Ring flashes and continuous ring lights are popular among fashion portrait photographers. The circular lights are placed around the camera lens to reduce shadows and create interestingly shaped catch lights in a model’s eyes.
Do-it-yourself types will be inspired by this pro photographer challenge, in which Mark Chung was asked to craft a homemade ring light for a portrait shoot in two hours or less:
Chung’s continuous ring light was constructed with mostly used materials, including a fan and tube lights reclaimed from a bathroom. Using the frame of the fan connected to a tripod adapter as the base of the ring light, he traced the frame’s shape onto white foam board to create a reflector. On top of the reflector, he placed several tube lights in concentric circles and secured them with zip ties. Next, he needed to power the lights. Chung knows a little about electrical wiring, so he was able to power his light on his own with supplies from a hardware store, but those without a background in electronics might want to seek out more in-depth instructions when attempting to make homemade lighting equipment.
“I don’t just usually buy stuff.”
The finished light allowed for the photographer to place his lens in the center hole and shoot through the ring light. He used a slower shutter speed for his shots to account for any flickering of the tube lighting.
Though one subject complained of the high heat emitted from the bright light, this quick DIY project was a success:
There are affordable ring flashes available for purchase, but some photographers find it well worth their time to make their own studio lighting. Choose a size and style that works for the type of photography you do, and start building.
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