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| p.1 #7 · Choosing a beauty dish |
A beauty dish is going to give you a little harder, more specular light than a very large umbrella. Also a beauty dish with a sock is really a small softbox. So if your goal is soft light you're better off with soft boxes. And by the way, bounce umbrellas don't necessarily equate to soft light. They throw a lot of light but it isn't always soft unless you can get it very close. Now a shoot through umbrella is a different story.
While a BD can have a wide spread of light it's how quickly that light falls off when placed close the subject that makes it special compared to other modifiers. It's going to be easier to control for lighting just faces or 3/4 shots with or without a grid. A huge umbrella is going to provide a light of light that goes everywhere good for full body or multiple people shots. A big softbox will give you a much softer light than either the dish or the umbrella.
While a beauty dish is not reserved to head shots or portraits if this is not your goal for its use, you may not need or want one. It's also nice for outdoor portraits or full body stuff or as a fill light with a large softbox. But as far as BD's are concerned Mola is wonderful, especially with grid.