• Week 9/52 – Beauty Dish

    by  • November 15, 2013 • 52 week, Lessons Learned, Studio, Technique, Tips • 1 Comment

    This week’s project was to build a beauty dish and use it. The design for my beauty dish comes from another photographer that I found online, which you can find here. Since I was building it for the Paul C. Buff Einstein light, I modified it (read simplified) to suit my light. Basically, the dish is made of a large stainless steel 20 qt. mixing bowl, and an 8 inch pizza pan. A hole is cut in the centre of the bowl, through which the light is mounted. In front of it, reflecting the light back onto the inside of the bowl, the pizza pan is mounted with three bolts. Just like the original design, I’ve made it so that the pizza pan can be moved closer or further from the bulb. The pan is held in the same place on the bolts with a nut on either side, so that you can simply move the pan up or down on the bolts. Here are some pictures of the (nearly) finished product.
    Some lessons from the project:

    • It is very important to sand the bowl in every single spot, otherwise the spraypaint will not stick there leading to a lot of work to fix the gaps later;
    • A dremel is a very useful tool for cutting holes in stainless steel and cleaning up the cut
    • It is virtually impossible to drill a hole through a stainless steel mixing bowl, even with the recommended cobalt drill bits (or I just have very poor drilling technique, even though I followed youtube instructions for it);
    • Spraypainting does not work well when it is cold outside, and doing it in your bathtub will result in black or white bathtub and arm hairs; and
    • I need another location that is warm enough and well ventilated to apply the coats of lacquer (A bit of paint on my bathroom is ok, but hard scratch proof lacquer is probably not a good idea).

    Some further work:

    • Paint with clear satin lacquer to protect it from dings and scratches;
    • The clasps that hold the dish to the light are longer than is required by the thickness of the bowl, so I need to add a spacer around the opening to reduce the jiggle of the dish;
    • Explore the placement of the reflector to find optimum; and
    • Build a bigger one with a 30 qt. bowl.

    I did manage to have a couple models to test it out, but they’re uncomfortable with putting themselves online, so I’ll take one next week and post it then.

    Next week I will try to take some Impressionist-style photos. Feel free to try it out and share your results!


    Photographer, traveller, adventurer.


    One Response to Week 9/52 – Beauty Dish

    1. Pingback: Week 11/52 – Nature in the studio | Jean-Marc Robin Photography – Blog

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *