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beauty dish

BHInsights Chris Gampat Beauty Dish Speedlite Mating (6 of 8)

A beauty dish and an umbrella can accomplish different looks due to the way that they diffuse light. While an umbrella will more or less spread the light out in pretty much every forward facing direction, a beauty dish will bounce it off of a plate then reflect it back around a dish area. YouTube User Ticknor Photography decided to do a demonstration of one modifier against the other when it comes to headshots. The only criticism that we have of the otherwise very informal video is that the light modifiers aren’t the same size. Otherwise, you’ll want to turn your speakers up because the sound is a tad low.

His findings are that the beauty dish delivers more texture on the skin–which you’ll either not want if you’re retouching the image or want if you’re trying to get all the skin details. In general, beauty dishes are used more for fashion photography and portraits that are meant to have a very fashiony look. If you want a similar look from an umbrella, you need one with a silver interior.

The video is after the jump.

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A very long time ago, I hacked a beauty dish to work with a speedlight by stuffing a Gary Fong Lightsphere into the back of it. It worked well enough–and now it seems like the idea has caught on. RoundFlash recently announced their new RoundFlash Dish–a flash modifier that connects to your speedlight and gives off light almost like a beauty dish. It seems loosely based off of their very excellent RoundFlash Ring Flash Version 2.

Inside of this unit is a mirror that bounces the light backward and into a reflective area that then spreads the light out and evenly. Plus, it has a built in diffusion dome for even softer light.

It attaches to the head of your flash via a belt system and only costs around 69 Euro. If it’s anything like what the RoundFlash Ring Flash is, we’re super excited for it.



Phottix is continuing to build up their light modifiers with their brand new line of Luna modifiers. These modifiers are collapsible–similar to the Westcott Rapid Boxes which we previously reviewed. The beauty dish comes in a 28 inch configuration while the Octa comes in a 43 inch size. The modifiers use fiberglass rods that connect to a speedring for mounting to your favorite lights. Granted, it comes with a Bowens speedring, but those are becoming an industry standard at this point. However the rings can be swapped out for another.

The Octa will set you back $75 while the folding beauty dish will cost $65.


Recently, I attended a photography event, This Is Studio Light, organized by my friend Scott Wyden and hosted by Dynalite. I am a big supporter of helping others learn the craft of photography, as well as learning as much as I possibly can and that’s what we did that day. We started the day with a presentation by Scott called “Photography Studio Lighting On A Budget”(free on Udemy). We then discussed light modifiers with Dynalite’s Jim Morton. Since a lot of Dynalite’s equipment has built-in 32 channel Pocket Wizard transceivers to enable wireless shooting, we had Pocket Wizard Plus III’s and X’s to use.  While shooting I got a quick hands on with a few Dynalite products for the first time.

Here is what I thought.

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Today I’m giving you a very quick behind the scenes look at how I sometimes photograph items for the site. I’ve got one style with a black background where I just point a speedlite at the ceiling, and then there is a more complicated setup, like what I did yesterday for the Zeiss 15mm f2.8 review.

Years ago, I took a box and glued white pieces of paper to it: the same type of paper that you would find in those large art sketch pads. I did this all over in varying layers. The front and top are cut off. On top of the setup, I usually place a light. In this case, it is my Chris Gampat Beauty Dish Hack and 580 EX II. However, I shot all of the photos with my Olympus 17mm f2.8 and EP2. In order to set the flash off, I needed a hard connection. My Phottix wireless triggers didn’t work, so I instead opted for Syl Arena’s OCF TTL cord. Olympus and Canon’s TTL systems don’t play nice together, so I set the flash to manual. Then I adjusted all of my settings and blasted the item with light.

Very little post-production was done to the images.

Be sure to check out our other useful photography tips.

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As many of you know, we’re fans of film here at The Phoblographer. Pretty much every staff member shoots with film at one time or another and we have a real feeling that all of photography’s faces and mediums should be experienced in order for someone to find themselves and their identity. Personally, I’m smitten with my Polaroid Land Camera 210. But it’s limited in that I have pretty much no manual control over the shutter or aperture. In practice, that meant that I was shooting photos with some weird looks to them.

And then I decided to start using a flash. I’m smacking myself for not doing this earlier; as it’s so easy to use and will immediately improve the quality of your images by tenfold.

Editor’s Note: Thank you so much to my very good buddy Gabe Biderman for the Instant Film.

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