Making a Ring Flash for Cheap

A ring flash is a tool attached around the lens area of the camera. It is a mechanism which functions in the same way as a soft box, providing consistent and even illumination, yet producing a softened or reduced amount of shadows along the process. This type of flash is effective when it comes to macro photography and is predominantly used in the fields of fashion and portrait photography. The flash comes in a wide variety of sizes but often requires a sizeable investment. Creating a makeshift device to function in the same way is possible using a few alternative materials.

Step 1: Collect the Needed Materials

For this project, the following materials are needed:

  • A small plastic bowl with a base measuring at least 8 cm in diameter.
  • A slightly larger plastic bowl which can fit around the small plastic bowl. This should be large enough for the lenses to go through.
  • A piece of PVC pipe measuring 8 cm in diameter and 5 cm in length.
  • Aluminum foil
  • A marker pen
  • Cutter
  • Tape
  • Glue

Step 2: Mark the Bowls

Place the small bowl top down on a table or any level work surface. On top of the base, place the 8 cm PVC pipe. Draw a circle around the base of the bowl, using the PVC pipe as a guide and a marker pen. Do the same step for the larger bowl. Make sure that the circle is as close to the middle as possible. On one side of the larger bowl, create an outline for where the flash will fit. Use the head of the actual flash to be used for a better and tighter fit.

Step 3: Cut out the Outlines

Cut around the marked outlines using a sharp cutter or any other cutting tool. This will take some time depending on the thickness of the bowls’ plastic material. The order of cutting will not matter if the plastic is hard enough, however, it can also add more time and difficulty to the cutting process.

Step 4: Cover with Aluminum

Cut out strips of aluminum foil. Cover the insides of the larger bowl, the outside area of the small bowl and the PVC pipe with aluminum. Secure the foil to the pieces using glue, tape or another adhesive. The effectiveness of using either choice of adhesive, a combination or another type will depend on the type of the plastic being used.

Step 5: Assemble the Parts

Once the parts have been covered, it is time to assemble the flash ring. Stick them together with tape. Place the tape on the inside areas to the outside of the base of the bowl so as not to cover the areas wrapped in aluminum. This will make the system more durable. Aluminum foil tends to wrinkle and tear quite easily. It is therefore important to take care when sticking the foil onto the plastic parts, as well as when assembling the parts together. Push the head of the flash slightly into the rectangular slot and the device is ready for use.