Build a Giant DIY Ringlight for Unique Portrait Photography

A ring light is like the king of portrait lights. It creates a beautiful, uniform light that illuminates the subject’s face. But what makes it truly ideal for portraiture is that it allows the photographer to shoot with a shallow depth of field. In this video, photographer Dani Diamond shows us how easy it is to create an innovative ring light that’s cheap, easy to make, and extremely useful:

Benefits of Using a Ringlight

Really, a shallow depth of field is something that has become ubiquitous with portrait photography. Diamond explains,

“The main benefits of using a ringlight is being able to shoot with a shallow depth of field; and I love my bokeh. When using strobes the only way to get a shallow depth of field is by using a ND filter.”

catchlight with ringlight

Ringlights create interesting reflections in the eyes.

“The second thing about using a ringlight is you get a pretty cool, unique catchlight in the eyes.”

The effect is there to see. The catchlight is really unique and beautiful. (Via PetaPixel)

Why DIY?

On why he decided to create this unique lighting setup Diamond says,

“I am mainly a natural light photographer and the main reason is because it is continuous lighting and I know exactly what I am getting by just looking at my model’s face.”

how to create a ringlight

Diamond was inspired by the ideas of photographer Jay Russell.

Diamond was inspired by the ideas of another photographer named Jay Russell. He created the ring light using what seems to be a panel board, which he carved to create holes to fit light bulb holders. He also carved out some notches to allow him to shoot through at different angles as well as make the whole thing lighter. The whole contraption cost around $120. The bulbs are regular halogen bulbs of 42W each, soft lights.

issues with using a ringlight

Diamond uses a fan to cancel the heat emitted from the ring light.

“One of the biggest issues with this ringlight is the fact that it gives off so much heat. So, I use a fan on the side that actually helps with blowing my model’s hair also which looks really cool and dramatic for some photos.”

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3 responses to “Build a Giant DIY Ringlight for Unique Portrait Photography”

  1. Bill Munder says:

    Great story. Great idea. What are the outside and inner dimensions ?

  2. Justin says:

    Just buy a diva ring, they are less than $200 on Amazon.

  3. Jay says:

    Great article, I just wished I could actually watch the video and instructions, it seems like the video is no longer available?

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