8 Tips For Using A Ring Light To Take Beautiful Photos

Taking beautiful photographs is challenging if you don’t have the right lighting setup. And since it’s difficult to carry lights everywhere you go, you may have to make do with poorly lit photos.

But crafting dynamic, well-lit photos doesn’t have to be a challenge reserved for professionals. Ring lights have democratized photography lighting, ushering in a new era of creative possibilities.

This incredibly versatile tool has the power to eliminate unwelcome shadows, enhance features, and bathe your subject in a flattering, even light. Whether you’re capturing portraiture, macro shots, or captivating video content, a ring light can be your secret weapon to achieving visual harmony.

So let’s dip into some handy tips on how to expertly utilize a ring light to elevate your photographic work, turning simple shots into masterpieces.

#1. Use the Ring Light as Your Key Light

When you want professional studio lighting but don’t want to spend a fortune, a ring light can do wonders. Professional photographers usually use three lights to correctly light an object for product photography.

However, you can use a ring light to shoot your product head-on and a bounce to help fill in the light from another angle.

A ring light gives you a diffused, bright light that doesn’t create shadows and emits a uniform light on your subject.

Besides serving as an indoor studio light, you can also use it to shoot an object outdoors in low light.

#2. Use a Dimmer Ring Light as a Filler Light

Use Two Ring Lights

Photographers mainly rely on a key light and then use a filler light as their secondary light.

However, you can use a ring light for both. Get a larger ring light for your key light, and use a smaller ring light—with the brightness dimmed down—to fill in any shadows.

When you use a smaller ring light as your filler light, you can place it at an angle that will complement your key light.

Doing this will let you create natural-looking light, such as a subtle highlight in your subject’s eyes.

When illuminating products or engaging in macro photography, a filler light can balance out your main light. It can reduce any contrast between the lighter and darker areas of your photo.

#3. Use an Adjustable Ring Light

Not all ring lights are made equal. For instance, some will allow you to adjust the temperature and brightness too.

This is a helpful feature if you want to tweak how your camera is reading the scene. Some ring lights will let you adjust the brightness in 1% or 10% increments.

Pick the 1% option if you can, as this will give you greater creative control when lighting your scene.

When researching a ring light, look for one that lets you change the angle. You will also want one that can extend to different heights.

These features allow you to play with the light and bend it, enabling you to direct the light from a variety of directions.

#4. Use a Ring Light With a High CRI

A light’s color rendering index (CRI) indicates how it will affect the color of your photo. Sunlight has a CRI of 100. If you want to get great photos, pick a ring light with a high CRI.

A high CRI means that the ring light can render more colors, which will make the color in the photo more accurate and consistent.

Ring lights with a CRI of 90 and above are considered excellent, giving you better photographs of objects or people with various shades or hues.

#5. Use a Ring Light That’s the Right Size

Ring Light Selfie

Ring lights come in different sizes, but larger isn’t necessarily better. If you want a blast of white light, then the large 18-inch diameter ring light is your best bet.

However, this light may be too strong, whitewashing everything in its direct path. On the other hand, a 10-inch ring light may be too small.

A 12-inch, 14-inch or 16-inch ring light are good in-between choices that should give you beautiful results.

#6. Use the Right Background

The background can either enhance or detract from the subject of your photo. Solid backgrounds often work the best, like black or white.

In both cases, your eye will go to the subject rather than a cluttered or too-colorful background. If you have the right background, you will be able to take great photos.

Remember that the ring light should illuminate your subject and not your background. For example, there shouldn’t be a distracting glare behind your subject’s head. You may want to test the ring light at different angles to balance the background and lighting.

#7. Be Aware of Reflections Caused by the Light

The reflective properties of your ring light can be an issue if you don’t position your ring light correctly. A ring light can cause a glare on objects, such as jewelry, glasses, plates and even silverware.

You can use the reflections to your advantage if the reflection creates a gorgeous halo effect. However, the reflection can be distracting, so positioning your ring light correctly is important. Adjust the angle and brightness of the light to reduce glare. Alternatively, you can place a polarizing filter over your camera lens.

#8. Get a Portable Ring Light

A portable ring light is compact, so that you can always carry it with you easily. Look for a model that is lightweight and convenient to carry around.

Some are small enough to be clipped to your mobile phone to take better pics and selfies wherever you are. You may want to choose a ring light with a rechargeable battery, as this will give you greater flexibility when shooting.

Affordable Lighting With a Ring Light

You don’t have to spend a fortune on a lighting setup when taking photos. Using a ring light as your key light and filler can do the job. Just remember to follow these tips to get beautiful photos.



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