DIY Salad Bowl Beauty Dish

This one looks pretty darn OEM for DIY.

Reader Tom Seibert has a detailed post on how to make a large DIY beauty dish for speedlights, including a bracket that takes the strain off of your flash by not using it as part of the structural support.

In a second post, he shows how he was able to adjust the beam pattern of the dish to make for a much smoother light source.

It is an evolution of the Tejada beauty dish design, but pushes the dish size and introduces a more sturdy mounting system.

UPDATE: More on how to adjust the beam, here.



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Blogger Erica said...

I posted something similar to the Flickr pool awhile back:

Mine was particularly engineered for use on AlienBees (at a $100 savings, or thereabouts) - but it would only take the judicious application of velcro to attach a smaller off-camera flash. :)

December 03, 2008 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Josh R. said...

Why does a company not just make a beauty dish for speedlights yet? There is clearly a market.

December 03, 2008 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like a nice construction! Too bad all these DIY stuff evolves around stuff you have to buy in the states. For example, the doownsprout connection is not avalible in Sweden our downsprouts looks quite different, and i havent found anything to replace it with. Any ideas anyone?

I want my DIY Beauty Dish!!


December 03, 2008 3:36 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Mh, I don't get the whole "adjustable mirror" thing in the updated post. how can you move the mirror in the CD case?

December 03, 2008 4:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you make it using brackets like this one to support the dish, there is no reason you couldn't just glue some black plastic or even foam onto the painted bowl, and put an elastic band around to hold it still. But the bracket does most of the work! The whole idea of DIY is to do something with what you can do. You can do it!!!

December 03, 2008 5:54 AM  
Blogger Peter-Gibbons said...

I took a crack at a DIY dish recently as well.

December 03, 2008 7:25 AM  
Blogger Nicholaus Haskins said...

Long time no talk to Hobby....whats crackin? Hows the fam?

That's really the best way for a DIY BD. Looks identical to the one I built a year ago.

December 03, 2008 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Tom Seibert said...


Thanks for the props! I feel though I must make it clear that I worked to make a dish that was based on lots of other people’s work. This is just my evolutionary version. I got a lot of insight from other Strobists in the Flickr Discussion Group ( that made this whole thing work out. Two people in particular: Stargate001 ( and Jon_Senior ( were a great help getting me on the right track! Thanks Guys!

Things I learned that others may benefit from:

1. The bamboo bowl is a really nice choice for the bowl. Light, strong, big, cheap, and takes the paint well.
2. Don’t use gloss white inside the bowl – use a flat white paint. I like spray paint though.
3. If you can thread the metal it’s the best way to mount the spigot.
4. The key to making the light smooth is the adjustable mirror (thanks Jon_Senior/Stargate001) and eliminating the CD case. I think it dims and messes up the light and is not adjustable. I tried several different ones in the link above but you can see it didn’t really help.

Now I’m gonna have to put up the shots of that adjustable mirror. Okay, that’s tonight’s job.

The Strobist family is a wonderful, worldwide thing! Keep it up Dave!

Tom Seibert (Sportrait on Flickr)

December 03, 2008 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Mario said...

here is very neat BD also:

December 03, 2008 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it a beauty dish when it's shoot-through? This seems like an excellent softener/diffuser based on apparent illumination size but not a "beauty dish."


December 03, 2008 6:46 PM  
Blogger wen Chang said...

Sweet!!! We are just thinking of getting a beauty dish :)

December 03, 2008 7:33 PM  
Blogger Mihkel Tiidus said...

i'm planning to do a DIY ringflash so i decided to do some research on the light distribution inside the ringflash. so i went ahead modeled the thing i'm planning to build and did a physically correct low light render in vray in order to understand how the light gets distributed. for now, the flash does not have a translucent cover, just to illustrate the insides. notice the strong shadow behind the center cone. but once light intensity is turned way up, the subject gets nicely lit.

3D render of light distribution and sample shots

December 03, 2008 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

What is the difference in using this versus an umbrella? (aside from an umbrella can keep you dry)



December 05, 2008 6:15 AM  
Anonymous StrobeVisual said...

Can anyone point me to a shot showing the "wall test" on a commercial beauty dish? Do they have a dead spot?

December 06, 2008 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Ilya said...

I have this small custom strobe light that I made like 5 years ago in electronics class, and I was wondering if I can hook it up to the hot shoe so it triggers via camera. I've looked for a schematic diagram for the hot shoe, but no luck. Any help is appreciated.

ilya [at]

December 21, 2008 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Grant´s portfolio said...

With simple tools in college.

Tools :

One night, 11pm I went to Tesco-Store. In 2am i have "beauty dish" :D

Please excuse me for facure, its so simple but worked :)

December 22, 2008 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Grant´s portfolio said...

Updated version ( im in home ! )

BeautyDish by Grant :) here :

December 28, 2008 6:18 AM  
Blogger PJ said...

Comment to Erica regarding the write up on your Alien Bee's 'beauty dish' Flicker article that you linked here.

In that post you ask "(3) 6" lengths of 8/32" all-thread (basically screws that are all thread, no head) (also, why don't they call this 1/4"?)"

The 8-32 refers to screw size (#8) and the pitch of the thread, 32 threads per inch. It is not a fraction. A 1/4 inch screw has (typically) 20 threads per inch and would be written as 1/4-20.

"All Thread" is normally called "Threaded Rod" but All Thread is also used.

Great write up on the dish, I will be building one soon. :) Thanks.

January 05, 2009 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Clay Haskell said...

I used a vintage metal hanging lampshade I found at a thrift store. It worked perfectly - it is lightweight, sturdy, and already designed to control light. Once assembled and painted (matte white), it is about as real a beauty dish as you can get for less than $20!

Any strobists in the Hudson Valley?

January 09, 2009 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Inspired by this particular page, I got up and made myself a Beauty Dish. I thought I would share this with everyone else. The idea mostly is from Tom's, but I use different materials and construction methods. Hope this will contribute to the greater strobist community..

Here is the link


January 30, 2009 11:20 PM  
Blogger rpccube said...

With reference to the down spout connector, B&H Photo sell adapters which look just like the downspout thing but with a slightly smaller flange. I have ordered one to try as I had to crudely modify the only spout connectorI could find.
Also my dish is only about 14 inches in diameter and gives a beautiful, smooth light using a CD case with mirror. Perhaps I lucked in to size ratio but no adjustment of mirror position was necessary.


July 06, 2012 12:17 AM  

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