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Build Your Own DIY Ringflash

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Read Time: 2 min

Ringflash has a wonderful, unique look to it, whether they are macro or shoot-through portrait ringlights. You get a crisp, dimensional, almost hyper-real appearance which looks quite stunning when combined with backlighting or depth-of-field effects. They are, however, rather expensive specialist items and if you don't know whether it's worth the investment, what do you do? My solution is DIY.

If you decide to duplicate my build exactly, you're looking at a budget of around $45. Why bother going the DIY route and not just pick up a generic-o-flash? Two main reasons. The light port is often not a full circle doesn't really interest me in terms of specular highlights. I want a circle.

They are also big and bulky and seem to be free-floating around the lens, putting a lot of stress on the camera's hotshoe. While my version isn't the most slimline flash rig you'll ever see, it packs fairly small and light. And I suspect, based on typical plastics used in cheap photography gear, mine is less prone to breaking if dropped.

My version has an optimal working distance of around 1-4" based on diameter and speedlight output. The further from the lens your subject is, the larger the ring you'll need.

As I say in the video, the idea is really more to fire your imagination than to give you a step-by-step guide, so the material list is easily modifiable to suit your purposes. Here's the materials I used:

  • 6x6" 3mm white acrylic sheet
  • 4 inch x 2 foot aluminium roof flashing
  • 3 foot side-glow optical fibre (If you can find it for less than around $9 a foot, let me know in the comments!)
  • Aluminium foil
  • Duct tape
  • JB Weld

My essential tools list is largely stuff that most people should generally have around, I tried to avoid requiring special tools:

  • Thin-bladed saw (jigsaw, scroll saw, junior hacksaw...)
  • Drill
  • Tin snips/aviation shears
  • Razor knife
  • Ratcheting PVC pipe cutter or pruning shears/garden secateurs
  • Emery cloth/sandpaper
  • Ruler
  • Set square
  • Compass ("pair of compasses" for the pedantic ;) )

If you build one, feel free to show me in the comments. I'd like to see any modifications or tweaks too, if you push the idea further. And as always; questions? Comments? Hit up the comments below!

Watch the Tutorial

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