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

Started May 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 12,416
Re: Need tips for using beauty dish/grid (Profoto 600R)

FlowBerlin wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

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.

That's not contrary to what I said, since I didn't say anything about soft or hard light. What I was referring to is that the closer you bring a lightsource (of any size) to the subject, the more contrasty the light by itself will get – which is simply because the relative differences (i.e. nose vs. ears) to the light source become larger.

Hard light is high contrast light, i.e. the highlights and shadows have sharp edges and the shadows are very dark with respect to the highlights.

From page 19 of "Light Science and Magic:


The third important characteristic of a photographic light is its
contrast. A light source has high contrast if its rays all strike the
subject from nearly the same angle. Light rays from a  low-
contrast source strike the subject from many different angles.
Sunlight on a clear day is a common example of a high-contrast
light source. Notice that the rays of sunlight in Figure 2.4 are
parallel to one another. They all strike the subject at the same

As you bring the light closer to the subject the light gets softer since its relative size to the subject increases.  The result is that light is striking the subject from more angles, which is what softens the edges of the highlights and shadows.

As you bring the light closer to the subject the light also wraps around the face to fill in the shadows so you don't get the high contrast you get from hard light.

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