Its me, David Griffin A.K.A. “The PRINCE OF CHEAP” back again!
I cannot tell a lie… I’ve had tons of new equipment and haven’t told anyone. :) Until now! I’ve finally ended my quest! I’ve found the cheap beauty dish! Its here! Its here!!
I went to ebay searching for a beauty dish. I was even planning on selling out and buying some ultra expensive flash just to get it… well not all the way selling out because the highest costing system I would’ve gotten into would have been the Alien bee 22inch Beauty Dish! :) Just when I saw a Bee to bid on I saw that I there was a 16 inch dish for only $49.00 that had a Bowen’s “S” mount that would fit on my new SL-400 flash. EUREKA!
Lets talk about the beauty dish for a moment. The beauty dish is simply a wide parabolic reflector that bounces and reflects the light off of a small rounded reflector before actually letting it out. Because of the nature of a beauty dishes size and its typically silver or white surface it has the tendency to produce soft-yet-snappy-and-contrasty light all depending on the distance from the subject. In fact there actually is a prime lighting distance where you get the sweet spot of light from your dish. It depends on size and distance (you’d have to test this for yourself). As for mines its inner-reflector all the way at the end, dish pointed slightly toward the subject overhead and above by about 3.5 feet. From this distance the light falloff is absolutely theatrical! I love it! In fact, beauty dishes have become my favorite main light modifier. Beauty dishes create a beautiful arc of light with a dramatic falloff. Combine this with a grid, and your dish becomes a soft spotlight.
The photo above is without the diffusion sock. Whats amazing is you can see the small shadow halo of the diffusion disc. This is the sweet spot I typically try to put my subjects inside of while within about 3-4 feet of my dish. Yes its dented on the bottom right side but hey, pro quality light for only $49.00! Who cares!
The above photo was taken with the nylon diffusion sock on. As you can see at the same output level the light is a bit more tame. The light in the center is a bit more concentrated than the edges as should be expected.
This beauty dish is not the lightest in the world… in fact its a Chinese Wok! You read that correctly D.I.Y.ers… its a wok with a diffusion dome, a white nylon shower-cap diffuser and a Bowens “S” mount adapter welded on! Its cheap crap at its finest! Its my favorite light modifier for a main light! Think of it, snappy main light with a great falloff that highlights your subject! Its the soft spotlight of your dreams! Think of the beauty dish as an ultra controlled umbrella without the spill… its the union of the soft box and umbrella. You can even put colored gel on the inner-side of the diffusion dome and viola… colored light with a beautiful falloff! At the baby price of $49.00 ($62 with shipping and handling) its the steal of a lifetime as far as different lighting modifiers go. The worst best part is NOW they come complete with a grid and nylon sock diffuser for only $59.00! (Too bad I didn’t know how to just wait!). My advice… after you’ve gotten your umbrella, get a Bowens “S” Mount flash to mount it too and GET THIS TOOL!
Check out my work and more at www.davidgriffinphotography.com its where you see all my cheap $#it in action!