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Thread: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    I've only been doing studio lighting professionally for close to 10 years, which isn't a long time, but I've seen some light modifiers become popular then fade.

    I do see their value with actor headshots that are basically flat lighted. I can see there's some major versatility as you do get harder light than a softbox, though not as collimated and less specular than a parabolic or Fresnel.

    So is the Beauty Dish thing something that will stay or will it wind up in the prop rooms and corners of the studios a few years from now?

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    Senior Member Chris Giles's Avatar
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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    I don't like the beauty dish, ringlight yes, clamshell yes.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    Chris,

    I have to admit, I've always felt the ring light gave creepy results, but I recently got one and my seniors seem to like it. So now I do too. lol.

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    Senior Member Chris Giles's Avatar
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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    I think if done right it's ok, this is a self portrait through a ring light I home made:



    I don't like the look of the Alien Bee's or Elinchrom Ring Flashes though.

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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    So is the Beauty Dish thing something that will stay or will it wind up in the prop rooms and corners of the studios a few years from now?
    Without question it'll stay. As for it's current popularity, I think that'll fade just like the ringlight has.

    A softbox or an umbrella require finesse, careful placement and a good eye to use effectively. Toss either on a light without any sense of where to place it and you get a wide swath of flat light. Not typically flattering or dramatic.

    Put a BD on the same light and by nature of it's fall off you get modeling that reveals shape and creates drama. Somewhat similar results can be had with a ringlight, though the look is much less flattering.

    Remember that photography is the most popular hobby in the world. There is no real portrait or fashion profession left on any scale. The market for gear is the hobbyists. Put that cheap knock-off BD from ebay in the hands of the novice and suddenly they're shooting with it every time because it's not flat light. It's over used, seldom flattering and garish in many instances. Oh, and you don't have to put those damned wands in and out every time you shoot.

    In the right hands a BD has it's place. Knowing how to use it, and when not to, is the sign of a pro.

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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    I like Beauty Dishes for the reasons Kirk mentioned above, and have had them in the studio mix for at least 10 years now ... and I'm sure they'll be part of the lighting tool box 10 years from now.

    Actually, BDs can be a pretty versatile tool, but not all are created equal in that regard. My smaller Hensel 22" is interesting because the center reflector design allows all sorts of additional modifiers which take seconds to mount ... and I do use 7" grids to further control the placement and fall-off.

    I use a 33.5" Mola Beamm that has a highly polished mirrored reflector to shoot body builders and body sculpting competitors. The directional specularity pops those oiled body parts like nothing else in my tool box While it is a fairly specialized tool, it can be modified to tone down its primary qualities with the Mola mesh or solid diffusers when desired.

    I think they have become popular with amateur enthusiasts because of the name ... Beauty Dish. They see all these U-Tube type, behind the scenes fashion shoots with an assistant wielding a Beauty Dish on the end of a painters' pole and they gotta have one ... even if they have to make it themselves. The one's adapted to speed-lights are pretty pathetic, but those folks aren't really open to hearing that. Most just don't get the whole notion of subtile use of light and how certain modifiers have certain qualities.

    -Marc

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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    I'm very curious about the new Mola Euro Beamm. I've been shooting with the original Euro for years and it's a wonderful light. I also have the Manti and the Demi. I've never invested in the Setti because a grid on the Demi gives me that look.

    I also have the Bowens 15" BDs that have a counter reflector and a plexi cover that's fitted with a 7" grid in the center. A great light with a much more dramatic fall off.

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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The one's adapted to speed-lights are pretty pathetic, but those folks aren't really open to hearing that. Most just don't get the whole notion of subtile use of light and how certain modifiers have certain qualities.

    -Marc
    +1

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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Candlish View Post
    I'm very curious about the new Mola Euro Beamm. I've been shooting with the original Euro for years and it's a wonderful light. I also have the Manti and the Demi. I've never invested in the Setti because a grid on the Demi gives me that look.

    I also have the Bowens 15" BDs that have a counter reflector and a plexi cover that's fitted with a 7" grid in the center. A great light with a much more dramatic fall off.
    Yeah, that's pretty much how the Hensel 22" BD works ... can't fit it with the really thicker grids, but most work fine.

    The Mola Beamm is pretty interesting ... very crisp directional light but still even dispersion without a lot of hot spots that I would have expected from such a polished surface.

    Here's one of Martin about a week before a competition. Single Mola Beamm camera right. Crop to show specular detail. It was part of a shoot to make 30 x 40 posters for a gym area ... I made one for my work area with Leica S2 text.

    Marc

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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The Mola Beamm is pretty interesting ... very crisp directional light but still even dispersion without a lot of hot spots that I would have expected from such a polished surface.
    That was my concern, lots of blown out hot spots. It sounds like they found a happy medium with the finish so it's slightly diffuse.

    Nice work. Thanks for the info.

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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    Hey David,
    The beauty dish is no fad.
    I have had mine (a Mola) since the mid 1980's, and I have used it a lot. It is a very versatile tool.
    There are a lot of ways to use a BD as a main (key) light or as a fill.
    Very useful, can't imagine not having one or two around.

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    Re: Rise in popularity of Beauty Dish

    I recently learned that the silver satin finish is no longer being offered by Mola. Only the BEAMM will be available with the polished silver finish and the entire line will still have a white finish.

    I too have had a Mola since the early 80's. Before that I used the Norman 22" BD that's essentially the same as the Profoto white BD.

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