using a beauty dish
I recently photographed Seregon again, but this time on location in Manhattan.
The lighting was simple - a beauty dish that was held up by my assistant …
What fascinated me about the beauty dish is that it seems to be a type of ‘holy grail’ lighting tool. On the photography forums, photographers who have never even used a beauty dish, will be quick to recommend it. So in that sense it seems like a beauty dish is the in thing to have when it comes to lighting.
I guess that was part of what drove me to get one when I bought the Profoto AcuteB powerpack for extra power for on-location lighting. The Q-flashes I have been using just didn’t have the oomph! that I wanted at times. When I got the Profoto powerpack, it was just a small step to get that beauty dish as well.
But in the first few times I tried the beauty dish, (with Seregon and Kathy as my models), I felt that the beauty dish was too specialized .. a niche lighting tool. But I have now changed changed my mind on the usability of the beauty dish – just on the basis of this latest shoot ..
Since it was overcast, I didn’t have to drown out the sun with flash – which is actually what I wanted to play around with on this shoot. But the cloudy day nixed that idea. We also unfortunately we rained out before I could play around some more, but the few images that I got, I really liked the light from the unmodified beauty dish used like this on location.
What also really impressed me was the speed of setting up. It takes time to set up a softbox (which is also bulky). The beauty dish however, is sooooo easy to set up. You whip it out of the carry case, fasten the clamp on the flash-head, and you’re set. Set-up time .. less than 60 seconds. And when it started to rain, it was just as quick to break it down. Un-clamp the beauty dish, slip it into the carry case, and zip up the case for the powerpack. I kept the powerpack in the Profoto shoulder bag.
Simplicity itself. Powerpack in the bag .. one fat cable to the flash-head which is clamped to the beauty dish .. and the beauty dish held up by my assistant. Lightweight, with tons of juice if need be … and with sweet sweet light.
For anyone who is curious what a beauty dish actually looks like:
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