Last weekend was the first time I have had the opportunity to use a beauty dish. I love experimenting with light and learning new ways to shape it. I must say that I was very impressed with the results. Before stepping into the studio and experimenting, I did my research and came across a few helpful articles on how best to use a beauty dish and how it works.
A beauty dish focuses diffused light onto your subject, giving a very soft light with decent falloff to help shape the face. It is best used for close up portraits and helps to evenly light facial features. The dish reflects light from the light source onto a dish which then reflects the light again onto your subject. The optimum distance to place the beauty dish from your subject is roughly double the dish size, obviously you can adjust this to get different effects. A beauty dish can be used as a key light or as a fill light to help give life to eyes and smooth out shadows. Beauty dishes come in different sizes and substances to give different effects, a silver dish gives more contrast while a white dish will offer softer light. This is just my first attempt at using a beauty dish, but I intend to experiment and learn how make the most out of it in future shoots. Below is the setup I used to take the shot featured in this post. I used two lights to evenly white out the backdrop, beauty dish from the front right and a rim light from a soft box over the models shoulder. Some further reading into beauty dish lighting can be found here.