WEDDING SEASON SALE! 30% Off Training Systems!

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
Tips & Tricks

Lighting Outdoor Portraits Using A Beauty Dish | Joel Grimes

By Hanssie on June 18th 2016

Among the various lighting modifiers, the beauty dish is a favorite for many portrait and fashion photographers. It’s different from all other light modifiers because it reflects light off of the metal surface instead of diffusing it. This creates a dramatic light output that will sculpt your subject’s face and create catchlights in their eyes. You can use various accessories to add drama and shadows to create more compelling portraits.

In the following video, Joel Grimes takes his Westcott 24″ Rapid Box beauty dish outside and shows us some lighting setups for outdoor portraits. He says,

Natural light, generally, is not very flattering. So the job of the photographer is to create light that falls perfectly on the face to really bring out the best in your subject.


So, using the sun as an edge light on his model, Grimes has his assistant position the beauty dish to light her face from about three feet away. Because there is so much ambient light in the scene, he is able to pull the modifier farther away from the subject than in the studio. Grimes is shooting with a Canon 5DS R and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II at around 100-200mm, f/2.8, 1/200th, ISO100. Since it’s early evening, these settings will help Grimes achieve the slightly overexposed background to give the image an overall lifestyle portrait feel. Watch the video below to see how he does it.

You can see more of Joel Grimes’ work on his website here and more tips on lighting portraits and more in the following articles:

[Via Imaging Resource]

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Sada Domonkos

    OldSchool style :) Hss battery packed strobes works better i think than use nd filters in hars light.

    Voice activated monopod powered lightstand is nice too :D

    | |
  2. Colin Paul

    The beauty dish looks more like an Octa to me. Just saying.

    | |
    • Pancho Villa

      No it doesnt! I have been testing it vs Octas. It has 16 ribs which makes it very round, comes out perfectly round in catchlights vs the Octas which are clearly not round when you look at the catchlights ;)

      | |
  3. Paul Empson

    Really nice look created.. I know it’s not about buying more kit, however… I’m really going to have to get one of those voice activated light stands ;-)

    | |