Julie Watai is a photographer on a mission to capture beautiful self-portraits no matter what the environment. She has set out on a mission to create a portable ring light for smartphones; it is dubbed the “Kira” and Watai is seeking public funding to bring it to life.
Watai says she was disappointed when she found that her iPhone simply wasn’t up to the task of taking well-lit selfies in dark environments. While the front facing camera would produce slightly blurred and underexposed photographs, the rear camera would cast harsh light.
The Kira takes inspiration from the ring flashes Watai is used to working with in her everyday career. Watai notes that a ring light “creates a powerful, beautiful skin effect and catch light in the eyes so that you can take a beautiful photograph.”
The current design itself is the result of numerous prototypes and takes only 2 AAA batteries to operate. There is a cable attached for power in the prototype version, but the final design will rely wholly upon its internal batteries for power.
Here are a couple of before-and-after photos showing what the Kira is intended to do:
The amount of light emitted by the Kira can be adjusted, so there is no worrying that the Kira will ever wash out your subject’s face. The estimated battery life and final weight of the unit are unknown, but its dimensions will be 90x90x30mm.
For more information on the Kira and to track its development, you can visit the Japanese website Kibi-Dango where the project is currently being hosted. No word yet on pricing.