This is my crappy looking home-made Ring flash. You might be thinking, "Hey, that looks like some kind of Tupperware or something"!
That's because it is... let's begin.
To begin, this isn't really a ring flash. Ring flashes usually allow the camera lens through the middle. This is more like a flash modification to mimic the effect of a ring... flash.
*Side note... this stuff was laying around the house, so it was basically free.
^I used this Tupperware. It's for PIE!^
Matte black spray paint
Chrome spray paint
Black craft foam from Michael's
and a CD-R case top
Dremel with cutting bit and sanding bit
This Idea from concept to reality took about a day to make, mostly because I didn't really know how the construction was going to look like, until I got done with it. It tried a few configurations that didn't work before I came up with this design. notice that big ugly looking patched up hole at the bottom? That was a design mistake, So don't do that.
The first step is to cut your CD-R case in half to shorten the length of it. There are really no exact measurements for any of these steps, because I modified everything to fit my 430 EX II on my Canon 5D Mk II (your camera might be different). I then place my CD-R case top on my tupperware (the bottom colored piece) and with my sharpie, trace the circular edge of the CD-R case onto my tupperware bottom. This will guide me in make the exact hole I need to make both pieces fit together. You also trace the head of your flash onto the top of the CD-R case to make the right sized hole to fit your flash head. Notice how the CD-R case sticks out of the bottom of the Tupperware.
With all holes cut and sanded to fit (using the dremel tool), spray paint the pieces. Matte black on the outside, and Chrome on the inside. Let it dry of course before Super gluing it all together. I also used a thick pieces of black craft foam to reinforce the back of where the flash head is inserted... one, to protect my flash from scratches, and two, it keeps the unit snugly held on for as long as you need it.With the glue and paint dried, take some strips of aluminum foil to line the inside of the Tupperware.
Once you're all done with that, it's time to move on to the front cover of the tupperware ring flash. Take the aluminum foil and cut a circular shape to place inside the clear top cover of your tupperware (see below). You might also want to cut an equal sized circular piece of black craft foam to place directly on the front of the clear tupperware ring flash, this gives the flash it's ring shape by blocking the light in the middle. Use tape or glue for this step.
I don't glue the lid on in case I need to make modifications or repair some of the aluminum.
Like I mentioned before, the thick craft foam glued to the back both protects my flash unit, and keeps a sturdy hold for walking around conventions. You wont have to be worried about it popping off and rolling off of a cliff! You don't know how common that is.
Looks bulky... but it's very light plastic, so it's really not a bother. Plus it doesn't put much stress on your hot shoe.
The reason for the CD-R case is to put necessary space between the front of the ring flash and the flash head, giving you the ability to insert the flash head all the way in for a more secure fit. Plus it extends the end of the ring flash to the end of the lens, which reduces the chance of getting weird shadows caused by the lens or lens hoods. That is why I recommend that you make your own measurements to fit to your specific camera and Flash unit.
The transparent frosted plastic front on the tupperware is a natural and very effective flash diffuser. That gives you the ability to get close ups with soft lighting.
So far the only effective use for this thing is close ups for portraits or still life subjects, it's not a do-all lighting solution. There is A LOT of light fall off just by stepping back a few feet. So keep that in mind.
Below are some of the results from using this Ring flash out on some of the events and conventions that I shoot (as well as some of my photo shoots).
Let me know what you think in the comments section.