Need tips for using beauty dish/grid (Profoto 600R)

Started May 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 11,136
Re: Need tips for using beauty dish/grid (Profoto 600R)

Your beauty dish is roughly the same thing as a big reflector, usually about 20" in diameter instead of the 7" reflector that normally comes with lights.

Contrary to what FlowBerlin says, the closer it is to your subject the larger it will be with respect to the subject so the softer the light from it will be.  At any distastance it will be harder light than from a softbox of the same size.  If you use a sock on the front of the beauty dish you will soften the light some and smooth out the transition from light to shadow at the edge of the disk of light from the dish, but light from a softbox will still be softer.

Beauty dishes are usually used for doing portraits of young girls or women with beautiful clear smooth skin.  It is must often used above the camera for butterfly lighting.  The normal working distance would be 6' or less for the dish, probably in the 3'-4' range.  As FlowBerlin said, you do have to watch out for raccoon eyes, which are hard to prevent if you get the dish too close since it has to be above the lens and out of the shot.

Portrait Lighting - Names for different portrait lighting set-ups in photography

If you want to use it for shooting older people and you want to bring out the character of their skin, including the roughness and wrinkles, then move it off to the side more toward the 45° angle and move it further away so that the light becomes harder.

A beauty dish is also used for fashion.  It is a big reflector so it can illuminate a standing subject if moved further away than for portraits and when moved to the side it will give you nice lighting to bring out the texture and drape of the fabrics.  Properly positioned the light will slowly drop off in intensity from the head and chest to the feet.

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