Ringflash Lighting

Ringflash Lighting


So I ponied up some dough and bought the AlienBee RingFlash system a couple weeks ago. Just got out in the studio to finally play around with if for the first time. Lisa, the brave soul for most of my lighting testing, stepped in to let me blind her at point-blank range for an hour or so. I will feel fully responsible if this poor girl looses her sight by the ripe old age of 30, cause at the current rate, it’s totally a possibility.

Opening the box for this light, a bright pink, 20-page manual rested atop of all the goodies. How complicated could this bad boy be? Turns out it’s not, in fact, shooting with this system is a no brainer. When used as the only source to light your subject, the ringflash creates a shadowless image as the ringflash surrounds the camera lens, throwing light from every direction in relation to the lens. Shoot your subject on any kind of halfway interesting backdrop and you’ll come away with at least a decent picture with minimal time required for setup. The main thing I got from the manual is the heat warning, as you have valuable camera equipment at the center of this thing, and constant shooting and near full power levels can put the temperature well over 200 degrees, not something I want my L glass experiencing. Turns out as long as you don’t pull the trigger like machine gun fire, you should be ok. And to no surprise, just like all of my other AlienBee lighting, it worked like a champ.

Click the link below to jump to the rest of the post and more pictures from the shoot!

I used my 10-22mm wide angle lens for these shots and got super close to Lisa in order to create the large looped catchlight in her eyes. This lens is so wide I can capture the inner circle of the ringflash. As you can see from the shot above, I shot this on white seamless with two additional lights covered by purple and blue gels to give a different look. With the extreme wide angle and shooting only about a foot away from Lisa’s face creates a warped perspective, but cool at the same time.

I started out with this guy mounted on a tripod, but quickly found that going handheld is a much better approach with it even though you have to awkwardly hold the light setup. It’s my only complaint about the light system actually, as one of it’s primary uses being handheld, it wasn’t the easiest thing to handle. Other than that, this system creates fun, unique shots you can’t get any other way (unless you are that cheap dude who’d rather surf the DIY sites, spend half of the money buying a bunch of makeshift supplies at the store and going MacGyver trying to make your own, only to find out you just wasted 10 hours of your time and money when it fell apart the first time you set it down after being disappointed with the product of your wasted efforts). Thats besides the fact that if I were a client and showed up to get photographed and you pulled out a baking pan covered in tinfoil and wax paper, I’d immediately leave. Clients are investing money with you, invest a little in them would ya!

The light is very universal but I think you’ll find the closeup mug shots are going to give the most flattering results with this system, which means you’ll need a fairly wide angle lens to accomplish such shots. Of course it will also be a good light for firing 50-100mm frames and getting full body shots, producing a soft, murky cloud of a shadow behind the subject if this is the sole light being used. A result that makes people stop and look at the picture for a couple extra seconds.