How to make your own DIY beauty dish for less than $10

May 31, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to make your own DIY beauty dish for less than $10

May 31, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The beauty dish has become a staple of portrait and fashion photographers. When used well, they offer a pleasing and flattering look to your subject. The price of beauty dishes has come down in recent years as more have come to market. But you’re still not usually going to find one as cheap as making your own.

In this video from the folks at COOPH, we see how we can make our own DIY beauty dish for minimal cost and tools. And while they portray it sitting on top of the camera in the video, and it will be better than using the popup flash, I’d still get it off the camera.

YouTube video

I’ve seen a few different DIY beauty dishes, some with all kinds of elaborate mechanical designs to make them look more “professional”. But if you don’t care how it looks, and only care how your subject looks, this is a cheap and easy solution. And you only need a couple of items.

  • A big white plastic bowl
  • A DVD/CD spindle case
  • A blank DVD/CD

Yup, that’s it. And the steps to build the thing are very straightforward, too.

First, set your big white plastic bowl upside down on the table. Place your speedlight head on top and draw around its profile.

Once the shape of the flash head is marked, cut it out using a knife or other tools. You’ll want to be very careful here. Most of these bowls are fairly thick plastic, and a knife can easily slip if you’re not careful. Heating the knife up will often help it to melt through the plastic you’re trying to cut.

Now take the clear CD/DVD spindle cover and cut it down in size to match the depth of your bowl. Then take one of the blank CDs an apply double-sided tape to the non-silver side of the disc. You’re going to stick this inside the lid of the spindle cover.

Place the cover inside the bowl, tape it down, and pop some tape over the hole in the centre of the CD to prevent light from leaking forward through it.

Tape your speedlight into the back through the hole, and you’re all set.

The only problem with this method, though, is finding a CD/DVD spindle if you don’t have an old one laying around. Do places even still sell those?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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