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How does light from a beauty dish behave, and when and why would you use one?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

A beauty dish gives a softer light than an unmodified flash, but not as soft as a softbox or shoot-through umbrella.

This means that you can control the light more than when using a softbox.

A beauty dish is often used in portrait work, and can be flattering when used as a light on the subject's face, where it can give a nice balance between even softbox type illumination and harsh ringflash.

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In general, the beauty dish will cause an even spread of light around the subject that provides for better contrast. Basically, it becomes less directional, illuminating from several directions rather than from above or to the side. So, in that sense, it would be used for portrait work or even product or macro. It is, however, more harsh than using a softbox setup, so be aware of the impact that can have on skin flaws and such.

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