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This post was most recently updated on January 8th, 2023

Portraiture is difficult! Unlike landscapes where you have so many different aspects of light, color, and stunning views to work with, portraiture is subtle.

You have to make the most of just a few different aspects – namely a face, a background, and your lighting. Modifiers can help you to get the most out of your portraits, but it can sometimes be difficult to know which is the best for you.

If you want to know the differences and similarities between a Beauty Dish and an Octabox, then you have arrived at the right article! We’re going to be comparing and contrasting these two modifiers to find out which one is the best for your photography project!

We are going to outline what each modifier does, as well as a comparison of their features. In the end, which one is best is going to be down to personal taste, but we hope we’ll be able to give you enough information for you to decide for yourself!

At the end of this article, we have also decided to include an extensive FAQ section that will walk you through some of the most common questions to do with modifiers! Let’s get to it!

What Is A Beauty Dish?

Before we begin to outline and compare the two modifiers, let’s first define what each one is, starting with the beauty dish. A beauty dish is a device used in portrait photography to diffuse or soften the light coming from a flash.

It works by bouncing the light off a white surface inside the beauty dish. This bounces the light back into the subject, softening the harsh shadows that would otherwise occur on skin tones.
The beauty dish was invented by George Eastman in the 1920s.

He patented his design in 1927, and since then has been used extensively in commercial photography. The beauty dish is now widely available and can be purchased online or from camera stores.

What Is An Octabox?

Next up, let’s define what an Octabox is. An Octabox is a modifier designed specifically for use in macro photography. It consists of eight individual compartments, each containing a diffuser sheet.

These sheets act like tiny mirrors, reflecting the light towards the lens. As such, they help to reduce the number of specular highlights that appear when photographing close-up subjects.

Octaboxes were originally developed by Richard Mamiya in the 1970s. Since then, they’ve become very popular among photographers who shoot macro images. They can be purchased online or in specialist photographic shops.

Comparing Our Two Modifiers

Now that we’ve defined both the beauty dish and the Octabox, let’s look at how they differ. How do they differ?

Let’s start with the basics: What are the main differences between the beauty dish and the Octabox?

There are several key differences between the beauty dish versus the Octabox. First of all, the beauty dish is made of metal, whereas the Octabox is plastic. Secondly, the Octabox comes with a built-in diffuser, whereas the beauty dish doesn’t come with any kind of diffuser.

Finally, the Octabox is much more expensive than the beauty dish.

So, what does this mean? Well, if you’re looking for something cheap and simple, then the beauty dish might be the better option for you. However, if you want something that offers great control over the way the light falls onto your subject, then the Octabox may be the better choice.

How Do The Two Modifiers Differ In Size?

Both the beauty dish and the Octabox are small devices. However, the beauty dish is significantly smaller than the Octabox. The beauty dish measures approximately 10cm x 5cm x 1cm, while the Octabox measures 15cm x 7cm x 3cm.

Which Modifier Is Better For Portraiture?

Which Modifier Is Better For Portraiture?

Now that we’ve looked at the basic differences between the beauty dish vs. the Octabox, we need to consider whether one is better suited to portraiture than the other. After all, there are many different uses for both modifiers.

For example, the beauty dish is ideal for portraits where you want to add some extra sparkle to the eyes. Meanwhile, the Octabox will help to soften the overall lighting, making it easier to capture flattering images of people.

In terms of which modifier is best for portraiture, it depends on your personal preference. If you prefer using a lot of flash, then the beauty dish may be the better option for your needs.

Alternatively, if you prefer natural light, then the Octabox may be the better option.

Which Modifier Is Best For Macro Photography?

If you’re interested in shooting macro photographs, then the Octabox is probably going to be the better option. Why? Because the Octabox contains multiple diffusers that reflect the light towards the camera lens. This helps to create softer shadows, meaning that you’ll have less harsh reflections when photographing close-ups.

The beauty dish, meanwhile, only has one diffuser. So, as soon as you place the beauty dish into your camera bag, you’ll notice that the reflection from the subject starts to disappear. That means that you won’t get the same softness in the shadow areas of your image.

Final Thoughts

Deciding which modifier to choose depends entirely on the goals you have for your project. Both are great for different things, and if you can get your hands on both – then you’ll have a lot of versatility when it comes to choosing between modifiers.

We hope that this article has given you all the information you need to be able to choose between them. If you still have more questions about modifiers, then you can check below in our short FAQ guide.

We wish you the best on your photographic journey and hope that you come up with some gorgeous photos!

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your last-minute questions answered here!

What Other Lighting Modifiers Are Good?

There are so many options available when it comes to modifying lights. Light modifiers allow you to completely change the mood and atmosphere of your photograph. Some of the best light modifiers are :

  • Softboxes – These are large boxes that contain either diffusion material or even an umbrella shape. They are often used to diffuse the light coming from larger sources such as studio strobes.
  • Diffusion panels – Similar to softboxes, these are also large boxes that contain diffusion materials. Unlike softboxes, however, they are usually rectangular.
  • Umbrellas – These are small boxes that contain a single piece of fabric. As the name suggests, they are designed to provide a soft, diffused light source.

What Kind Of Photographers Use Light Modifiers?

All kinds of photographers use light modifiers, including those who work as a commercial photographer, a portrait photographer, and fashion photographer. Different light modifiers do different things, so you will see them all across the industry.

What Is A Parabolic Umbrella?

A parabolic umbrella is a type of light modifier that is shaped like a parabola. Its purpose is to soften the light coming from a light source by reflecting it off of a curved surface. Parabolic umbrellas are typically made out of plastic, but there are some metal versions available too. These are sometimes called a parabolic reflector.

What Is A Good Modifier For Softer Light?

If you want to shoot portraits or product photography, then you may want to consider using a softbox. A softbox is a box that contains a reflective material inside. When placed over a light source, it creates a soft, diffused glow around the object being photographed.

You can buy softboxes in various sizes and shapes, depending on what size of light source you want to modify.

What Is A Good Light Modifier For Outdoor Photography?

Outdoor photography requires a wide range of lighting techniques. For example, you might need to use flash outdoors to illuminate dark objects. Or you could use natural sunlight to illuminate bright subjects. To achieve the perfect look for each shot, you will need to use different types of modifiers.