DIY Beauty Dish

Over the last six months or so – I’ve tried to learn a bit more about portrait photography.  And one part of that Beauty Dish for Blog (1 of 3)adventure is learning more about lighting.  Now for Help-Portrait I was able to pocket a few basics – but I know I still have plenty to learn about slinging photons.

One of the tools that I thought would be fun to try would be a beauty dish.  Didn’t know why – just thought it would be cool.  However – I couldn’t really justify a high price tag for an experiment – and I didn’t know where I could borrow one – but I kept running across plans on the web for DIY models.  Finally – one set was convincing enough for me to break out the Dremel.

Which design did I go with?  Well – it was one posted by Dave Casius that started with an Ikea lamp over at DIY Photography.

Bottom line: it works!  🙂Beauty Dish for Blog (2 of 3)

The Parts

Here are the key hardware components (and where I found them):

  1. Ikea for the 15” lamp shade.
  2. Amazon for the cold shoe.
  3. Home Depot for the aluminum bar and bolts, etc.
  4. (maybe) Back to Amazon for a Sto-Fen flash diffuser (if you don’t already have one – just make sure you get the right size for your flash).


Some Dremel tool, drilling, alignment, bending, a bit of sanding, and more drilling was all that it really took – however – being patient is key.  I made a couple of small modifications that seem to work well while I was putting everything together – but overall – Casius’ directions were excellent.

And of course – if you’re not comfortable with drills and Dremels and a bit of torch – this probably isn’t a project that you’re gonna want to tackle.  Beauty Dish for Blog (3 of 3)


Woohoo!  It’s a beauty dish – all in the $50-ish range – and it works!  I don’t yet have any post-able images with this light modifier – but it’s been fun working with it.

As I said above – I really only deviated from the plans in two places – and both were minor:  (1) I rotated the Blank Cover 90 degrees to what the author shows and (2) I added a second attachment point where the bracket meets the light stand – as my light stand already had a 1/4-20 on it – and by making a second hole – I could simply use a wing nut to secure the two together (as there just wasn’t enough room to spin a wing nut where the first attach point was placed).

Overall – it was a fun little project – and the plans were quite good and easy to follow.

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