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5 Ways to Use a Beauty Dish


Photographer and Profoto Legend of Light Miguel Quiles made this 7-minute video in which he shares 5 different ways he likes to use a beauty dish for portrait lighting.

Here’s a quick overview of the techniques discussed and example photos with each.

1. Clamshell setup without diffusion

Using the Profoto B1 with a beauty dish modifier, Quiles aims the flash directly at the center of his shot. By positioning a black table in front of the modifier, it is possible to absorb some of the light and prevent reflections, deepening some of the shadows in the face.

2. Clamshell setup with diffusion and reflector

Quiles adds a diffuser to soften the light. A reflector positioned out of shot beneath the model creates an extra catchlight on the bottom of the eyes, drawing more attention to the face.

3. Using it as a fill light

Quiles often places the beauty dish lower, pointing upwards and adding a little bit of fill. However, sometimes he positions the beauty dish on axis with the model’s face, producing a “really interesting looking catchlight to the eyes.”

4. Using it as a hair light

Positioned behind the model, pointing downwards slightly, the beauty dish lights up the hair of the model and creates photogenic highlights in the image.

5. Main light “punch”

While Quiles is using a 5-foot octagonal diffuser, the beauty dish is positioned without the diffusion so that the silver interior is exposed. The addition of this light, with the octagonal diffuser with a flash behind, provides a much more contrasty look.

Check out the full video above to see the tips in action and the settings used for the resulting portraits.