Sponsored by Westcott
Joel Grimes has spent more than 30 years honing his craft as a portrait and beauty photographer for top advertising clients. One of Canon’s Explorers of Light and a prolific workshop leader, he’s revered for his lighting expertise—a skill that’s taken him on assignment to more than 50 countries around the world. And like many photographers who know the rigors of the road—and the limited resources available while shooting on location—he places a lot of thought into the equipment he packs.
For Grimes, one of the first things he considers in his gear bag is lighting. “I’d been waiting for a collapsible beauty dish that I could take on the road,” he says. “Having a go-to modifier that I can trust to cover all my needs is very important.” Eventually, Grimes decided to take matters into his own hands and design one himself. He contacted lighting company Westcott about his idea, and after a few prototypes, the Rapid Box Beauty Dish was invented.
In designing the beauty dish, his goal was to replicate the look of his studio photography with an ultra-portable device. First, he considered the basics of a good studio portrait: “I like a perfect rounded catchlight in the eyes, so I really pushed to create a beauty dish that had a rounded front shape,” he says. This meant retaining the 24-inch diameter and deep parabolic shape of the beauty dish—achieved here by using 16 durable all-metal ribs lined with a reflective soft white interior. “There aren’t other portable dishes with the internal metal dish and the perfectly round front shape design,” he says.
Because Grimes can use the portable beauty dish in the studio or on location, “it allows me to have repeatable results no matter what situation I am in,” he explains. Here are a few tips from Grimes for using the Rapid Box Beauty Dish in any lighting scenario:
In-Studio Fashion and Beauty
Position the beauty dish 24 inches away from your subject, setting it directly over the top of your lens. “This produces a gorgeous soft quality of light that hollows out the cheeks,” Grimes says.
On-Location Mixed Light
Position the beauty dish 36 inches from your subject. Adjust your shutter speed to feather in the ambient light to give a beautiful natural feel. “The ambient light will generally soften the overall light, and by backing up the modifier from your subject, the light will match the quality of light in the studio. It directs a soft, clean light pattern towards your subject.”
Position your model so the sun is at his or her back. Then fill in your subject’s face by positioning the modifier directly over the camera at a distance of around 36 inches.
Set your subject up against a background, and set the modifier directly over the lens about 24 inches away from your subject. Adjust your shutter speed to knock out the ambient light to allow only the light from your strobe or monolight to register on the face. This creates a natural in-camera vignette around the subject.
For a striking sports portrait, set up two large Westcott soft boxes with grids as edge lights coming from the back sides of the frame. Then set the 24-inch beauty dish directly over the camera to fill in the athlete’s face—but keep the exposure value down to build overall drama in the final image.
You can learn more about the Rapid Box Beauty Dish here. Here’s what comes with the kit:
- Rapid Box Beauty Dish
- Removable metal deflector plate
- Built-in heavy-duty speedring for Profoto, Bowens, Balcar, Elinchrom, or Photogenic lighting
- Removable diffusion panel
- Ultra-durable locking collar
- Travel case
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