The Benefits Of Ring Flash

There are numerous advantages of using ring flash, making it a versatile piece of equipment for both the amateur and professional photographer. A ring flash is a circular flash that is mounted around the camera lens. This setup provides frontal on-axis lighting, which produces a unique photographic look and a number of benefits. The biggest benefit of using ring flash is that it illuminates the subject from multiple angles, avoiding the extra shadows off-axis lighting can cast. This is particularly beneficial in macro photography, where the ring flash effectively surrounds the subject, softening and reducing the number of visible shadows. When the subject is very close to the camera, as with macro photography, the distance between the flash and the optical axis is noticeable, causing an off-axis flash to produce much more dramatic shadows.

One of the other advantages of ring flash is in fashion photography, as it can create images with a distinctive look. The frontal lighting casts a shadowy “halo” around the subject, outlining them. The further the subject is from the wall behind them, the softer the outline becomes. This style of fashion photography was popularized by Helmut Newton and later by Nick Knight, known for their creative use of the ring flash and cutting-edge techniques.

While macro photography and fashion photography tend to be the most popular applications, creative use of a ring flash can produce a number of different moods and effects, particularly in conjunction with other lighting. The benefits of ring flash photography make it a very good fill flash, as it can illuminate shadows caused by other directional lighting without creating new ones. This lightens the subject while preserving the natural three dimensional shading. Used in conjunction with hard edge lighting, a ring flash can increase detail while decreasing the strong contrast caused by the off-axis flash, creating a softer look that still has a great deal of depth.