The past week I have been experimenting with the Strobist DIY beauty dish. I was somewhat happy with the results but wished there was a little more control with the light spreading. I was searching online for a more robust and adjustable beauty dish and found out how to make one. I had to make a few changes because it would be my design, and something I hope to work with for a long time. So I will first introduce the Strobist beauty dish, which is composed of a terracotta bowl, gutter adapter for the speedlight, a 50pk CD-R case and a convex auto mirror.
Now comes the second version. So I decided that I wanted a bigger bowl to get some nice directional yet diffused light. I was deciding on the size until I found some references for a 16 qt mixing bowl which has a 18″ diameter. That coupled with a reflector would be the basis for this Do-It-Yourself project. So here are the parts list for this project:
1. 16 qt stainless steel mixing bowl – $7.50
2. 9″ aluminum pizza dish – $1.50
3. Three 1/4″ – 20 x 3″ screws – $0.99
4. Two #4 -40 x 1/2″ screws – $0.99
5. Nine 1/4″ nuts – $0.50
6. Two #4 nuts – $0.20
7. Three 1/4″ washers – $0.18
8. Light switch mounting plate which I found. Sorry I forgot to take a photo of it before I decided to modify it for looks.
1. Krylon white matte paint $4.99
2. Krylon black matte paint $4.99
3. Krylon clear satin finish – $4.99 for a protective layer on paint.
1. Power Drill with 1/4″ and 5/32″ drill bits
2. Deburring Tool
3. Dremel with cutting wheel and aluminum oxide grinder
1. Make a rough stencil of my flash head, this would allow for a good fit and less light leaking from the beauty dish. A photo of the cutout can be seen above.
2. Sand both the pizza dish and stainless steel bowl to “prime” the material for painting. This will help the paint adhere to the metal.
3. Find the center of the pizza dish and create a circle outline, this will allow you to strategically place the 1/4″ holes for the reflector. I decided to make it as close to an equilateral triangle as possible.
4. Drill 1/4″ holes into the pizza plate where you made your markings.
5. Mark the stainless steel bowl for the 1/4″ posts, mounting bracket, and speedlight flash head, then drill holes for screws used for mounting.
6. Cut out the stenciled flash head area with dremel tool, grind edged to match to fit. Remember to debur the edges to prevent injury and potential equipment damage.
7. Paint in the inside of the stainless steel mixing bowl with the flat white spray paint. Also spray both sides of the pizza dish with flat white. I applied approximately 5 thin coats to get the right coverage. Flip the mixing dish, after the white matte paint has dried for the appropriate time, and apply the black matte paint. Make sure all holes have been covered up to prevent the black paint from getting onto the white paint. After all painting has been done, you may apply your clear satin protective coating.
8. Place in 1/4″ screws in their respective spots with the washer on the outside of the bowl. Tighten down the 1/4″ nut to secure screws in place.
9. Screw on one additional nut onto each screw to the same level, this will hold up the pizza dish when it has been placed on. Place the pizza dish on top and screw in the remaining nuts onto the screws to secure the pizza dish. You may want to tweak the position of the plate to achieve the best light spreading for the dish.
10. I made my own mounting plate for the beauty dish, which you made do also. I drilled another 1/4″ hole on the bottom of the plate to provide a bracket to hold the flash with the beauty dish with my existing photo flex adjustable shoe mount. I drilled the bottom of the bracket that I made to insure a proper fit with the adjustable shoe mount.
Well there you have it. You’re very own professional beauty dish that you won’t be afraid to break or embarrassed to show anyone. I will try to get some more photos up but here are a few of the recent shots I took just today. I really like the specular light that it contains, just the right amount of harsh light but still a bit soft.