What The Heck Is “Beauty Dish Mode”?

What The Heck Is “Beauty Dish Mode”?

on Oct 21, 2010 in How To's | 3 comments

I’ve had a few questions on Twitter about just what I mean when I say I use my 70cm Elinchrom Deep Octa in “beauty dish mode”, so this quick post is to show what I mean.

This is the way you’d typically use a soft box with both layers of diffusion material in place for maximum softness.

Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa - Fully Diffused

Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa - Fully Diffused

However you can remove the outer baffle and let the light be a little harder and more specular.

Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa - Only internal diffuser

Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa - Only internal diffuser

But the way I have been using it for portraiture recently is with all the diffusion material removed and the small round reflector inserted about 15cm in front of the flash tube. This stops the majority of the light firing forwards and instead sends it out towards the reflective inside of the Octabox, very like a beauty dish (hence my cunning nickname for it!). The light is still flattering, but it’s punchier and more ‘contrasty’.

Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa - "Beauty Dish Mode"

Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa - "Beauty Dish Mode"

You’ll find some images created by using the Deep Octa like this in the recent posts entitled Shooting Sarah At Silverstone and Death of a Cover Car.


  1. Hi,

    How does the output compares whit the standard reflector, the one in the quadra kit?

    Do you lose much power?

    best regards,


    May 9, 2011

    • Hi Edgar

      I’ve not done any quantitative testing but I don’t think using just the deflector in the Deep Octa costs you much in output.

      The standard reflector is very wide angle so the Deep Octa is already throwing more light on your subject anyway.


      May 10, 2011

      • Hi Simon,

        thanks for your answer.

        the Deep Octa look like a must have modifier! whit 3 different look, it’s price seem more reasonable now to me.


        May 11, 2011


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