A friend of mine recently sent me a little tutorial video on how to create incredible beauty images using only a single beauty dish light and a do-it-yourself reflector. In the video titled “One Light Beauty Tutorial”, photographer Sean Armenta goes over the steps required to create beauty photographs. He talks about setting up the beauty dish and how to use it effectively to light the model’s “t-zone”, and what settings he uses in order to capture a “zero adjustment raw file”. The most interesting part about the tutorial is that Sean uses a reflector that he made himself. After only watching the video once, I was eager to try it out.
I picked up some foam core at a local print house, some reflective paper and silver duct tape from an art supply store, grabbed my pencil, my ruler and my exacto knife, and went to work. I cut the foam core into three pieces, attached them with the tape (creating hinges) and then attached the reflective paper to each surface. The result was a triflector that closes up nicely for storage. Here is a quick photo I took with my phone of the initial pieces.
With my newly created triflector, model Kim Ma, and make-up artist Darlene Brink, we headed off to the studio to try it all out. One big difference between my setup and Sean’s setup, is that I opted to raise each fold of my reflector instead of leaving it flat as he does in the video. The result, which you can see in my images here, was that I ended up with a tiny trio of catch-lights on the under side of Kim’s eyes. I quite liked how it looked, so I opted against using a small mirror to create the extra catch-light that Sean did. If I had kept my reflector flat, then there would have only been only one reflective surface, resulting in one catch-light.
We had a lot of fun doing this shoot. Kim’s ability to make all of the subtle movements and adjustments required to capture the beauty of her face in a really powerful image were definitely tested. I had never really shot much beauty in the past, but I really enjoyed it and I’m really happy with the results we got that day. I can definitely see myself doing a lot more of it. I also can’t wait to use my do-it-yourself reflector again.