What is a Ring Light & How to Choose a Ring Light that Best Suits You?

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Have you ever wondered how most of the spectacular photographs and videos that you have seen lately are well lit and of high quality? Well, if you thought that the reason behind this is because they are using a very expensive type of camera, then you are wrong. Most of these photographers and video creators can produce these high-quality videos and photographs simply because they utilised a piece of unique lighting equipment called the ring light.

Typically, a ring light is an easy-to-use multipurpose lighting tool that enables users to obtain a source of uniform light that comes directly from their cameras. This lighting device is usually made from a single circular fluorescent bulb or several connected small LED lights that form the shape of a circle.

Read more: A Complete Guide on LED Light Bulbs 

Why use a Ring Light?

Ring lights were originally developed for medical and dental purposes. However, due to its wide potential capabilities, the ring light was adapted for various commercial usages that include the following:

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1. For Emphasising Details

Due to its design and structure, ring lights are perfect for emphasising details on photographs and videos. The ring light’s circular design allows users to use their cameras in between the hole of the ring light enabling them to focus on specific details of the shoot.

2. Macro Photography

Using a ring light when taking pictures produces perfectly balanced lighting that is evenly distributed on every side of the model or object that the users want to focus on. Ring lights allow the users to create high-quality photos and videos without the burden of spending a lot of money for the shoot.

3. Generating Colour Effects

Ring lights can be easily used to generate colour effects by simply switching the regular white bulbs with different coloured lights or by applying coloured gels on various parts of the ring light. Using ring lights to generate the colour effect technique allows the user to create colour washes that flow through various directions of the object of the shoot or video. 

4. Video production

When using ring lights as the only source of lighting for a photoshoot or commercial, the ring lights produce an attractive halo shadow that brilliantly outlines the subject of the photograph or video. This provides a dramatic and professional look for filming. For a more professional-looking video, softboxes or sidelights can complement the ring lights.  Read more about softbox

5. Makeup Application

Since most ring lights can produce a daylight colour rating of 54000k, this source of light is perfect for makeup application especially on an overcast day or when natural light is not available. 

Ring light with a 54,000-Kelvin rating offers a colour temperature close to daylight and therefore it is perfect for makeup application when natural light is not available. 

Also read: Track & Monorail Lighting Guide


How to Choose a Ring Light that Best Suits You?

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If you are planning to purchase a ring light for your personal or business needs then you might have a little difficulty in choosing which type of ring light to buy. 

1. Using a camera? Tablet? Smartphone?

To be able to properly choose the perfect ring light for your needs, you must take into consideration how you are going to use it. If you need a ring light to use for taking selfies on your DSLR camera or iPad then you should purchase a ring light that is big enough to fit within.

2. DIY ring lights.

You will find that there is a lot of “Do It Yourself” ring lights on Youtube videos that can be made on a budget however you will find it will be a tricky task to shop the right materials and put it together. Also, you will need to make sure it is safe to use and that the lighting is consistent and can be used for long periods.

3. Power and Ring Light Size

The other thing to consider when shopping for a ring light is the size and power of the ring light. The higher the lumens and colour rending index (CRI) the better the lighting output and colour representation of the object being lit. This makes a big difference especially those depending on colour accuracies such as makeup artists, tattoo artists or hair colourists. Read more: Kitchen Lighting Ideas: How to Light your Kitchen?

It is ideal to find a ring light that offers a dimmer knob to control the brightness. This will make your life easier as you find yourself moving the light stand to adjust the brightness. The ‘gooseneck’ allows you to control the direction of the ring light perfect for flay lay photography, tattoo artists, brow or lash specialists and many more. 

4. Warranty

Double-check warranties offered as they vary from retailer to retailer. As a rule of thumb, you would need at least 10 months for a purchase warranty. 

5. Need the ring light to cast towards the floor? 

This is especially important for anyone needing to do flat lay photography, filming artwork or crafts on a table, brow or lash specialists or tattoo artists. For this to function properly the ring light needs a part called a “gooseneck” to allow the ring light to flex as much as you need. 

6. Colour Temperature of the Ring Light

Warm colour temperature is typically used during photography or filming when a warm and healthy glow is required on the subject. Most ring lights have the option of changing the colour with snap-on orange filters however a more convenient option is a dimmer for colour temperature.

7. Included Accessories

Does it come with a carry bag? A mirror? A gooseneck? A stand? Phone bracket? Camera bracket? Is AC power adaptor compatible with your country to plug? These are the standard accessories that a ring light should come with.

8. Fluorescent Bulbs Vs LED Ring Lights

Fluorescent ring lights are considered old technology and do not have a long life span as LED ring lights. The cons with a fluorescent ring lights are that they become hot when used for long periods, it may produce a humming sound or flicker over time, when the bulb is broken you will need to purchase a new bulb to replace it whereas LED ring lights don’t have this issue and emit heat which may be uncomfortable for makeup application. 

Final thoughts

A ring light is an easy-to-use multipurpose lighting tool that has multiple applicability. Made from a single circular fluorescent bulb or several connected small LED lights that form the shape of a circle, it is efficient and we’ve covered the major applications these ring lights are utilised in and on how to choose them. Hope this article helped you. 

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