How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet DIY Ring Light

Ring lights have a very specific light signature. Mostly it is connected with fashion photography as it gives out a very flattering light. The light is coming from around the lens, but since it is symmetrical it seems as if the light is coming right from the center of the lens.

Day 351 | Troopers

Small strobe powered ring lights can be used for stills but if you want something really impressive, you would go with a huge wooden bulb-driven ring light. While those are a bit harder to transport, they give out a spectacular light that can also be used for video.

(Oh, and make sure to check out those crazy catch lights at the sample pictures at the end of the post!)

What You’ll Need

  • Plywood – 4feet x 8 feet
  • 12 bulbs
  • wire
  • bulb fixtures
  • spray paint
  • 1×8 wood (optional)

Tools:

  • Jigsaw
  • ruler
  • Drill with Cup
  • TIME (lots of it, plan for a weekend project)

Prepping The Wood

Make sure you have a big enough car to fit your plywood, or else you would be driving like this

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

Cut the 4×8 plywood in half

find the center of your 4×4 plywood, measure 2 feet length and 2 feet width and find the center

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

I marked it with a screw and used scrap wood to make a circle around the wood

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

Make a big circle and a smaller one (6 inch difference)

Make twelve lines 30 degree apart from the center of the circle to mark the fixture for your bulbs

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

Now It’s Cutting Time!

I used a jigsaw to cut the holes

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

I used a drill with a cup to cut the 12 holes for the bulb fixtures

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

Spray Paint your wood after this (This was where I went wrong, because I installed the fixtures first before I sprayed it)

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

If you do what I did and installed the fixture first, no problem, What I did was cut a Gatorade bottle and used it to cover the fixtures so that I can easily spray on the wood without spraying on the fixtures

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

If you didn’t do it wrong like I did and sprayed it first, now it’s time to do the wiring. It was easier to put a washer in every screw so that the wire would lock easily. The wiring is fairly simple, but we are not going to show it here. If you don’t know how to wire this, you probably should not, it is dangerous. Swap a portrait session for some assistance with your local electrician.

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

Check wiring and your done!

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

Optional

I made a 2nd ring so that my wiring would be covered. I used 1inch x 1inch wood to bolt the two pieces of rings together

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

I also put a 1×4 wood in the left and right part of my ringlight where I can place my 2 lightstands to hold my ringlight. (it is that starry ring flash you see in the middle of the monster)

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

Last I put a switch in my ringlight so it’s easier to turn off and on.

How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet Diy Ring Light

A Quick BTS – Here Are The Wonders It Does For Video

And Finally, Some Samples Photographs

Day 346 | RingLight

Day 349 | Ring Light

Day 208 | RingLight

About The Author

Laya GerlockLaya Gerlock is a portrait photographer based in the Philippines. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao Quezon, (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!

  • socoFilmLab

    How many feet of wiring am I going to need? Also, what type of wire should I be using?

  • Jim Stone

    I built this and it vastly exceeded my expectations. Here’s what came out of it: http://www.jimstonephotography.com/lightring/

  • Scott

    I would love to see a hinge on the back so I could fold in half. GREAT JOB!!! I looks awesome

  • http://www.pearlypoppies.com/ Somdatta

    wow!! huge but amazing job! :D

  • Ambient Photography PH

    I built a similar sized rig with 20 3W daylight LED bulbs. Can’t wait to test them out. The entire thing runs cool at only 60W, but at 240 lumens each, it’s noontime bright.

    • http://www.diyphotography.net/ udi tirosh

      sound sweet, would love it if you made a tutorial for the blog.