Monday, August 08, 2011

The beauty dish...

Pinked by Bill Gekas

My goto key-light modifiers are usually my softboxes followed by shoot through umbrellas. They just work really well for me and for most skin types so I find it hard to go wrong using these modifiers, you know, comfort zone shooting ;-) In order to push our boundaries though we must occasionally slip out of our comfort zone, so I decided to use my beauty dish as I haven't used it in a while.
From past experience i've found the beauty dish produces quite a unique type of light that I just can't get with the other modifiers. It's hard to explain but it's sort of soft yet porcelain edgy at the same time and quite efficient.
The downside i've found to the dish though is if the subject doesn't have the smoothest skin it sort of shows. This is one reason why the beauty dish is mainly used on younger models or those with smoother skin, it gives them an edgy yet soft glow and is quite a popular light modifier for fashion/beauty type work.

In the photo above I was shooting comfortably at 1/8th speedlight power at f4.5, that's easy on the batteries for on-location work and almost instant recycle times. I decided to place a sock over the dish for a little more diffusion, the sock also served the purpose of creating circular almost solid catchlights rather than the distinctive ring shaped catchlights a bare beauty dish creates. Nothing wrong either way just a personal preference type of thing and those that know me know my opinion being that the shape of catchlights don't carry enough weight by themselves to make or break an image.
The diagram below shows this was a one light setup, no reflector was used below the subject either. I killed off all ambient in the room with max sync speed and then got the exposure just where I wanted it. The subject was placed lying down on a pink velour type fabric, she wore the same coloured pink jacket and in post I emphasized that hue in her facial features as well. The tonal relationships along with the almost symmetrical composition worked well to create this image.

Pinked lighting diagram