The Rectangular Ring Light

This simple beauty lighting setup comes with a unique creative twist.

In this beauty photography class, Karl tries something completely new and puts a creative spin on a modifier designed for rim lighting. While this setup could, essentially, have been achieved with one light, Karl shows how the addition of a second light adds something special.

The final result is a beautiful, soft light, casting almost no shadows – a flattering effect ideal for beauty photography.

In this class:

  • Studio Lighting: How to set up multiple studio lights
  • Two light setup for beauty photography
  • How to creatively use modifiers
  • How to achieve soft light
  • How to use a hair light in beauty photography

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. My current Proflex 4’6′ doesn’t have the black piece to make it into a ring light. Do you have any suggestions for how to do this by making one?

  2. kenshi2008

    The quality from the full-frame Canon camera looks good. Just sign up for Broncolor and other photography news to see what the trends are. I see if I can get 1 strobe out to practice with. Learning a lot from your lessons. Many thanks to your team and you for your expertise.

  3. garystasiuk

    My first thought was what if you angled the softbox a bit to feather the light, creating a weight on one side.. might be god awful.. might not. My large softbox is a Goddox 80×120 cm.. I figured I would make a black rectangle addition for it. Is that black velvet or just a blackout nylon?

    1. Hi Gary, It’s not velvet – i’m not sure what it is but it’s completely opaque. I think it’s 2 or 3 layers thick whatever it is.

  4. Another fantastic tutorial mate.

    Am I correct in saying that a black foam board in front of a soft box would work exactly the same? Also – would cutting out a round black foam board, work like a ring light if used with an octabox?


    1. Hi Nathan, yes to both questions! πŸ™‚ You loose a lot of power from the light though so be prepared to up the ISO a couple of stops.

  5. Hi Karl, what about using a large scrim with a mask instead of a soft box ? Does it make sense ?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Egidio yes that would work as long as you have enough light going through it and all around the edges. Keep in mind though that a scrim also bounces a lot of light back off of the light side whereas a softbox doesn’t

  6. Hi Karl…What will be the output of the photo WITHOUT the mask? or How WITHOUT using mask affects the output?.

    1. Hi, there is no backlight only the one on the hair, that is only doing the hair. The background is being lit from the rectangle light that is lighting the model.

  7. Hi Karl. Thank you for the analytical and generous teaching process.
    One question: I noticed that you are not using any Softboxes or Octaboxes with Grids on. What is your opinion on those?
    Would Softboxes or Octaboxes with Grids offer any advantages on small studio spaces?

    1. Hi Yannis, yes they stop light bouncing around off nearby walls in a small studio but they do make the softbox light quality slightly harder. In a big studio space you generally don’t need them.

  8. Love the creative process and the edges on the shoulders!
    Is the black mask silvered on the inside of the softbox ?

  9. Thanks for show a creative DIY solution for us that don’t own “all the light modifiers in the world”, Karl!

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