Today I am going to be discussing ring lights for photography. Now, please keep in mind that ring lights do come in both a continuous light source and as flashes which makes them fantastic for both video and photography. Also, it is generally used in the exact same way for both. However, today I am speaking specifically about its use and purpose in photography as a continuous light source.
With all of that being said, Let’s dive right into Ring Lights for Photography.
WHAT IS A RING LIGHT
A ring light is a light source that is in the shape of a…well…ring, or circle. It casts light directly on your subject from your cameras point of view in a VERY even manner which eliminates unflattering shadows and can make for very beautiful lighting. The biggest indicator of a ring light being used and used for it’s intended purpose is the catch light in the eye. It will make a perfect circle in or around the pupil of the eye. These lights come in many brands, sizes, and types. We will cover all of this below as well as what I personally use and why.
CONTINUOUS VS FLASH
I am not going to spend too much time here especially since I already said we are going to talk about continuous ring lights. But I felt I owed it to you to explain why I say that.
The Flash Ring Lights are used primarily for Macro Photography, you know those crazy pictures of bugs and flowers and stuff. Which are really super shots, just not what I photograph. The Continuous Ring Light is used primarily for beauty and portrait photography, which is exactly what I shoot.
So, there you have it, if you shoot photos of bugs get the flash and if shoot photos of faces get the continuous.
WHICH SIZE TO USE
Of course this is completely up to you, but Let’s face it guys, I live in Texas, and you know what they say.
SO, while you can get them as small as 12-13 inches, I prefer an 18″ or 19″ Ring light. Some may tell you that it doesn’t really matter. However, the closer the light is to you, the softer the light is going to be. The further away it is from you the harsher it’s going to be. In this case, if you have a 13″ ring light you will need to have this no further than a foot away from you or your subjects face to get the intended lighting. In my honest opinion that’s a little too close and restricting.
Now on the other hand if you are using 18″-19″ Ring Lights for Photography then you can step them back to almost 2 feet away and achieve beautiful light with a great catch light in the eye.
Take this photo as an example.
Here you see me photographing my Daughter. I am not sure who loves the spontaneous shoots more but we both have a ton of fun.
I have the light just slightly over 2 feet from her face. We had a little window light in the background which lit up the back pretty well. For those of you shooting with DSLR or wanting to, I shot this photo with a Nikon D800 (Link to updated D810) and an 85mm Prime at an ISO 200, f4.5, at 1/13 sec.
LED VS FLUORESCENT
I personally use a Fluorescent Ring Light for my photography. However, I am not going to say that either one is better than the other. There are some differences though. Fluorescent light is always going to be on the bluer/greener side while LED will be on the pinker side.
Of course LED uses less energy but unless you just leave this thing plugged in and on for bragging rights when company is over, I don’t think that really matters.
This really comes down to preference and how you’re going to be using it.
If you will be traveling with the light frequently, I highly recommend an LED Ring Light as you won’t have to worry about the baggage handlers throwing your light around only to find a broken bulb in your bag when you get to your destination.
WHO SHOULD HAVE ONE
Any semi-pro or pro photographer, makeup artist, beauty blogger/Vlogger, hairstylist, or beauty professional who plans on posting photos or video to the internet.
In fact, my wife uses my ring light more than I do for her Cosmetic/SkinCare business. She does all of her own video and photos using her cell phone and the ring light. Not that I haven’t offered, but she pretty well has it handled.
I recommend getting yourself a ring light for your business if you haven’t already. The links I have provided above are for the exact Ring light that I use and its LED counterpart. They are both dimmable which is perfect and are both 19″ in diameter. I didn’t see a prebuilt package for the LED light so be sure to grab a light stand as well if you don’t already have one.
Better lighting on your photos, no matter what you’re presenting, will make your photos stand out in a much more professional way. In this world of “everybody is an entrepreneur”, that’s exactly what you need and hopefully want for your Personal Brand Photography.
I hope that this has helped you in your quest for better images and lighting. If you have any questions, suggestions, or just want to say hello please comment below. Of course shares are always appreciated as well.
Thank you for reading!