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    So I had been wanting to make a DIY Beauty Dish for a while and recently I finally decided to give it a try.

    So far I’m very impressed by the results.
    I used a large stainless steel mixing bowl, some 3″ 3/16th bolts/nuts and a ceiling lightbox cover thing.

    Here’s the beauty dish front and back
    DIY Beauty Dish - Front

    DIY Beauty Dish - Back


    Here’s one of the first photos I got out of it.

    Here’s SOOC
    Brian SOOC

    And here’s the final edit:
    Brian Edited


    A) Let me know what you think?

    B) Do you guys have any DIY gear? I’d love to see what other people have if they do!

    Worst Case Scenario

    All my gear is old and most of it has had a trip to my shed at some stage. I had a DIY high glide system for a few years until a mate of mine died and left me his real system. I have a half DIY beauty dish  which uses a 22 inch reflector / dish and the centre piece is made of a stainless steel hamster feeding dish. My main light is a (about ) a 4ft octagonal soft box which was completely home made in the days before you could get cheap Chinese units. It  uses fibre glass rods from a tent, plastic plastic connecters and carbon fibre rods from a kite shop and lots of black material with silver material sewn onto the insides. I”ve been using it daily for nearly 15 years with out any problems.

    If I can hijack the thread slightly, what exactly are the characteristics of a beauty dish? i.e. what does it do that a soft box doesn’t? I saw a comparison pic from a website a while ago that had a dummies head shot with all the different lighting attachments. Out of all the shots the soft box seemed to give the best light and nearly everything else looked pretty much the same.


    what exactly are the characteristics of a beauty dish?

    Harder light than from a regular softbox.  Possibly more focused light than you would get from the little softboxes made for small flash, definitely more focused than from a studio softbox.  Small enough to put almost in the model’s face, but keep it out of the photo.  Large enough to deliver some wrap to the light.  The parabolic reflector is supposed to focus the light on some distant point, well behind the model.

    I don’t know, but it’s not a stretch to imagine some photographer saw a movie set and liked what a spotlight did to a model.  Later the beauty dish was worked out as a way to get light from a strobe that had the characteristics of the movie spot light.  The other place we sometimes see the same construction is some car’s high beam headlamps.

    You might like this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-cQyJWNvLY

    Worst Case Scenario

    Nairbys pic has a lot less light on his neck compared to his face, is that because he has the dish close enough to focus the light on his face?


    I think that’s because he used a bowl instead of a parabolic reflector.   And/or the light was too high.  Real beauty dishes are engineered.  The bulb placement is relative to the diameter of the dish, the arc, and what they want the spread to look like.

    For characteristics of a real beauty dish, check the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-cQyJWNvLY

    If you want to see the greater detail, the video says they have a Facebook page with the detailed photos.


    I have lots of diy light modifiers.


    to me beauty dishes make sense on studio strobes, less so on speedlights unless they are bare bulb (how many actually have those anyway). I’m quite tempted to try and build something like the gami lights soft boxes but with the ability to stick a grid on. I shall have to tinker a bit I think, shame I don’t have a shed.


    I think I’m going to make a cloth scrim to go over-top of the beauty dish. I’m liking the light I’m getting from it and I think it would be perfect with a bit more softness.

    I’ll post more when I do that!


    You now you could probably just buy a light diffuser already to go for about $10. It may not be a full DIY project, but given the amount of time and energy it takes to go to get the material and put it all together, it may be worth it.
    I saw one at Paul Buff for $9.95.

    I’m sure there is cheaper out there, but this was the 1st I saw.


    I’m quite tempted to try and build something like the gami lights soft boxes but with the ability to stick a grid on.


    That is some keen DIY, I must say nairbynairb, I give you top marks for ingenuity! 🙂

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