4 Creative Ways To Use A Ring Flash With Mark Wallace

Perhaps one of the most mysterious and misunderstood lights available to a photographer is the ring light or ring flash. Most people associate the ring flash with fashion photography, but unfortunately many photographers might not know what the effect is actually doing. In this latest Snapfactory video, Mark Wallace not only shows how a barebulb Profoto Acute 2 Ringflash works, but he also gives you 3 additional lighting setups to take your own ring flash images to the next level. If you have any interesting variations that you use, feel free to describe your setup in the comments below.

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11 Comments

Love ring flashes...going to be my next purchase!

Hmm, I hadn't considered the near-guaranteed red-eye with those flashes. Learn something new every day!

JimmySchaefer's picture

this is so odd cause yesterday I watched this exact video.

Religion is a mental disorder.'s picture

shes lovely

You either love 'em or hate ringflashes.... I'm a hater.

Nic Cage's Hair's picture

Overhead at 45 and as a fill aren't the best ways to use the dish and get a good beauty effect- a beauty dish does a way better job at lighting up the subject in those situations. Ring flashes are really good when used close to the model to show specularity.Not sure what he means by it "bringing out detail" as the brightness destroys shadows and smooths skin.  And the first method of putting a model a few inches from a backdrop creates that horrid shadowing around her that you associate with ringflashes- makes the photo look very typical and bland. (EVERYONE shoots it that way)

Anything less then a foot and you lose the specularity that makes a ringflash do it's magic. The one method he didnt show is using kicker lights behind a model when lighting straight on in front- the kickers really make the person stand out in back as well as in front. Btw, you can see what happens when you move the ring away from the model as shows in the overhead 45 deg shot- her face is warmer and darker than her chest which is brighter. That is not a well exposed shot and as a retoucher and photographer, i'd have to spend a bit of time evening out that warm reddish color cast to match it with her chest.

Personally, there isn't a thing in that video i'd ever teach anyone to use if they had a ring flash.

I was wondering the same thing, the only time I can ever see a ringflash as a benefit is to shoot close up headshots for the circular catch lights.  Anything further away is basically the same thing as a regular on camera speedlight pointed at the subject...

I don't like that tutorial at all. It shows how to use ring, but not at it's best and the results are far from stunning. What is the point of using a ring flash as if it was a beauty dish? Why not to use a bare flash or just beauty dish instead? I love using ringflash I build myself, but what I'm used to is a beautiful light, not something that ugly.

I LOVE my ringflash :)

awerllow's picture

Forget Mark and the ringflash, who is that model??? :)

what camera are you shooting with?