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Thread: Using a ring flash

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Malcolm

    Using a ring flash

    I am going to be using a ringflash for the first time to do some shots of objects such as cameras and model toys. I am pretty much in the dark about using a ringflash so any tips or advice would be welcome. It is a Canon dedicated ringflash and will be used on my 450D.

  2. #2
    krispix's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
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    Chris

    Re: Using a ring flash

    Hi Malcolm,
    As far as the technicalities go using a ring flash is the same as any other flash. The difference is that the end result is almost entirely devoid of shadow and modelling. For what you're describing I'm not sure a ring flash would be my first choice. Things like camera are all angles and detail, things that will get blasted by a ring flash and the net result will be flat and uninteresting. I would suggest you use a tent or a reflector with an high angle off-camera light (flash if you like).
    If you still want to use the ring, it's like any bit of new kit - try it out first.

  3. #3
    John C's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    Re: Using a ring flash

    I use a ringflash quite a bit for macro photography of insects in the wild. It took me a bit to figure out how to use it properly. Mine (a Metz Mecablitz 15 MS-1) is triggered wirelessly by the camera's on-board flash. The flash duration is controlled by the on-board flash as the light is metered through the lens. This allows a lot of control for how bright or dark you want the photo. I just adjust the EV on the camera - generally if -0.7 or -1.0 for small light colored subjects within a darker background. The flash also allows adjustment of the ratio of brightness from right to left. I usually use 4:1 and I get some nice shadows but still get enough fill light on the dark side. So, no problem with the light being "almost entirely devoid of shadow." The great thing about a ringflash is that you can use much higher f-stops, allowing greater depth of field if that is what you want.

    Here is a recent example. I have a number of other photos taken with a ringflash on Flickr.

    Using a ring flash
    Leaf-Footed Bug by John Chulick, on Flickr

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
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    Southern California, USA
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    Richard

    Re: Using a ring flash

    i would not necessarily use a ring flash for "objects such as cameras and model toys". Instead I would think about using a light tent. Light tents are very easy to use for shadowless lighting with limited reflections. They are also quite inexpensive.

    I use my light tent with a pair of inexpensive Chinese studio strobes and the results are just great...

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