Elinchrom Accessories Spotlight: The Softlite White Beauty Dish Reflector 70cm (27.6″)

PortraitStudioTips

This month, Emily shares another one of her favorite accessories, the Softlite White Beauty Dish Reflector 70cm (27.6″), which she uses mainly for portraits and fashion shoots. Discover her tips and tricks for sculpting light with this modifier.

This month, I decided to talk about another favorite modifer- my Softlite White Beauty Dish Reflector 70cm (27.6″).  I use it mostly when I’m shooting beauty and portrait work. It creates harder lighting than a softbox would, preserving detail and texture. The interior is designed to maximize the light reflection while minimizing any direct harsh glare or hot spots. I use it to achieve a balance between softness and definition in my images.

“The interior is designed to maximize the light reflection while minimizing any direct harsh glare or hot spots”

The inside of my Softlite White Beauty Dish Reflector 70cm (27.6″) is white instead of silver, so it’s going to give a little less contrast and provide more diffused light output than the silver would. I like to play and mix things up, but I usually slip a diffusion sock on the beauty dish to create light that’s a bit softer and also creates a solid catch light instead of the ring showing in this example below where the beauty dish catch light shows at 10 o’clock in her eye. The Rotalux Deep Octa Softbox 100cm (39”)  to the model’s right is pointed up towards my white ceiling so the light will hit it, then bounce back down to fill in this image.

The Softlite White Beauty Dish
Female model portrait by photographer Emily Teague

The past few years I’ve been studying and romanticizing culture in the 1960s & 1970s. I’ve been exploring what that inspiration could look like and incorporated into my work. I started to test putting different materials in front of my lens to create vintage effects. In the image below I pulled a tan wig cap tightly over my 24-70mm lens with a rubber band wrapped around it. This makeshift filter softened everything, so having the beauty dish to provide a bit more contrast than a softbox would was helpful. I still want to make sure there’s enough detail on my model and enough shadow wrapping around her to provide dimension- I want to avoid the image from getting too flat. Having Black V-Flats on either side of her also helped to bring those shadows in and help shape my model.

Female model portrait by photographer Emily Teague
Female model portrait by photographer Emily Teague

Often when I’m shooting with my Softlite White Beauty Dish Reflector 70cm (27.6″),  I’ll also have another light used for fill and a reflector held beneath my model to bounce light back up and fill in what otherwise might be harsh shadows.

In the example below, I’m balancing the lighting on either side of her. On one side there’s an ELC 500 paired with a beauty dish (+ diffusion sock) and on the other side I’ve got an ELC 500 paired with a shallow Rotalux Octa Softbox 100cm (39″). Across my model there’s a gradual transition from shadow to highlight, gently shaping her facial features. The lighting also creates depth. To avoid those shadows, I’ve placed my reflector underneath my model and angeled so it can reflect the light back onto her.

Softlite White Beauty Dish
Female model portrait by photographer Emily Teague

“I can modify the tone and intensity of the light through white, silver, gold, and translucent deflector plate options”

Along with the diffusion sock to pair with my Softlite White Beauty Dish Reflector 70cm (27.6″),  I can modify the tone and intensity of the light through white, silver, gold, and translucent deflector plate options. I can also pair it with a grid if I’m trying to get more control and precision. The grid is going to control the spread of light by flagging off the side angles. It’s preventing the light from spilling to the sides and it’s keeping it confined and focused.

I’m always mixing up my lighting set ups and modifiers, but my beauty dish is commonly a go to option for me when wanting to create soft light with a hint of crispness. It’s a great tool to have within your arsenal!