The Daily Photo #6- Andy Shaw

The Daily Photo- January 6th, 2016.

Andy Shaw

ISO 160, 1/160th sec. at f/2.8
ISO 160, 1/160th sec. at f/2.8
Andy is one of my oldest friends in Columbus. The front man and namesake of The Andy Shaw Band, a perennial favorite on the Columbus music scene. The Andy Shaw Band also features Andy’s brother Chris, his father Jim, Jesse Michael Barr, featured yesterday, and Jeff Bass… on bass.  Andy and Chris Shaw also make up the band The Shaw Brothers, which I also highly recommend.

Long story short- great bands, great music, and some of my favorite people in this part of the world. Check them out.

The story of the light in this photo is interesting not because it was complex, but because of how simple it is. One light and one modifier. Very little editing. That’s it. 

The secret is the beauty dish. There is a lot of scribbly words on the diagram below, but it is about as simple of a setup as you can get. TDP Diagram #6The ‘beauty’ of the beauty dish is the control and quality of light.  Like the name implies, it is used often for glamor and fashion-style portraits, in addition to headshot photography. The trick is that it is useful for much more than beauty shots. It can drastically switch from smooth and pretty light, to dramatic and moody.

The softness and texture-smoothing nature of the beauty dish’s light becomes even more controlled and exacting when a grid is added to the front. The grid adds nice contrast, while still being soft on skin texture. 

The grid also helps create that perfect fall off behind the subject that looks like a secondary light. I wanted a grey gradient on the background, so I sat Andy about three feet from a grey paper. I used a c-stand with a grip arm to extend the dish out and away from the stand so I could have it almost on-axis. That means the dish was almost in the position of an on-camera flash. Just slightly off to the left, though. Look at the catchlights in his eyes to see the exact position. Be patient with the beauty dish, as it takes minutes to use, but a while to master. I’m not there yet, but maybe one day.

In addition to the beauty dish, I knew that I wanted a tightly cropped shot, focusing on the face only and a relatively shallow depth of field. 

Gear used:

See you tomorrow!


TJ Hansen

Photographer at

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