How To Give Your Models Alien Catch Lights Using A Huge Ring Square Light

Brian from Undefined Images made an interesting submission to our How I Took It contest. While we’ve had ringlights show stars catchlights before, we never did an alien look that incidentally also doubles as a huge ringlight. About the nuts and bolts for this one, you can see Tristan’s post.

How To Give Your Models Alien Catch Lights Using A Huge Ring Flash


  • 4 4ft Shop lights – Get ones that have the holes in the frame so you can bolt them down to the wood
  • 2 5ft planks of wood — the 2 horizontal bars
  • 2 6-8ft planks of wood — the 2 vertical bars
  • Some other sections of wood to build the feet – this all depends on what style you’re making
  • Bolts and nuts to secure the lights to the wood
  • Nails and Wood glue to put it all together
  • Zip ties to secure the wires
  • Sunglasses – Just trust me

Building The Frame

The idea is to get the 4 lights in a box formation without too much gap between them.

Use the tall planks for the sides, and 2 shorter ones for the horizontal pieces.

Once you have them all in place, you can wire them all down to a power strip for easy on/off access.

You can also experiment with different shapes, triangles, octagons etc. The possibilities are endless.

See my illustration for an idea on how to build this. *

How To Give Your Models Alien Catch Lights Using A Huge Ring Flash

*Excuse my poor photoshop illustration skills =)

Once You’re Done Building:

Set the light up facing your model. You’ll be shooting through the center of the frame from behind the lights.

Your model wont be able to see you, so you’ll need to give her some instruction with the lights off so she knows where to look. Communication is key in this situation.

It’s also likely to get hot, so you’ll have to shoot some, then give your model a break while you look over your images.

You’re also going to have to shoot with a slower shutter speed as these lights dont have a high output, so you’ll need to set your camera on a tripod or hold really still.

This was shot at 1/60 f/4.5 @ 62mm. Exposure Comp was up +.3 step. Handheld.