A ring light is an LED light in the shape of, you guessed it, a ring! You place the lens through the hollow center of the light, shooting through the ring.
Ring lights expose every part of the subject while still separating them from the background. The subject’s eyes will have a ring catch light, which has been made immensely popular in recent times.
Many makeup artists and social media influencers use ring lights to create their content. Photographers love ring lights for their unique look, ease of subject and background separation, and the unique catchlight.
Here is our guide on how to set up a ring light!
How To Set Up a Ring Light
Most of the time, ring lights are as simple as mounting to a tripod and plugging them in.
The primary way that a ring light is used is in the front.
Place the ring light directly in front of your subject and shoot through the light’s centre. The subject’s head should be nicely centred with the empty space in the middle of the ring light.
The closer the light is to your subject, the harsher it’ll be. The further away, the more diffused the effect.
How the eyes show the catch light will depend on the distance of the ring light from the eyes. Do keep in mind that ring lights are very bright and can be harsh and uncomfortable for some subjects, so ensure that their comfort is top priority.
Another fun way is from the back of the subject. This creates a wonderful halo or ethereal effect when done properly. This works best when the subject is able to fill up the entire ring light with their face or body so that you do not see the light (only the halo effect).
For dramatic effect, try placing the ring light to the side of your subject to illuminate only one side of the face. You’d be surprised at how well ring lights work as regular continuous lights too when placed anywhere other than the front of the subject!
For some real fun creativity, try shooting something moving through the ring light! The ring light becomes a type of prop. Because of the severe lighting contrast, it’ll look like your subject is warping from a portal.
In conclusion, ring lights are a great investment for an easy, portable, and user-friendly type of artificial photography light! Experiment with different positions to see what effects you get.