The concept of the “beauty dish” came up today in my Advanced Techniques class at MU. Two examples that immediately jumped to mind, both linked from David Hobby’s Strobist blog.
The first was a People magazine photo spread from 2007 that featured ten celebrities without the use of retouching–digital or otherwise. Instead, studio techniques were employed to ensure that these celebrities would not look like mere mortals. Just the same, I’d rather see clever studio work to get the result “in camera” than to see a photograph in a magazine that features only a few “original” pixels. Strobist points to a PopPhoto blog that (roughly) explains how the images were created.
Secondly, I thought of a portrait of a Navy SEAL by photographer Morgan Silk. The setup for the photograph was a beauty dish, a reflector, and two smaller lights for some rim lighting in back. It’s explained at F Stop, with some really nice diagrams. Ironically, and unfortunately, I think just as much post-production retouching went into the photo as would normally have happened with the photos of the ten celebs. Funny old world. The addition of the sky is just overkill, but the lighting on the face, especially, is interesting (and simple).
Finally, if you want to make your own beauty dish, there is a tutorial at Light and Pixels.