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Portrait dish for on-camera flash
Portrait dish for on-camera flash

The beauty dish is known to photographers by many names: a light converter or soft reflector, "beauty dish" or simply "plate". There are two key characteristics of cymbals:

- color;

- diameter.

Portrait plate - what is it and why?

Soft reflector is sometimes equipped with additional equipment: fabric diffuser and honeycombs. In essence, this is an ordinary reflector, but “brought to mind”. The diameter of the dish is larger than the standard reflector, there are several additional design features.

beauty dish

To make the Profoto beauty dish reflect light better, it is equipped with a splitter (deflector) in the center. This detail evenly distributes direct beams over the entire plate. A recess is provided for directing light. Honeycombs will help to distribute the light most accurately and efficiently. You can put them on a beauty dish if there is a border.

The most common beauty dish diameters are:

- 400mm to 410mm are the smallest;

- from 550 mm to 560 mm - these are categorized as medium size;

- from 680 mm to 700 mm –large flash dishes.

Diameter 850 mm and more is almost impossible to find. Experts recommend stopping at plates of medium diameter. Small soft reflectors are useful in small photo studios, but medium ones are most in demand if the shooting space is spacious. Large soft reflectors are suitable for group portraits.

The biggest on-camera flash beauty dish is the guarantee that the light will be soft. This is ensured by the fact that the object will be illuminated by a plate at each of its points, and this leads to softening of the shadows. You can compare this with sunny and cloudy weather. If the sun's rays are forced to break through the clouds, partially reflected from them, they illuminate all objects on the street from different angles.

honeycomb beauty dish

How to choose beauty dish?

If the studio is relatively small, you need to remember that it will not be possible to place a plate at a sufficiently large distance from the subject. However, this will not be a problem if you need to photograph, for example, just a portrait, but full-length shots are no longer needed. In this case, a small diameter beauty dish will do. Flashes will be with leveled highlights with high quality shooting. As for specific figures, the height of the head, as a rule, is within 30 cm, and the distance from the top of the head to the chest is no more than 1000 mm. When choosing a 50mm lens in a small studio (2-3 meters long wall, 1.5-2 meters wide), you can safely use a 410mm beauty dish.

portraitplate profoto

Small diameter soft reflector is ideal for home photo studio.

For an average studio, that is, rooms from 35 meters or more, it is recommended to stop at a beauty dish of medium diameter, that is, 560 mm. An even larger size is needed when the studio is really spacious and it is assumed that the model will need to be shot in full body.

A plate for every occasion

The most sought after beauty dish for fashion photography. Here as a model - a young girl with beautiful, clean, well-groomed skin. You can apply it most effectively by resorting to the “butterfly” equipment layout scheme. This allows you to get a key light.

Another important point is the color of the beauty dish. You need to pay attention to the recess. It is recommended to take a plate in which it is painted in silver, as this increases the ability to reflect light. An effect similar to this can be achieved using very high quality white paint, which is what many manufacturers do.

flash beauty dish

Portrait plate: what to combine with?

To narrow the light beam reflected from the plate, you can install special honeycombs for the soft reflector. By choosing good honeycombs, you can thereby completely replace the spotlight. In today's photography industry, the effects of a honeycomb beauty dish are very common.

Combs are quite expensive, and the most profitable and reliable option is to buy them complete with a plate. Separately, this will result inan even larger amount, but no one can give a guarantee of compatibility. Popular with professional photographers are kits that include:

- beauty dish;

- reflector;

- honeycomb.

Another important addition to the beauty dish is the white diffuser. By installing it, the photographer has at his disposal a full-fledged round softbox. Professionals rarely resort to a diffuser, however, manufacturers almost always include it in the kit with a plate.

Plate and umbrella: a great duet

You can use a beauty dish with an umbrella. It is easy to assemble and disassemble, it takes a few seconds, and transportation does not cause problems, so this kit is really common among modern photographers.

When choosing an umbrella to work with a beauty dish, you need to remember that the diameter must be at least one and a half meters. The combination allows you to get incredibly soft shadows - it is impossible to achieve such using only one plate. At the same time, the plate provides an accurate geometry, since it reflects the light in parallel, but the umbrella gives diffused light. You can choose an umbrella with a matte surface that reflects the rays of light. In combination with a beauty dish, this will produce very soft light. True, there will be some light loss.

But a silver umbrella is absolutely useless when working with a beauty dish. It gives the effect exactly the same as the plate, without strengthening or weakening it. But you can take an umbrella to the light. Light source size fromumbrella will not change, but this can be adjusted using the beauty dish. True, she will not be able to soften the light, and just an umbrella in the light will cope with this. It eliminates the appearance of shadows in the center of the frame and smooths out the shadow that the plate can create.

Do-it-yourself softreflector: is it possible?

Making a soft reflector for an external flash is not a very difficult task. Must have:

- two plastic bowls (20 cm and 12 cm in diameter);

- soldering iron;

- very strong thread;

- instant glue;

- foil.

You can buy almost everything in any hardware store, it costs literally a penny. What to do about it?

beauty dish for on-camera flash

How to make your own beauty dish?

A do-it-yourself beauty dish is made as follows. First you need to take a larger bowl and very carefully cover it with foil from the inside using instant glue. The edges must be treated with adhesive tape so that the foil does not bulge. A small bowl should be glued on the outside, also with foil, and also very carefully. Next, make a hole in the bottom of the larger bowl - so that the flash head can enter there. This should make four plastic petals. They need to be preserved. As a rule, plastic bowls are made of a fairly thick material, but fragile, so the petals cannot be bent just like that, the fold points should be heated first. This is where a soldering iron comes in handy.

If all dimensions were met, the nozzlewill be tight. In this case, no additional fasteners need to be made, and you can proceed to the next task - installing a bowl of a smaller diameter inside its larger counterpart. There is no secret here. First, three holes are made in the edges of both bowls with a soldering iron, then a very strong thread is taken and threaded through the holes obtained. The thread must be pulled evenly, then adjust the position of the inner bowl.

The system is completely ready, you can start testing.

DIY beauty dish

If everything was done correctly, you will notice that the shadows have become less dense when using the nozzle, their sharpness has decreased, but the highlights have lost their brightness. The image obtained when using a homemade plate is more contrast than without it. The edges of the shadows are softer, they are scattered, and density is maintained in the center of the shadow, providing expressiveness, reality, depth of the picture.

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