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]