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An Unforgettable Giant Ring Light and How You Can Make Your Own

An Unforgettable Giant Ring Light and How You Can Make Your Own

The largest ring light I've ever seen consists of 27 bulbs and is four feet in diameter. Six months ago, I built it. With so many questions left unanswered, I put together a short film that explains how I built it, why it was built, and why it's the most amazing light I've ever used to date.

The strongest asset to the ringlight is continuous lighting. This helps with three things:

  1. Being able to shoot a shallow DOF without the need of an ND filter.
  2. No flashing strobes.
  3. The pupil in my subjects eyes are very small making the colorful iris stand out. This is due to the fact that a person pupil becomes small when they are looking at something bright (ex: being outside vs a dark room). Modeling lamps are nowhere as bright as this ringlight.  

What gave me the idea to build this was a photographer named Jay Russel. His ring light was the product of a two year experimentation. After watching him over a few month, I decided to go out there and build one myself with 3 priorities in mind: clean, cheap and big. With $120 in supplies and two days of work, the ringlight was complete. Within a week I was endorsed by Sunlite - who sent me over a thousand light bulbs to use (The progess of this project can be seen on my personal Facebook by scrolling the images on my wall).

Jay wrote a blog post on 500px worth checking if you're interested in building your own. 

The current bulbs I'm using are Sunlite Halogen 42W Soft White Bulbs. They aren't as cheap as incadescent bulbs, but they aren't as warm either. If you are mixing ambient light with the ringlight you may want to go with a CFL daylight bulb. The dimmable ones are quite expesive though. Keep in mind you don't need high wattage bulbs, 27 low wattage bulbs still gives off a LOT of light. 

I stepped out of the box and literally into a circle- a ring of light. Over the years I have learned to take risks and chances like this, and have been greatly rewarded. I hope my video is not only informative, but is also inspirational. Take risks of your own on your path to creation- what can you come up with?

 

Filmed by Moshe Bree

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84 Comments

Previous comments
Bruce Bonin's picture

Hi Danni, I've been searching for similar light sockets to those you used on your light ring, but have been unsuccessful in finding anything. Would you share what type and where you purchased the light sockets?
Thanks in advance.

A A's picture

Dani,

This is great. Love it.

The look in your portraits is quite awesome. I keep seeing it in the work of many photographers these days actually:
- minimal to no light spill on an otherwise darkish / grayish background / dilapidated building
- nice, soft light on the face
- shallow DOF

Many of these images (yours and those of others', e.g. Sean Archer or Jay Russell on 500px) seem to involve quite a bit of dodge and burn in post though. Is that what it is? Would you please tell us more about your settings and processing work in post?

Would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

AA

A A's picture

Thank you Dani, that's great. Is there an article / video somewhere on the web that could help me learn all the post processing steps that are involved in achieving this look please?

Thank you!

AA

Brian Guiler's picture

Love this, I will be building me one. What was your final size for this? Great work

Brandy Yowell's picture

This light is so gorgeous!

Anonymous's picture

Looks great .....but ......can you imaging this with led stripes ?
something like this
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Waterproof-Flexible-Controller-Aquariums-Decorat...

Federico Guendel's picture

I read this and I was sure I've seen one before. Then I found this on NoFilmSchool (basic principle applies)
http://nofilmschool.com/2014/04/make-a-diy-led-ring-light-light-strips-m...

The thing is to find a different bowl or mount for the light and how it can be held (attachable to camera or standing individually). If you use white or metallic surfaces (a little white paint or metallic cardboard glued to the surface of the light mount), it will reflect/redirect all available light to the subject.

Ale Vidal's picture

I really appreciate the video, the diy, the quality of light. It is flawless on skin and faces, but I totally dislike eyes...

Fabio Trincas's picture

Fantastic as always Dani, you're an inspiration as soon as I can I'm planning to build a ring light following your model

Gustavo urena's picture

I have seen many of these being build before but for some reason I just love the quality of light of this particular design. The way the light wrap the subject it's just my particular style. I think it has do to with the ability to dim the light and the middle ring also adds a great effect.Also the size helps a lot. I don't care about the catch light, after a few photos it gets old but the wrapping light it king on this design. Cool Stuff.

Babar Rashid Khan's picture

Hey Dani,

Budding photographers here - Shout out from Pakistan - Thanks to you, we got an awesome light ring made for $20 (things are a little more cost effective on this side of the world)

Pictures at: https://fstoppers.com/profile/15022/portfolio

Gustavo urena's picture

Hey Dani. that backdrop you are using is it a DIY? thanks

Gustavo urena's picture

Hey Dani. that backdrop you are using is it a DIY? thanks

Pot Tomas's picture

Thanks for sharing! By the way, what lens did you use in taking these great photos?

Bharat Mudgal's picture

Hello Dani!

I am trying to build once such ring light myself. Just wanted to know if you use any ND Filter along with the ring light?

Cheers!

Colin Murdison's picture

When I try to watch the video, I get the message "This video is private". Same thing if I go to the Youtube URL for the video and try from there. Is there a reason for this Dani?

Edward Nunez's picture

Why is the video private now ?

Anshul Sukhwal's picture

Great setup, Dani. It looks really impressive. the fact that you were endorsed by sunlite was also a great achievement. The video does not seem to be available now. Can you please share the new link or make it publically available so that we can learn and make one for us?

Thanks
Anshul Sukhwal
http://www.clickstoremember.com/

Gery Revandra's picture

i can't watch the video because it was labeled as private ... :'(

Summer Crook's picture

The video is set to private, can't watch it. :/

Armando Rodrigues's picture

the video is set to private. please address this,

Bavarian DNA's picture

Hi Dani, i remember the first time you introduced the idea and how you did it. I made my own ring with some modifications. but here is the thing, there is uneven color cast through out the subject face. Is there a special bulbs a i should use ?. The light bulbs are evenly well distributed throughout the outer ring and also the inner one. I had too color retouch my subjects, but not that hard though