This is a guest post that our good friend Lanthus Clark from The Photophile was really nice enough to share with us. Today Lanthus will walk us through a step by step process of how he created his very own DIY beauty dish ON THE CHEAP!! So here it goes:
For some time now I have wanted to build something more effective, a DIY Beauty Dish! Woohoo!
Stuff I used:
I first cut a hole with the Stanley knife the right size to fit my SB600 flash jammed into the bottom of the flower pot.
Then I cut a corresponding hole into the bottom of the CD spindle case. It was quite tough as the plastic was harder than the flower pot and a slip would have meant a trip to the hospital for stitches. Be very careful!
I then mounted the CD spindle bottom onto the inside of the pot lining up the holes correctly so that the flash unit could be easily inserted. I drilled 4mm holes through both the pot and the CD spindle bottom and pop riveted both together making sure I used washers front and back to strengthen the joints. I want this baby to last.
Then I took the whole lot outside and spray painted the back of the pot black and the inside white. I tried to do as good a job as I could because I want the end result to look as presentable as possible.
Then I riveted an appropriate cut to size plastic circle to the outside of the CD case spindle lid just to make it all look nice. Then I glued a CD with the shiny side down (towards the flash hole) into the inside of the CD spindle cover with the white silicon.
It then all looked like this:
Above is the CD spindle cover with CD glued to the inside.
This is the dish with the CD spindle mounted into the dish.
And this is what it looks like from behind.
Note the CD shining through the hole. This is what will bounce the flash back and hopefully into the white dish. (Compare this with the same pic at the bottom of this post that has high density foam mounted to the flash entry hole).
This whole process was actually quite quick, maybe 30 minutes (with quick dry spray paint) and was very easy, even for a non DIY guy like me!
Here is the whole setup mounted onto my flash and firing via Nikon’s clever wireless flash system:
Just to show how the Beauty Dish spreads the light, below is the same flash, sans Dish closer to the wall and still not getting as much light onto the wall! Most of the light is just going straight forward, which is why we want to diffuse it to start off with:
And with Dish from the front:
The big question of course is whether this would be more successful than my last attempt at DIY flash diffusion. So I took it to my especially prepared test range and tried it out. Guess what? It worked!
First with direct flash. Check out the harsh shadows on the wall behind the subject!
But oh, how those shadows have just melted into glorious diffusion with the DIY Beauty Dish mounted! Also, I am not quite sure why, but this photo just seems to have better colour and contrast than the direct flash. Maybe it’s just me…
So, I’ll chalk this one up as a success!
There are a few improvements I would like to make however, after all this is just my “prototype”. First off I would like to get a small convex mirror and mount it into the CD case spindle lid where the CD is now and see if that reflects the flash a little better. And secondly I want to improve the flash mount on the back of the dish for both practicality’s sake and to make it look better.
So there you have it, a DIY Beauty Dish in less than an hour from common goods that most people have just lying around the house or in the garage.
I can’t take all the credit to myself however, here are some sites I referenced during my research into how to make it:
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A few words from Lanthus Clark:
My love affair with photography started many years ago when my Grandmother gave me my very first camera, a Kodak Box Brownie. It seemed like magic to me, taking photos (of everything under the sun) putting the roll of film into the envelope, posting it off to Kodak, and getting prints back in the mailbox two weeks later! I still have some of those prints in my collection.
Over the years I dabbled in a variety of weird and wonderful cameras until getting a Nikon F801s some years ago, and that I still use today. It was followed by an F65 and then more recently a D90. I switch freely between film and digital and love both for what each is good at doing. I also have a small variety of classic cameras that I like to “play” with. Check them out on my blog.
I have especially enjoyed learning this art form we call photography, which is simply boundless when we put our minds to it! My advice to new photographers is normally this: learn the rules, get them down pat and then do all you can to break them and get to something totally different that sets you apart from the crowd. Hey, rules were made to be broken. Be a rebel, ignore the rule of thirds!
More recently I have started applying my skills to making some money out of this art I love so much and have photographed products for catalogues, hotels and lodges for websites and also a few weddings and portraits. I love the interaction that wedding photography gives with people and also that you are helping them preserve a memory of their “once in a lifetime” day forever, so I can see that it may become a favorite avenue for me in the future.
Be a rebel!
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