Imitating the Satellite Staro

Want to achieve beautiful lighting on a budget? Discover how to make this amazing DIY modifier.

Expand your knowledge of photography lighting and pick up some great tricks for creating expensive-looking lighting without breaking the bank!

In addition to being extremely hard to find, the now-discontinued Satellite Staro is very expensive. Why? Because this classic beauty modifier is renowned for offering a beautiful filmic quality, as well as for creating a gorgeous, circular catchlight in the eye.

In this photography lighting workshop, recorded LIVE, Karl explores how to recreate the same spectacular effect on a budget.

After demonstrating the Satellite Staro and explaining how it works, he reveals the DIY modifier he has fashioned to imitate the Staro’s effects.

As he compares results, Karl answers questions from members about possible alternative methods for achieving similar effects.

In this class:

  • Photography lighting techniques
  • DIY lighting modifiers
  • Using diffusion material

If you enjoy this class, be sure to check out Precision Lighting: Modifiers and Techniques.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.



    How would you describe the diffraction difference between Broncolor diffuser 1,2 and 3 for para 133 and using Lee 216 instead?

    1. Hi, by ‘diffraction’ you meant ‘diffusion’ – The para diffussers 1 and 2 are very light so that some of the effects of the original parabolic colimated light can still be visualised. 1 just takes the edge of the ‘sharpness’ of the light a little. Number 3 is more like a softbox material giving proper diffusion meaning that it is no longer a Para but is now just a round softbox, albeit with a stonger centre exposure because of no internal diffuser. So 3 is the closes to Lee 216 and on a portrait won’t look much different because the surface skin is matt but on glossy objects then the LEE 216 is going to be better for image forming reflections.

    1. Hi, I’ve not used the Godox but I’ve seen images of it and it looks pretty good. The Parabolic shape is correct and the reflective material all seems ok.

  2. How about a modifying a beauty dish which is already enclosed and remove the internal reflector plate and add outer diffuser of different density? And a variation with a double layer around the central part?
    In the real world comparison of printed photograph, where is difference to Staro or Para 88?

    1. Hi, my guess is if you took the central reflector out of a beauty dish then it would be close but the gradient fall off would still be different because of the greater reflection from the internal metal and then the more abrupt cut off of light at the edge of the beauty dish.

  3. Hi Karl,

    I recalled the Aputure Light Domes ( while watching this live show. Yes it’s internally silver, but it does have a clever central gel holder, that could be used with a diffuser to create an even central ball of light. Comes with two different strength diffusers. So round softbox and an even central ball of light. Could be something others might like to consider, if you think it’s a possibility.

    I like the idea of the DIY approach. Not necessarily this particular solution, as personally I’d think it would be a little too fixed in its positioning for me and it would not send out the right “professional” message. However, what was especially useful, was to remind me that by standing back and considering in more detail what lighting effect was intended – and calling upon the great training we get on this platform – using modifiers in new and innovative ways can create different looks than when “standard” (= often safe) arrangements are used.

    Thanks again …

    1. Hi Barry, thanks and thanks for the link that looks like an interesting modifier. We already use some Aputure lights for video and they are well built kit.


    Karl I have a para 133HR, when focused can it replace the staro light or does it look really different than a focused Para??

    1. Hi, no it’s quite different from the Staro, but next weeks live show I’m demonstrating how to create a light that looks almost identical to a staro.

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