Ring flash was invented in 1952 by Lester A. Dine; originally, the device was designed for use in dental photography, but is now extensively used for other purposes including regular photographing. The device is an oval photographic flash which perfectly fits around the lens, particularly applied or used in macro photography. The most essential feature of the device is that it provides even illumination along side with visible few shadows in the photograph, since the source of the light is quite close to the lens’ optical axis. Other uses of the device include portrait and fashion photography.
Apart from softening shadows, Ring flash renders light uniquely, giving the model a shadowy halo commonly known with fashion photography. Ring flashes are well known with close-up photography. How the Ring Flash Works In using the device, when the subject is quite near to the camera (which is characteristic of macro photography), the flash’s distance from the optical axis becomes noticeable. The Ring flash‘s size becomes significant for objects near to the camera; therefore, the light meets the subject from a number of angles just as it would with a traditional flash that features soft box. As this happens, further softening of any shadow may occur.
The Structure Usually, Ring flash comprises of two parts; the circular flash unit and the shoe-mount unit. The circular flash unit is mounted on the lens’ front, while the shoe-mount unit is mounted on a hot shoe. When larger Ring flash units are involved such as the ones used in fashion photography, a power pack delivers power to the unit and can be either AC or battery powered. On the other hand, there are some Ring flashes designed in form of mono lights whereby both the power and light are kept in one unit. There may be one flash tube or more within the circular flash unit, and each one can be turned off or on independently.
In order to achieve low-light focusing, some Ring flashes feature focusing lamps. There are also Ring flash diffusers which usually do not have their own light source; rather, they mount in front of the traditional flash unit, while passing the light to a diffuser shaped like a ring, located in the front of the lens. Ring Flash – A Useful Device to Photographers Ring flash is a valuable lighting mechanism and has enjoyed well-built resurgence in the recent past couple of years as photographers came to know that the device is extremely more useful compared with the single-look way it has been employed in the past.
Precisely, the device is now applied basically as a fill light to increase the illumination level of shadows, which the other off-axis lights create. Ring flash is known as an excellent good source of fill light since it does not produce fresh set of shadows of its own. Turning off some flash tubes to prevent extreme flatness of the lighting will help create a more 3-dimensional feeling. Again, sometimes, some unavoidable objects may block part of the flash and create shadows in the image; thus, you can get rid of unwanted shadows by turning off the blocked flash tube. Learn more about Ring flash here.