Photography Tutorial: How to Make a Cheap DIY Ring Light

We know this effect from glamour photos and music clips, the ring of lights in the eyes. The original ring lights are expensive and not affordable for us normal mortals, so this is a way to create the same effect for little money.

This is what I used in this tutorial:
1. a piece of think card board, we all have something laying around so that's for free.
2. a scissor.
3. a hobby knife.
4. we need some small lights, LEDs are perfect for this. They give a nice bright white colour. I used a "Happy Birthday" chain with LED lights in them, you can pick them up at your local gift store for about $5.00 USD probably even cheaper, but first search your house: I had one laying around.
5. a pen.
6. small plate.

I made this ring light in 45 minutes (including the photo's for this tutorial).

End result:
How to Make a Cheap DIY Ring Light Final Image

avatar robvdn

Views: 31662
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Practice tutorial


Step 1

First I show you the materials I used for this tutorial. First of all the LED lights.

Step 2

Second we need some thick card board, I cut some pieces out of an old box.

Step 3

Now take your camera and a pen. Put your camera with the lens down on the cardboard and trace the lens, this part needs to come out so the ring light will fit on your camera.

Step 4

Now you need something which is round and bigger to draw the outside of your ring light. I used a small plate which fitted perfectly. Put it on the card board and trace it, make sure your first circle (the trace of the lens) is in the middle.

I marked the middle of the circle of the lens so it is easier to place the plate for the outside circle.

Step 5

Now take your scissor and cut out the outer circle.

Step 6

Take your knife and carefully (don't hurt yourself!) cut out the inner circle. Don't make your hole to big yet.

When done try to fit this over your lens, if it doesn't fit yet you can cut out a bit more until it fits.

Step 7

When the middle hole is big enough it should fit around the lens and look like this.

Step 8

"Happy Birthday" has got 13 letters, but it easier to devide a circle into 12 parts so I decided to go for 12 lights in my ring light. (this looks aesthetically better too in your final photo because they are nicely devided in the circle). The 13th letter we'll hide behind the ring, you wont see it in later on.

You can start by writing the numbers 1, 4, 7 and 10 on your ring, they each make up a quarter part of the circle. Now devide each quarter part in 2 equal parts and you have your 12 markers where the lights are suppose to come.

Step 9

Now take your scissor again and with one point of the scissor make a small hole on each number you wrote down. Don't make them too big because the lights need to go in here, you can always make them bigger later on.

Step 10

When done with all the holes your ring will look something like this.

Step 11

Now take your "Happy Birthday" chain and take of the plastic letters, you'll be left with a nice chain of 13 LED lights.

Step 12

Take your ring and, 1 by 1, put 1 LED in each hole. In my case I'm left with an extra LED but that will be on the backside and won't be visible in your final photo.

Step 13

If you turn your ring around you'll see the front with the lights sticking out.

Step 14

Take your camera and place the ring light around the lens. It might look weird but it's the end effect that counts.

Step 15

You are ready to test your new homemade ring light!

See: the endresult looks great! You too can make those awesome shots with reflecting ring lights.

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avatar MnMCarta
MnMCarta says:

This is sooo awesome! I'm certainly gonna use it if I decide to make a ring light. To be quite honest.... I really don't understand the ring light. I never see rings of light in peoples eyes (not to say they aren't there just I didn't notice) and when I google pics with ring lights they don't look that different than others with just a flash. Need to research more I guess but all that aside... the tutorial is awesome! Thank you for making it

(5 years and 2073 days ago)
avatar vlewis25
vlewis25 [banned] says:

creative. and dont even need photoshop for this one

(5 years and 2011 days ago)
avatar k5683
k5683 says:

I had thought about using Christmas lights also when we had the light ring contest. You did exactly was I was going to do Great tutorial.

(5 years and 2006 days ago)
avatar loopyluv
loopyluv says:

ooo, wow... nice!!!!!!!

(5 years and 1977 days ago)
no avatar

awesome instructions!!

(5 years and 1900 days ago)
no avatar
JerseyAce says:

What an awesome idea!

(5 years and 1812 days ago)
avatar gauravgupta

very innovative....

(5 years and 1127 days ago)

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