Sunday, May 03, 2009

DIY Beauty Dish


One aluminum pie tin (about $1 at SM Department Store):

Mark the outline of your hot shoe flash head on the underside, I used a white board marker:

Cut an H-shaped slot in the pie tin using a Dremel with emery cutting wheel:

Bend the tin outward along the H-cuts (I also used a screwdriver to poke the two screw-holes):

Second ingredient: the lid from a KFC Bucket Meal (free if you eat the chicken!)

I taped a circular aluminum foil cutout to the KFC Bucket Meal lid, this bounces the light from the flash back toward the pie tin, and eliminates the hot spot in the center:

Bolt the KFC Bucket Meal lid to the pie tin (it's easy to poke holes in the plastic using a heated screwdriver or similar):

The metal tabs formed on the underside of the pie tin are for fastening the pie tin to the hot shoe flash. Make sure to cover everything with tape to avoid accidents and so as not to scratch your hot shoe flash. I used a very thick rubber band to hold everything together (logo optional):

Here's what it's supposed to look like:

Nice ring flash effect:

I don't have any post-worthy portrait photos with the DIY Beauty Dish yet, but here is a close-up photo with direct flash:

and with the DIY Beauty Dish. Note the groovy circular highlights in the lens, and the much softer shadows:

I also noticed that on human subjects, at portrait distances, the Beauty Dish produces far more interesting lighting than ceiling bounce, let alone direct flash. It doesn't have the shadows under the chin of ceiling bounce, and it works even when there is no ceiling! (or if the ceiling is too high or too dark).