Beauty Dish Lighting Tutorial & How to make a DIY Beauty Dish with an umbrella for less than $7.00


Beauty Dishes are a favored light modifier for both portrait photographers and fashion photographers. In this beauty dish lighting tutorial I am going to break down the how, what, why, when and where of beauty dishes and show you how you can make your own DIY Beauty Dish with shoot through umbrella for less than $7.00.

Beauty Dishes were originally designed as modifiers for studio strobes. In other words – they were designed to be used on a strobe head with a flash tube that sends light in all directions and the beauty dish shapes the light. You can also use a beauty dish on a speedlight – BUT – a speedlight has a contained flash tube that is designed to push the light forward! So in a beauty dish almost all of the light fro the spedlight is hitting the reflector plate and then bouncing into the dish and being redirected out the front. It is a different result. It’s not a matter of better or worse – it’s a matter of different and which do you prefer – so experiment.

A beauty dish doesn’t diffuse or soften light like a softbox or umbrella, instead it reflects light and helps you focus light towards a specific point. A beauty dish is a parabolic reflector with a flash mounted in the middle and a plate covering the flash head. This way when the flash is fired, the light hits the plate bounces back into the parabolic dish and out the sides. Because of the size and curvature of the dish – most of the light is directed forward. But remember – all light spreads – so generally beauty dishes are used fairly close to the subject to create a semi-hard light without a hot spot in the center.

People have created a DIY beauty dish with everything from salad bowls to to plastic buckets. The thing is – most of the shots that new and young photographers use a beauty dish for – don’t really need a beauty dish. Yes – they are trying to create good portrait lighting – They want the quick and dramatic light fall off – they want a focused light – you don’t need a beauty dish to do that. I can create light that is almost identical to a beauty dish with a $6.00 shoot through umbrella from Photoflex.

The Inverse Square Law for Photographers :
Photoflex RUD 30” Shoot Through Umbrella:
Beauty Dishes at :
Shoot through umbrellas at


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