon SG-3IR. It is a plastic flap that mounts neatly in front of the built in flash. I have a pic of it here: http://thephotophile.blogspot.se/2012/06/how-getting-creative-with-white-balance.html just scroll down a bit.

      Have a great day!

    3. Thank you for the link. I found myself in the same situation sometimes. As an amateur photographer (as in "not making any money out of it") I have been often using a more practical approach. A piece of paper on the camera's flash and... problem solved by diffusion :)

      Nice portraits, by the way.

      off-topic: My beauty dish is half made. I don't hurry because I really want to make it look properly :) (22 cm Chinese salad inox bowl (0,5 EUR in Romania) and 8mm copper pipe in order to use the umbrella mounting hole in this "tool": http://www.ebay.com/itm/Umbrella-Speedlight-Speedlite-Flash-Holder-Bracket-Hot-Shoe-Mount-Adapter-Screw-/250944112814?pt=Camera_Flash_Accessories&hash=item3a6d6f48ae

  6. Congratulation.. Great shoot.. What kind of lens did you use? The faces are so in focus.. And appear aout the photo!!!

  7. Thanks FL! I think it was mainly the 50mm f1.8D from Nikon.