Build Yourself a Cheapo DIY Beauty Dish Using Styrofoam Bowls

Photographer Kirsty Wiseman didn’t want to shell out money for a real beauty dish — she doesn’t really need one — so she built this funny-looking DIY beauty dish for a few pennies using a couple of Styrofoam bowls, a couple of cocktail sticks, and a piece of aluminum foil. After playing around with it, Wiseman was delightfully surprised to find that her gear hack actually produced decent results.

She writes,

In sum, although my beauty dish is somewhat smaller (and uglier) than your average dish, it’s worth playing about with a homemade one until you can appreciate what size you want to work with and whether you like the results to warrant buying the real deal.

I’m on the look out for larger polystyrene dishes to broaden the area I want to work on but in the interim, I’m happy to faff around with my little creation until I decide whether to spend the big bucks or not. Or maybe just continue using this monstrosity and fake it until someone can convince me otherwise.

To try your own hand at creating an ugly beauty dish to play around with, head on over to Wiseman’s site for a step-by-step tutorial.

DIY Beauty Dish – for £1 [Kirsty Wiseman]

Image credits: Photographs by Kirsty Wiseman

  • Nô body

    Wtf! Bring y’a 24-70 ans this cobra i’ll show you à boucher!…..

  • John MacLean

    Hmm, the direct flash is over exposed, and the BD is under!

  • Jared Monkman

    get that flash off camera and I bet you’ve got yourself a decent dish!

  • Mario

    Only because it looks similar, it isnt already one! This nice looking gagdet is fake. It is not enhancing anything. It only steals light. A beauty Dish creates a sharp hot spot and soft light around. So it delivers two shadow types at once from the same direction. THIS Gimmick cant do that. BUT: with better shaped raw materials that fit the needs it could be a chance to enhance it.

  • Puku Bode

    Fake (images to compare)!

  • Wallerus

    If you can afford a 5DMII and 24-70 L glass, you don’t need no stinking styro foam.

  • Mako Koiwai

    The bigger the light source in relationship to the subject, the softer the light

  • gunman

    That’s f2.8, open up the aperture and turn up the ISO a bit, available light creates better photo. You dont actually need a flash.

  • gber

    I’m tired of seeing all of these home made pieces of crap. Yes you can make a DIY thing, but would you want to really use it in public? Just because you can, does not mean you should. Looks like Petapixel is just looking for content

  • matthew

    People who say this don’t understand off camera lighting

  • John Flynn

    Sigh….what a steaming pile.

  • kirsty wiseman

    Jeez, its a bit of fun. I do actually (now) have Cowboy Studio beauty dishes for my studio…. this was a little experiment for people to get a “fee”l for the lighting effects of one before they spend the big buck x

  • kirsty wiseman

    i agree. It was in a dark room – even at F2.8 – there was going to be some shutter speed issue (w/o flash)

  • harumph

    What does off-camera lighting have to do with anything? The topic is about a cheap faux beauty dish for an on-camera flash, and you guys are arguing about natural light vs. off-camera lighting.

  • Fred Nerks

    Some of the worst nitpickers and snobs are found in the photography field, Kirsty. I think your experiment was cool whether it worked on not. I experiment with things, myself, but I don’t show them because of the negative responses.

  • mesh

    she definitely never used a ring flash…

  • mesh

    *beauty dish I mean

  • Joey Duncan

    Ya? is that your opinion from your parents basement?

    Hey jack wagon, in the future if you’re going to troll, by don’t you back it up with a sentence or two of data. Or even a non-troll sentence of your opinion….

  • Bill Binns

    Everybody that complains about this has probably spent a hundred bucks on some piece of Gary Fong nonsense. It’s a good idea. I can see myself MacGyvering together something like this if I found myself in a room where nothing else was working. I have held up paper napkins in front of my flash with good results in the past.

    I’ll also remind everyone that no less an authority than David Hobby himself has DIY ideas all through his site. Including a tutorial for building a snoot out of a cereal box, drinking straws and gaffers tape.