I was first introduced to using a beauty dish at a photography workshop I attended several years ago. It's basically a big reflector that fits over a monolight and gives a really nice look to an image. Beauty dishes are commonly used in fashion and glamour photography because of the way it nicely diffuses the light.
I bought a used one on eBay several months ago, but didn't really have a chance to use it on a location shoot until this past weekend. On Sunday, I met with Angel Eyes - another model I met through Model Mayhem.
The beauty dish was mounted on an AB800 set to full power and powered by a Vagabond 2 battery pack. We used a set of Pocket Wizards to trigger the strobe. Because the strobe is much more powerful than an on camera flash, we were able to get more color out of the sunset backdrop by using a higher shutter speed (around 1/250). An added bonus of using a high shutter speed is that it freezes the splash of the water at her feet.
After seeing the quality of light that the beauty dish produces, I'm thinking I want to try experimenting with it more often. One thing I'm thinking about now that I've had a chance to review the images is that I should have moved the light in closer to get a softer look to the light. In the setup shot above, we had the light up on the rocks about 10-12 feet away from her, in order to keep the strobe from getting wet. Salt water and battery powered strobes don't play very well with each other.
It is a bit cumbersome to lug around as I don't have a carrying case big enough to fit it in. I'm very lucky I had an assistant (Julie) on this shoot, as I probably would have ended up dropping it and chasing it around the parking lot. Thanks Julie!