DIY Beauty Dish Tutorial for Portrait Photography

A beauty dish is a tool used by portrait photographers to create a light that wraps around the subject’s face. It creates a soft light with a natural fall-off that, in turn, creates a contrasted look and makes the image dramatic. If you’re just starting out and cannot afford to get the gear, COOPH has you covered with a DIY beauty dish made with household items:

DIY Beauty Dish Materials

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • white plastic bowl
  • Stanley knife
  • CD case
  • speedlight
  • tape

DIY Beauty Dish Instructions

Follow these steps to make a beauty dish for yourself:

  1. Draw an outline of the speedlight’s head on the bottom of the bowl and cut it carefully with a Stanley knife. Be sure to do it carefully so as not to hurt yourself in the process. If the plastic is too hard to cut, you can try heating the tip of the blade to ease the process.
  2. Create a surface that reflects the light fired by the speed light back to the plastic bowl. For this, take a clear CD case and trim it to the depth of the bowl.

how to make a diy beauty dish

  1. Cover the top of the case with a CD using double sided tape. To keep the light from leaking, cover the hole in the middle with some tape.
  2. Now, place the CD case on the face of the bowl and fix it with some tape.
  3. Attach your speedlight to the back of the bowl through the hole that you cut in step 1, and make sure that it stays on well using some tape.

make a beauty dish from a bowl

There you have it, your DIY beauty dish is now ready. The flash fired by the speedlight will be reflected by the CD onto the plastic bowl, which will bounce the light toward the subject, creating a soft and even light that wraps around the subject beautifully.

sample photo using diy beauty dish

Share your images taken using the DIY beauty dish in the comments below.

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One response to “DIY Beauty Dish Tutorial for Portrait Photography”

  1. Dual says:

    More trouble than it’s worth, IMHO. Before undertaking this effort it might well be worth to compare prices for white bowls (of unspecified size, BTW…) and assembled budget beauty dishes, which you won’t have to tape to your flash. I have CD cases of the type needed. Many people won’t.

    Your model (and your client) will probably be a bit put off dealing with a photog who relies so much on duct tape.

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