A ring light is one of the most easy-to-use lighting options on the market. If you’ve never used a ring light before, you should! Ring light photography can instantly take your content from amateur to professional.
In this post, we’ll go over how to create incredible ring light photography at any level, including:
- What a ring light is
- What to look for in a ring light
- How to set up your ring light
- Tips for ring light photography
- The best ring lights for photography
What Is a Ring Light?
A ring light is a ring-shaped light used to emit uniform, diffused lighting onto a subject. It reduces harsh shadows and flatters the subject with a soft glow. Ring lights are used for:
- Macro photography
- Product photography
- Portrait photography
- Social media content creation
And much more!
What to Look for in a Ring Light
There are many ring lights on the market these days, but not all of them are created equal! Here’s what to look for when selecting your perfect ring light for photography.
On-Camera vs. Off-Camera
There are two types of ring lights: on-camera and off-camera ring lights. On-camera ring lights mount to the front of your camera and give off a narrow band of light for up-close shots. Off-camera ring lights attach to stands and are positioned around the frame of your shot. Off-camera ring lights tend to be the most versatile for ring light photography. The Lume Cube Cordless 18” Ring Light or Cordless 12” Ring Light Mini are both excellent off-camera choices.
Continuous vs. Strobe
Ring lights come with either continuous or strobe settings. If you’re a content creator or are new to ring light photography, you’ll want to go with a continuous ring light. This produces smooth, even light. (Bonus: in portrait photography, a continuous ring light causes pupils to constrict. This shows off more of your subject's eye color.) A strobe ring light flashes with the shutter click for strong bursts of light. This setting is good for darker environments and can require a bit more getting used to. The Lume Cube Cordless 18” Ring Light is one of our favorite continuous ring lights.
Use an Adjustable Ring Light
Choose a ring light that has full temperature and brightness adjustability. This helps ensure that you capture the most realistic colors in every shot. If you use the wrong color tone for a shot, it won’t look true to the original image. An adjustable ring light like the Lume Cube Cordless 18” Ring Light gives you full creative control.
Find a Ring Light with a High CRI
Make sure your ring light has a high CRI, especially if you’re doing product ring light photography. A high CRI mimics natural sunlight. This is the most accurate way to ensure that the product looks the same in person as it does in the picture. For example, the Lume Cube Cordless 18” Ring Light has a 97 CRI. It also has no jumps or skips for seamless photography and video.
Invest in a Portable Ring Light
Many photographers gravitate toward ring light photography because of its portability and versatility. A portable ring light opens up unlimited possibilities on the go. The Lume Cube Cordless 18” Ring Light or Cordless 12” Ring Light Mini are great choices for portable ring light photography.
How to Set Up a Ring Light
Once you set up your ring light for photography, you’ll be shooting like a pro in no time! Here’s how to do it:
- Depending on the type of ring light you own, mount your ring light to the front of your camera, or to a stand.
- Place your ring light directly in front of your subject. When using an off-camera ring light, position your camera through the center of the ring.
- Adjust your ring light and camera to the correct temperature and brightness settings.
- Take your shot!
Check out this quick video to learn how to set up and use Lume Cube’s Cordless 18” Ring Light.
Tips for Ring Light Photography
Be Mindful of Reflections
When using a Cordless 18” Ring Light, make sure to avoid unwanted glare in any reflective surfaces you may be shooting. While you can edit in post-production, it’s easier to prevent glare from happening in the first place. Simply position your ring light to the side so it won’t cause any distracting reflections in your shot.
Using a Ring Light as a Key Light Source
Due to its diffused, bright light, a ring light works well as the key light in a typical three-point setup. This is especially effective if you are shooting a subject straight on. While the ring light eliminates shadows on its own, you could also use a fill light for an even more professional look. (We like the Lume Cube Edge Light 2-Pack or Broadcast Lighting Kit 2-Pack for fill lighting.)
Using a Ring Light as a Fill Light
Because they are so powerful, ring lights can also be used as a natural-looking fill light. Just make sure your ring light has adjustable color temperature and brightness if you’re mixing your light sources. (We like the Lume Cube Cordless 18” Ring Light for this.)
Using Ring Lights for Two-Point Lighting
Surprisingly, you can do a lot with two ring lights. Ring lights are so versatile that they can be used for just about any two-lighting setup. Mix and match to find the setup that works for you! Again, you’ll want to make sure both of your ring lights have adjustable brightness to control your key-fill ratios.
Best Ring Lights for Photography
Ready to get started with ring light photography? Our Lume Cube LED ring lights have adjustable color temperature and brightness and hours of constant light. Plus, our cordless, battery-powered options give you professional light wherever you go. Just mount your camera or smartphone to elevate your ring light photography. Check them out below: