Create Stunning Stars In Your Eyes With a DIY Ring Light

Stars Stars Stars (by L S G)Until today there was only one way I knew of to put starts in my eyes – to get a hefty blow to the jaw from the guy you just shot candid.

Until today, that is. Until I saw Laya Gerlock‘s amazing Stars Ring Light.  Fortunately for us DIYers, when Laya heard what we need to get through to see stars, he agreed to share the making of this beautiful modifier.

1. Create A Ring Flash

There are many ways to go about this, most of which are adapters to a hot shoe strobe. Lots of DIY options here that you can explore before spending some big buck. The cheapest option is to make an origami ring flash from a white Bristol.

An upgrade to this can be to reinforce it with a CD spindle. You can even make a square ringlight. As a last resort, OK, you can buy one. (Just please, check the links on the bottom before doing so)

A small tip on this one is to use aluminum foil inside the ringlight for better light distribution, and some tracing paper on the front of the ringlight for diffusion.

You should end up with something similar to image below.

ring flashring flash

2. Create A Stars Template Cookie

Once you have your ringlight, you can move to the next step, creating the stars modifier. 

First, trace the shape of your ringlight to a black Bristol board. Now that you have the outline, draw stars on the Bristol.

The best way to do this is to make one star on Bristol leftover and trace it over and over on the ringlight – this way all the stars will have the same shape and size.

Create Stunning Stars With a DIY Ring Light

Hey, you made a cookie.

Create Stunning Stars With a DIY Ring Light

3. Attach the Cookie To The Ringlight

Align the ringlight and the stars cookie. Wait!! Don’t glue them yet – use tape or Velcro so you can still use the ringlight without the stars cookie.

It will look kinda like this:

Create Stunning Stars With a DIY Ring Light

4. Test

And when popping this baby in the dark, it will look like this. Nice isn’t it?

Create Stunning Stars With a DIY Ring Light

5. Setup And Shoot

This is the fun part. Although the ringlight is attached to a strobe, this setup takes quite a bit of power from the flash – firstly the ringlight itself takes some power of, then there’s the diffusion material and lastly the stars cookie itself. 

This is why it is hard to use this flash as main light. Hard but not impossible as you can see below.

Stars stars stars (by L S G)

But, as with any other light, you can create more complicated setups. The shot below was taken with the setup that follows. A bare blue gel from camera right and behind the subject for extra coolness.

Stars Stars Stars (by L S G)

Create Stunning Stars With a DIY Ring Light

6. And It Gets Better

Here’s a shot with the stars ringflash as a sole light using an SB600 mounted on the camera’s hot shoe.

Me! (by L S G)

And here are the great catch lights

Stars Catch lights (by L S G)

Extra Reading:

You should really visit L S G’s photostream is a place of magic, great ideas and excellent photography.

And if you are still wondering which ringlight you want to build for getting this wonderful stars effect , check out David Tejada wonderful adaptation, A 100% paper&tape ring light mod, a powerful ringlight from disposable cameras and a really, really cheap ringlight.

More ring lights? David Hobby had a week full of those about a year ago.

Lastly, if you like stars, check out how to create them with Bokeh, rather than with ringlight.

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