How to Create a Giant Ring Light with Softboxes

The fact that a softbox is easy to use does not mean that you cannot experiment with it. On the contrary, a softbox can be used in a number of creative ways, and this article will show one such example.


For the main image (1), we used three strip softboxes to create a giant ring light. We used one Profoto Softbox RFi 1×3’ and two Profoto Softbox RFi 1×4’s. All three heads were set to the same power throughout the entire shoot, and we did not use any optional accessories.


In the second image (2), only one of the three lights was used. If you take a closer look at the catch light in our model’s eyes, you can actually see the upper-left softbox reflected in her iris. What we have here is basically a classic Rembrandt lighting set-up. The shadows are intense, our model’s features are well defined and the atmosphere is quite moody and dramatic.


In the third image (3), both angled softboxes were used. Again, take a closer look at the catch light and see for yourself. Also, notice how the second softbox lightens up the shadows, especially around our model’s eyes and cheekbones. The result is obviously cleaner and less moody.


In the fourth image (4), all three lights were used. The triangular catch light is clear proof of this. Now the shadows are almost completely eliminated and our model’s features have been flattened out. The light is flattering and suitable for everything from beauty and fashion photography to jewelry and makeup shots.

Finally, let’s take a closer look at the main image again. This was also shot with all three softboxes. Compare it with our second (2) and third images (3), notice the dramatic changes in contrast and mood, and remember that we used the same set-up for all three shots.

In conclusion, we created three very different images, ranging from dramatic portraiture to high key fashion, with a single softbox set up. And it was as easy as it looks!

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the set-up.


Profoto, The Light Shaping Company, is the world’s leading manufacturer of photography lighting systems. Since 1968, Profoto has been providing photographers with innovative tools to create and shape light.

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