Beauty dishes are widely used modifiers in portrait photography and can help to create a number of key “beauty effects.” Rather than diffusing the light like a soft box, a beauty dish focuses harder light in the center, while falling off around the edges, creating a concentrated pool of light that can both soften skin and create beautiful shadows to sculpt facial features. Although there are many ways of positioning a beauty dish, it definitely has a “sweet spot” where it works best. The video below talks about some of the keys to finding that sweet spot:
As you can see from the video, the primary key in positioning a beauty dish is finding the right balance between the angles (contrast/shadows) and the desired skin effect.
“To get softer light, you diffuse.”
A beauty dish is a rather hard light source with semi-soft edges, and there are times when softer light is needed to even out the contrasts in a person’s skin. Lindsay mentions oily skin as an example: the oils often reflect light, creating bright highlights in hard light. Using a diffuser neutralizes the highlights and reduces contrast all the way around. Although many photographers use a soft box for this, if you’re still wanting the other effects of a beauty dish, a diffuser sock can be placed over the dish providing the same effect.
Use a reflector when you want to preserve a sense of shape (that comes from placing the beauty dish off of front-and-center), yet still want skin softness. A reflector will fill in the shadows, thereby reducing the contrast that causes texture (i.e. rough skin).
“You see texture when you see the contrast between a bright highlight and a dark shadow.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.