Ring flash is a special flash that circles the lens and projects right on the lens axis. What is unique about this flash is the circle reflections and outlining shadow it produces. This flash is often used in fashion, but it can be used anywhere. Generally there are two styles of shooting with this flash, one using the ring flash as fill, the other using the ring flash as the main light. We found another use experimenting the other day, using the ring flash primarily for reflections.
Our set up for this image included 5 Elinchrom rangers using 4 Freelite A heads and 1 Elinchrom ring flash on camera. We started with a ring flash on camera set as the main light on the model’s face. We added 20 degree grids on accent lights coming in from the side and behind the model. These lights provided the highlights on the shoulders and neck. Next we used a boom to put a square Elinchrom Rotalux box over the model to add accent and detail to his hat. This box was gridded so the light wouldn’t spill onto the background. The last light was a 40 degree gridded head placed behind the model aiming at the backdrop.
As with many photo shoots, it wasn’t the planned images that we liked the best, it was the spontaneous ones that really worked. Chris (model) brought some glasses as a prop, and we shot some images with him wearing the glasses. But then he held them out in front of his face, making the ring flash reflections much more prominent and interesting. With this idea rolling, we worked on moving the glasses just right so his eyes weren’t blocked in the background. A great thing about working with experienced models is they often bring their own ideas to the shoot, and Chris had a good idea here.
Tech: Nikon D300s, 24-70mm lens, 1/250 at F8, ISO 200. Elinchrom Rangers, Freelite A heads, Elinchrom ring flash and Skyports used to trigger the flash.