For a couple of years I have heard a lot of folks mentioning the company Fotodiox as a very affordable provider of photography accessories. Just a few weeks back, one of their social media accounts interacted quite a bit with my Instagram account, and I decided to send off a message offering to do a review of a modifier if they would be willing to send it. I was really happy that they got back to me right away, and they agreed to send something over! Their condition upon sending it was that I would have it just for a few weeks, and if I wanted to purchase it, I could do so at a nice discount. When I received it, I took a few self-portraits with it and immediately requested an invoice to purchase the modifier. Before I get into any of the other details of the review, I think the fact that I instantly wanted to buy it basically should suffice to say: I love it!
What it is
I think you can probably see in the image above - the beauty dish is an all-metal modifier. The light is mounted behind that center 'deflector panel,' and the light basically pours out of the entire white metal surface. In addition to the metal modifier, there is also a white diffuser sock that can be placed over the outer edge to diffuse the light even more.
What it does
Obviously the goal of every modifier is to spread light in different ways. The beauty dish really lends itself to my very contrast-heavy style of shooting. It gives off a light that is not as harsh as a direct bulb, but it's not as diffused as a traditional soft box. It's a parabolic reflector that is particularly good for lighting just a single subject (maybe two). The light wraps in pretty tightly, so this is not really the right tool for a larger group. But if you are looking for a modifier to create stunning, dramatic light on an individual person, you can't beat a beauty dish!
As I mentioned above, the reputation for Fotodiox is that of a very cost-effective accessory company. Their beauty dishes come in four sizes, and the 28" is the largest one, priced at only $119. USD. The smallest one, their 16", comes in under $50 USD!
I'll share a number of different photographs I made using just the 28" beauty dish and a Godox AD600Pro.
For the photo above, the modifier was positioned just slightly above and to camera right. One of the terrific features is the beautifully soft transition from the lit portions of the face into shadow.
When creating this photo, there was some very nice natural light coming in through the window to the left, but the model's face was almost entirely in shadow. I wanted to throw just enough light to brighten the face, without throwing it onto the wall behind her. The light was at very low power, around 1/64. The beauty dish did a fantastic job of throwing a moody and subtle light without being harsh or obtrusive.
This photo was actually shot on the opposite side of the building from the one just above. The light of the window wasn't really falling on her well, so I positioned the modifier just out of the frame, to camera right. I aimed it as close to the direction of the window light as possible to simply augment what was happening naturally by the window.
Both of the two images above involved virtually zero window light, which shows the quality of light of from just the beauty dish itself. The lower image is at substantially higher power.
Some General Observations
This modifier gives a photographer an incredible tool at an incredible price. That's basically it, in a nutshell! The only possible negative aspect I can think of is that the metal beauty dish is not going to be a 'low profile' item to store. If you have a decent amount of storage space for your gear, that isn't even a factor. But if you are limited on space, or working out of a very small space, it might be worth considering the smaller ones instead of the largest size.
Enjoy 15% off!
Fotodiox has generously offered to extend a 15% off discount code to all of my readers. It's active immediately and will be good through June 5, 2018. To use the code, shop at www.fotodioxpro.com and use the code morris052018 at checkout! The best thing is that this code is good site-wide, not just on the beauty dish, so check out some of the really cool other items while you are browsing! When you get your goodies, send me a message and give me your thoughts! If you find something of theirs you think fellow photographers would like to learn more about, let me know, and I'll see about providing a review!
Mark is a professional photographer working in the eastern United States. He is based in suburban Philadelphia, but shoots regularly in New York and eastern North Carolina, as well. Specializing in wedding & portrait photography, he is particularly a obsessed with capturing special events, moments and emotions.
In July, 2018, he is teaming up with Connor Hibbs to offer a special 3-day workshop in portraiture at the 155th annual Gettysburg re-enactments. If you are interested in Portrait Lighting, and action portraiture, you can learn more about that opportunity here.
In Fall of 2018, he will be presenting a hands-on gear show through the Pennsylvania Center for Photography. Details about that opportunity will be available as the date gets closer!