Sunday was cold, wet, and miserable so I finally decided to work on a project that I had been planning on for quite a while, a do-it-yourself beauty dish. What the heck is it you ask? Well it’s a light modifier that helps to enlarge a source of light, in my case a flash. The light quality is not as soft as a softbox or umbrella but definitely softer than a bare flash.

I ended following this guide by Todd Owyoung. I love DIY things because it’s fun to create things on the cheap that are as good if not better than what you can buy. Beauty dishes go for anywhere from $130 to $400. Mine was considerably cheaper!

Parts list:

  • Big steel bowl from a Dollar Store ($11)
  • Middle reflector (free – it was an old pie plate cut down)
  • Paint ($10 for black and white but I already had old cans in the garage so, FREE!)
  • Aluminum bar stock ($6 from Crappy Tire)
  • Various nuts and bolts ($12)
  • Total spent: $29!!!

The Build (complete with crappy iPhone pics)

I first cut out the opening for the flash head using a dremel tool and a cutting disk (thanks for dremel Dad-in-law!).

Next was cutting out an old pie plate I got from my friend Mark.

Next was painting the inside of the dish white and the back of it black. This had to be the slowest part as it was cold in the garage and paint just doesn’t like to cure in sub 20 degree Celsius weather! Nothing a hair dryer couldn’t fix.


I next bent a piece of aluminium bar stock at a 90 degree angle and drilled the mount holes. I attached a hotshoe and the brass spigot which attaches to an adapter on my light stands. The finished product looks like this.

I then tested the quality of the light against a wall. I was looking for how even the light was and how it spread from the larger reflector. This was taken with the BD about 1.5 feet from the wall.

And finally a self portrait to test the whole thing out.

Thanks for reading!

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