“So, you’re about to purchase a white Beauty Dish and you pause a moment in debate as to whether to get it or a silver P-Soft. You’ve seen the broncolor P-Soft in the catalogs, and you’ve heard that some people use it; however, most people prefer a Beauty Dish. As a result, you are convinced that the Beauty Dish is the way to go. But is it really?
‘What is the difference between them, and why would I want to get the silver P-Soft instead of a more widely popular white Beauty Dish?’
Well my friend, the answer is simple…get both, and here’s why:
When you think about a modifier that creates a really nice and evenly spread soft light, you tend to be drawn more readily to softboxes and beauty dishes for that purpose. A beauty dish, with or without a front diffuser, will certainly satisfy your needs in the soft light department, of which there is no argument. Beauty dishes are friendly to handle, are easily portable, and can be used in most lighting set-ups with little conflict to the overall lighting concept. Beauty Dishes also live up to their names by producing the most flattering light on people bringing them closer to a state of ‘beauty.’
So, where does the broncolor P-Soft fit into the picture?
If I may start out this way, I’d enlighten you to the fact that the silver P-Soft is a sort of hybrid silver reflector (like the P70, P65, P45, etc.) crossed with a Beauty Dish. The P-Soft carries the EXACT same benefits as listed above especially when used with the optional diffuser. What makes the P-SOFT so special is that well above it’s similar traits to a Beauty Dish, the P-Soft can actually do more. Just as mentioned, it carries with it some of the traits of a silver reflector offering more textural detail on your subjects, crispness that fails to be harsh, a noticeable distinction in the character of light, and a natural ability to blend with sunlight. Now, the last point is worth discussing a little. I have used my share of Beauty Dishes on location, multiple Beauty Dishes in fact, and I have always come to the same conclusions:
1.) I positively LOVE the light and it’s soft edge and overall appearance on the skin of my subjects , however its look is not terribly “natural” looking in open sunlight.
2.) I have to use, what I believe to be, “far too much” power to get the working shutter speed/ f-stop combinations that I need.
3.) My “working distance” is somewhat compromised in most situations. Working distance is the relationship between the lampheads and the subject along with their placement in the scene. Ideally, one would prefer a wide separation of lights and subject so as to permit wider-angle shots to be possible.
4.) The further away that I place by Beauty Dish, the less effective it remains as a soft light source (in the outdoors).
With the broncolor P-Soft, I am able to address the above issues with greater confidence. The P-Soft has a more defined edge to the light that better mimics sunlight as it falls onto my subject (although not quite 100%). As a result, the transition of light between lamphead and sunlight seem noticeably more “natural.” With the P-Soft, I can use the lamphead further away from my subject, compared to a Beauty Dish, and achieve similar shutter speed/ f-stop combinations utilizing less power. Lastly, The P-Soft offers a wonderful sense of “realism” to a subject that isn’t readily achievable by a way of a Beauty Dish.”
More About Andre Rowe:
Andre is a local commercial photographer with over twenty years of experience that he wishes to share with and inspire novice, student and amateur photographers. Appleseed is the creation of Andre Rowe. The goal of Appleseed is to provide a work-ready space for photographers and videographers alike by presenting an environment for education, networking and the cultivation of new ideas and inspiration for other artists in the industry.
Andre is a workshop educator, and frequently gives seminars on photography, including broncolor lighting. For more information about Andre’s broncolor speaking engagements, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.