Westcott creates a vast amount of products for photographers of all varieties. One of the most versatile products for speedlite shooters is our 26” Rapid Box Octa. The Rapid Box series is a compact light modifier (measuring under 15 inches long when closed) that pops open to its full size by simply sliding the center shaft. The ability to add a deflector plate to this light modifier makes the Rapid Box the most portable beauty dish that is available in the photo industry.
What is a beauty dish though? This is the question that we often hear. Sometimes a visual image is the best way to explain the concept. The result of the Rapid Box using the deflector plate (without the diffusion panel) is cross between a straight-on flash and a standard softbox.
As you can see in the image below, the lighting on our subject’s face is very soft using the deflector plate while still creating hard, contrasting shadows. These shadows are especially noticeable under the chin of the subject. This style of lighting is very popular for fashion and beauty photographers, and is emerging as a favorite look for high school seniors as well!
When we tested our Rapid Box using only the diffusion panel, we see a bit more of a hot spot on our subjects forehead, as the light was placed just above our camera, pointed down at 45 degrees.
So the big question is, which one of these looks is better? The beauty of photography, no pun intended, is that it is a subjective art and both of these looks have their place. The wonderful thing about the Rapid Box and the additional deflector plate is that you can achieve both looks in a single photoshoot.
For those of you that already own the deflector plate or those of you who are considering purchasing one, it is important to turn the shiny side of the plate towards your flash for the most effective output. The deflector plate’s purpose is to block the hotspot in the center while spread the flash around the edges of the Rapid Box. Either way it is mounted will essentially achieve this. However, if you have it mounted in the correct direction, the flash will not have to work as hard, meaning longer battery life. Happy shooting!