Using a Beauty Dish for a Kick Boxer Portrait (Lighting and Behind the Scenes)

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: February 16, 2017

Category: Photography

Today I’ve a new picture to share with you as well as a look ‘Behind the Scenes’ at the lighting and set up…

Brandon Cook Kick Boxer - Glyn Dewis

The photograph is of 17 year old Kick Boxer, Brandon Cook – brother of Steven Cook (World Champion Kick Boxer turned Pro Boxer) whom you’ll definitely have heard of if you’re a regular visitor to this blog and / or my social media feed.

This was the first photo shoot I’d have with Brandon but was long overdue so we thought we’d start by taking a simple head shot.

Ok so for the lighting and set up, we took the photograph in Steven’s Gym, Pegasus in Aylesbury after Brandon had finished a personal training session with one of his clients. As luck would have it there’s a grey wall in the gym which we used as the background and so save having to put up my own seamless background and stands.

To kick things off I used my favourite modifier, the Elinchrom Rotalux 135cm Octa and positioned it to give a cross lighting / Rembrandt style set up and although this is my current ‘go to’ lighting style I didn’t think that it suited the look I was after.

Glyn Dewis - Elinchrom

So instead I brought out my Elinchrom Beauty Dish, fitted it with the deflector and material diffuser (sock) to soften down the lighting just a though. The light I was using (the ELB 400) and the modifier were then placed onto a C-Stand and then positioned on camera axis meaning that it was directly in line with the lens aimed towards Brandon.

You can see the set up below and that I’m (as always) shooting tethered into my Macbook Pro…

Brandon Cook Kick Boxer - Glyn Dewis

Below shows that I ALWAYS (well, when I remember) use a Grey Card during a photo shoot. The one I use is the x-rite color checker passport however when I do forget to use it and I’m shooting with a grey seamless behind the model, using the White Balance Tool in Lightroom and clicking on an area of the grey roll does a pretty good job; not perfect of course but certainly gives me a better starting point.

Glyn Dewis - XRite

Everything was kept very simple with Brandon sat on my peli case and once some slight adjustments to the position of the light were made so that Brandon’s eyes weren’t in shadow we were pretty much done after a few shots. I always like to keep photo shoots very brief on the first occasion so that whomever I’ve photographing has a good experience and will be much more open to further shoots in the future.

Here’s the unedited out of camera RAW file and next to it the final retouched, print ready picture…

Glyn Dewis - Elinchrom

With regards to post production there were a few key techniques that I used so here’s a free videos that I’ve previously recorded going through them in detail. There is incredibly simple technique that I used on Brandon’s hair that I haven’t yet recorded a video for so I’ll be doing that in the next day or two and will share that with you next week.

Brandon Cook Kick Boxer - Glyn Dewis

In the mean time though as well as watching the videos below, CLICK HERE to see a large version of this portrait of Brandon over on my 500px portfolio page

Oh and if you have any questions please feel free to make use of the comments section below and I’ll be sure to reply.

Amazing Eyes

Dodging and Burning

The Power of Photoshop Colour Look Up Tables (LUT)

You may also like…


  1. J.r. Maddox

    Well done Mate!

    • Glyn Dewis

      Thanks Buddy

  2. Mike Kubeisy

    Wow, your good! Simple setup, great success. Next time were together, no not like you and Dave together. I have some diffusion materials you can try in front of your Beauty Dish. It’s a Hollywood thing.

    • Glyn Dewis

      Liking the sound of that…cheers mate. See you In Orlando 😉


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *