So, because I’m a fan of doing things myself, and building stuff, I took inspiration from Strobist’s article on making lighting tools from what one can find at the big box hardware stores. I fashioned a ring light from a light fixture, and I think it turned out pretty well. The light itself is somewhat ugly, but appears to do its job.
The light was made by buying a overhead lighting fixture, sold by Portfolio. I suspect they’re rebranded. But in any case, it has two circuline bulbs, both 4100 Kelvins, for a total of 54 watts of light. That works out to about 1/60th second exposure at about f/3.2. The ballast was located at the center of the light, which for a light would be awesome. But for a shoot-through ring light, not so awesome.
So I removed the ballast from the light (the bulbs, too), and cut a hole in the middle with my jigsaw. I then filed the edges of the hole to be smooth. then, I relocated the ballast to the side, and attached it with bolts. I wired up the fixture to a lamp cord, and wired a switch in. 12 foot cords are a good length. I made an L-shaped bar that I bolted to the back of the fixture, and tapped a 1/4-20 threaded hole into so I could mount it on a light stand. Then I tested it a little at home. It did well.
Last weekend, my good friend Marty had his birthday party. I love his parties. They’re great fun, and a great time for taking pictures. This afforded me a great opportunity to test it “for real”, which I did.
- One overhead flourescent lighting fixture from Lowes – $33
- One 12 foot lamp cord – $5
- One lamp switch – $5
- Some electrical tape – $1, maybe
- A 1/4-20 tap and die, already had this
- Some steel that I bent into an L-shape, already had
So, for $44, I made a ring light that allows me to take pictures that I think work out pretty well.
Judge for yourself.