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I adopted a Street Fighter today.

I found this poor guy on Craig's List and gave him a home. My wife was kind enough to let me keep it in the house instead of the garage. Looks like there are some scuff and dings to work out, but it plays great.


$7.50 DIY Ring Flash


I built a basic ring flash modifier this week for $7.50.  It took about an hour.  I’m pretty happy with the results especially when compared to the cost of the materials.  I don’t think it’s any substitute for a real studio ring flash or for a Orbis or Ray Flash style modifier.  I think maybe it’s worth your time to build one some weekend and play with the ring flash lighting.  I figure toying with this will help me decide if this style of photography is something I enjoy enough to drop the cash for the Orbis or Ray Flash adapters.

I started with a white Sterilite plastic bowl set.  $4 at Dollar General store.


I traced a circle slightly larger than my lens.


I used a utility knife to carefully trim around the circle. 


After cutting the circle out of the smaller bowl, I used it to make a template on the larger one.


I traced the front of my speed light onto the side of the larger bowl and cut an opening for it.

First test with/ Canon 420EX, and no reflective material on either dish. 
I used ugly duct tape to temporarily attach the bowls during testing.


So it looks like we’re going to need some reflective backing material to kick the light around the center dish.

Target has just the thing.  Chrome Duck-brand duct tape.  Not the normal grey stuff, this is actually reflective.  Cost, $3.50 a roll.

IMG_2906 IMG_2908


I applied the tape in big straight strips, and then went back and covered any exposed white spots to stop light from bleeding through the center element.




I took this test shot with the Canon 420EX speed light on an E-TTL sync cable using the silvered reflector. Not nearly enough power.  The top of the ring doesn’t get bright enough.


So I cut the opening for the flash a little bigger and swapped in my Vivitar 285HV set up on Manual mode.  I triggered it using some cheap eBay radio triggers that I had.



Success.  Now to take a test shot.


No retouching on the above image.  I just opened file in Lightroom and set the color profile to “flash” and then exported it.

The great part is that once you’re finished building this, you can celebrate by eating a whole box of cereal out of the leftover mixing bowls.