Beyond Boudoir Photo - An Intimate Photography Service | Studio Shoot with Kat Alexis and a beauty dish

Studio Shoot with Kat Alexis and a beauty dish

January 28, 2017  •  1 Comment


A Studio Shoot with Kat Alexis and a Beauty Dish



While perusing Model Mayhem one day, I noticed a new model in my area.  I loved her look and we quickly booked a shoot in my studio.  The best thing about my studio is that I can shoot there at any time, regardless of the weather. Well, almost.  We had to delay the shoot twice due to a pair of serious snow events that are highly unusual in the Portland area.  Finally, the snow melted and we were able to go to work.


Kat Alexis was a joy to work with, so if you need a great model in the Portland area, she has my highest recommendation.  You can find her on Model Mayhem.  


There was also another reason I was excited about this shoot.  I had just received an inexpensive 16-inch Fotodiox beauty dish from Amazon and I was dying to try it out.  I've used lots of umbrellas, soft boxes, strip lights and brolly boxes for light modification, but this was my first experience with a beauty dish.  Photographers say it gives a unique light, but the photos I've seen on the net didn't seem to give me a good feel for what to expect.  What else could I do but buy one and try it out myself?


The Fotodiox beauty dish came with a grid, which turns the dish into something of a spotlight.  I wasn't sure how much beam spread I'd get with the grid, so that's what I checked with my first shot.  The dish is about 4 feet from the model's face and there are two gridded hair lights behind her.


That's a very interesting effect for headshots and I'm sure I will use it again, but I mostly shoot full body portraits.  I quickly removed the grid and moved the dish back a bit farther from my model.  



Now that's useful light!  From head to hem.  You can see the dish on the left and a hair light in the upper right corner.  I noticed that the color balance is more toward the blue than my softboxes and umbrellas.  I presume this is due to the white paint on the working side of the dish.


I put the grid back on and fired up a big Paul C. Buff strip light to camera right to act as a fill light.  Notice that in the first two photos above, I had the model turn her face toward the dish.  In the photo below, I had her point her nose directly at the camera.  See how there is now a fairly dramatic shadow alongside the nose?  Even though I was using a strip light (a long softbox) as a fill light, the lighting was still pretty dramatic.



One nice advantage of the dish is that it doesn't take up a lot of space in the studio.  I'm thinking it will also be more wind resistant outdoors compared to the umbrellas I normally use.  Of course it doesn't fold up, so I saved the box it came in for transport.  Hopefully, when the weather eventually allows outdoor shoots, I will be able to write a full report for my loyal readers.

Here is a shot that shows the blue shifted color balance of the beauty dish.  Normally I use a preset in Lightroom to give me nearly perfect color balance from my studio lights.  The other photos you see have had additional correction applied, but this one has not.  I was wondering if this would create an issue when I combined the dish with the strip lights in a single image, but I didn't see a problem.




All photos were taken with my Canon 5D Mark III at ISO 100.  The main lens was the workhorse 24-105 F/4 L.  The strobe units were various kinds of Alien Bees and the triggers were the cheapest Yongnuo junk I could find on Amazon. :)


If you would like to see more photos from this shoot, you are welcome to click here to see more.  FYI: the model received over 200 edited images for her own use.  


Thanks for reading!









Excellent work and beautiful, natural model. Congratulations to the both of you. Fine work both in front of--and behind--the camera. Would hope to see another shoot with this model sometime soon. Thank you both for sharing!
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