The photography equipment industry has done a good job getting everyone to believe they need an SLR to take beautiful photographs. It has done an even better job of taking professional photographer's money at every step of the way: cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, hardware, software, backups for your hardware, plugins for your software... well you get the point. So when it makes sense I end up just making the equipment I need for a shoot rather than buying it. Although I have an engineering degree and my two kids teach me patience, I don't plan on grounding my own glass and constructing lenses anytime in the near future. However, lighting equipment is another story and today will take a quick glimpse on the makings of a ring flash.
Ring flashes typically cost $400 to $500. They get their name because they surround the camera lens in a ring of light and are frequently used in fashion photography and macro photography. A quick trip to Home Depot, Target and my tool box yielded the following goodies for less than $15. Of course I had to put a little elbow grease, but the end result is something money can't buy. By making my equipment I can provide unique photography at a price my clients can afford. The only downside was nearly cutting my fingers when carving the circles in the bowl nearly ending my photography career.
The finished product provides a much larger light source than the flash alone. The PVC pipe and foil lining do a good job of minimizing light loss and evenly distributing light. The tupperware cover acts as a nice diffuser. There's another diffuser where the light enters the bowl. I personally like the quadruple locking mechanism on the lid which helps keep everything fresh. For the uninitiated, the camera lens goes through the middle hole and the flash is inserted in the square PVC pipe on the top.
Was it worth it? I'll let you be the judge. Both photos are shot in RAW and other then white balance and sharpening the photos are unaltered. This photo was shot with a Canon 430EX shoe mounted flash. It has the the characteristic shadows under my beautiful model's chin and in the background.
This photo is shot with the same shoe mounted flash, but with the ring apparatus attached on the front of the camera. The ring flash surrounds the lens and therefore illuminates the image evenly. Overall, the image has a softer and more glamorous feel despite my model's unconventional pose. So do you think it was worth me almost losing a finger?