This is a review for the Impact’s Beauty Dish Reflector Kit with an adapter for the Paul C Buff Alien Bee Strobe. The Reflector kit includes a 20″ Beauty Dish Reflector, Honeycomb Grid for 20″ Beauty Dish Reflector, and a diffuse sock.
I have mostly been a natural light photographer. I believe there is so much beauty in available light. However, I have been playing with studio lighting to have more control over my lighting environment. I am a huge fan of light modifiers that create soft light (like a softbox or this parabolic umbrella). Using a beauty dish was new to me and a little different than what I was used to – it is always fun and beneficial to play around with new tools to give you a new perspective on photography.
A beauty dish is a type of light modifier that attaches to a set of strobes. It uses a parabolic reflector to distribute light towards a focal point.
I used the Beauty Dish with my Paul C Buff Alien Bee B400 strobes – Alien Bees are a great and affordable option for off camera lighting.
Impact makes a wide range of light modifiers that can fit most brands of strobe (like the Alien Bees that I have and they also carry adapters for brands like Bowens, Westcott, and Elinchrom to name a few). For this particular set up you do need to buy an adapter to fit the Beauty Dish to your specific brand of strobe.
2) Product Specifications
The Beauty Dish Reflector Kit includes the following:
- White Interior Beauty Dish
- Diffusion Sock
- Honeycomb Grid
These are 20″ in diameter (the sock will fit up to a 22 inch dish).
You must also purchase an adapter to attach it to your choice strobe. I have the Impact Beauty Dish Adapter for Paul C. Buff Alien Bee, Einstein, White Lightening, Zeus, Balcar Flashpoint Flash Heads. It works great for my Alien Bee B400 strobe.
A beauty dish creates light that is more contrast-y than I am used to, so I was curious to see how that would fit my style. I had a feeling that the diffusion sock would be most helpful for me to soften the light, to get the light closer to what I like.
The honeycomb grid directs the light more intensely towards the subject and prevents light from spilling onto the background.
The deflector is the metal piece in the center of the beauty dish that bounces the flash backwards, filling the disk, and then directing that light forward again. It helps to not make the light so harsh.
I shot these images a variety of ways.
First, I shot them my normal way- natural light and on film. Below are a few samples of film and natural light, so you can see my typical style for these types of sessions to give you something to compare. The full set of natural light/film photos are posted here.
Then, I brought out the Beauty Disk and began to test away. The Beauty Dish gave a much different look than what I was used to.
First, I photographed Kat with the Beauty dish and no grid or sock:
Then I added the grid:
And finally the sock:
Below is a comparison of a headshot with a large octobox (image on the left) and the headshot with the beauty dish (image on right):
Impact’s Beauty Dish Reflector Kit is a great tool to modify light. The quality is superb and the price is affordable. If you are looking for a Beauty Dish, I HIGHLY recommend picking up Impact’s kit.
However, for me personally, I prefer less contrast-y light and my choice modifier would be a large softbox or parabolic umbrella.