With so many ordinary people creating image and video content online, ring lights are now more popular than ever before. Although the underlying technologies have been around for a long time, digital photography is still as exciting as it once was, especially now that pro-quality gear is readily available at a reasonable price. Overall, pro content creators rely on a variety of equipment to ply their trade, including a quality ring light. It’s a key piece in their arsenal when lighting isn’t quite right for a particular photo shoot or video.
But what’s the best time to use a ring light, and what are the top use cases today?
Besides, without a ring light, content can look amateurish and actually turn people away. So, properly using the right light is a fantastic technique to shoot professional-looking content that leaves an impact on online viewers. Still, the issue at hand is this: many would-be content creators don’t realize how easy – and affordable – it is to use a ring light. No matter how a photographer looks at it, purchasing a ring light is one of the best investments to make, and a good one is really not too expensive compared to other professional gear. To give a quick intro on how to use a ring light, this article breaks down the subject into four sections, including:
- What is a ring light, and how to use it?
- Using a ring light for streaming and video shooting
- Ring light photography and selfies
- What makes the Kodak Ring Light the best choice?
In the end, the basics outlined in this guide will give amateur photographers all of the information they need to make an intelligent buy.
What is a ring light, and how to use it?
A ring light – sometimes called a light ring or a circle light – is pretty self-explanatory: it’s a lighting fixture that comes in the shape of a ring. The ring itself may consist of small, high-intensity bulbs, or it may include one large, circular fluorescent bulb. Also, they come in two other varieties: strobe and constant; some of the top LED rings on the market even feature a dimmer to adjust light intensity as needed.
Overall, the most common use cases for these types of light fixtures are:
- Video shooting
- Product photography
- Live streaming
- TikTok content
- Instagram content
Originally, dentists used LED rings for orthodontic procedures that require full lighting. But professional photographers quickly adopted the technology to their own needs. Generally speaking, a ring light is valuable anytime a content creator needs to correct odd, shadowy lighting for a still shoot. So, today, using circular fixtures is a go-to technique to capture just the proper lighting – by far the most crucial part of a professional shoot.
Why is lighting so important in photography and video?
Amateur photographers often don’t appreciate how critical lighting is in all circumstances. Without proper lighting, any photo or video shoot won’t look professional and won’t get views. Honestly, buying the most expensive equipment isn’t how the best content producers get so many views; it’s how they use lighting with the equipment they do have on hand that makes a noticeable difference. For instance, lighting establishes a shoot’s mood, tone, brightness, darkness, colors, textures, and much more! Manipulating and re-positioning light fixtures gives photographers more control over the emotional impact of the shoot without running to correct every little shadow and defect in Photoshop.
Suppose photographers start with the right lighting in the first place. In that case, they won’t need to go back and correct it digitally with software, which may take a significant amount of time for amateurs just getting started in the content business. Online viewers expect television-quality or better media when they go online. Today, the need is greater than ever since there is so much content being published at an incredible volume. If amateur photographers don’t use the proper techniques, their content won’t be as successful in the end.
So, with that said, what’s the best way to maximize the value of a ring light based on specific use cases?
Using a ring light for streaming and video shooting
Circular light fixtures may have originated in the medical field, but photographers quickly realized the potential, especially when it comes to live-streaming and video shoots. The only caveat is that this type of lighting works best for still shots on a single subject that doesn’t move around during the set. Today, you can find a ring light for streaming in several sizes, and the right lights for video are essentially the same product; they’re simply used for different media.
The most significant advantage of using circular lighting in live streaming is that content creators can rely on a constant, evenly distributed light source. They also generally cost less than pro-grade lighting, and they don’t heat up nearly as fast as regular lighting fixtures used for video shoots. Simply put, the balanced lighting effectively eliminates shadows and glares that come from less-than-ideal backgrounds.
To properly use a ring light for streaming, content creators should take care that their recording device rests in the center of the light, not off to one side. If a smartphone is the recording device, there are special clips to use for more miniature LED circular lighting, yet some products will only mount on external webcams because clips won’t suffice. Either way, the golden rule is that the device should always be in the center of the ring, or the light won’t be as effective. The top-of-the-line fixtures also include tripods for mounting, dimmers, and some of them are versatile enough to use for casual shoots and pro shoots alike.
When shooting streaming videos, amateur photographers often make the mistake of thinking that the shoot didn’t because their camera’s quality isn’t good enough. In reality, the camera’s resolution and recording quality may not be the issue; it could be the lighting in the video that’s insufficient or maybe completely ruining the shoot too. But the downside of a ring light is that they usually aren’t very portable or collapsible and don’t do the trick in an outdoor setting. They’re not so easy to transport from one location to another, and their durability, in general, is an issue worth noting. There are also cables and maybe extension cords needed to operate a ring light correctly, and that’s simply not the ideal set-up for many live streamers.
Still, the benefits of using a circular LED light fixture for stationary video outweigh the downsides by far!
What makes the Kodak Ring Light 10″ the best choice?
Of all ring lights on the market, few are as noteworthy as the Kodak Ring Light, but how so? First, the Kodak brand gives this product an air of reliability and quality, which other upstart photography equipment manufacturers don’t have. Certainly, other circular lights have an excellent reputation, but none have the same appeal as a Kodak product. The Kodak Ring Light comes in several sizes, yet the 10-inch variety is most useful for digital content creation. It’s just portable enough to use for stationary shoots, and it won’t weigh too much.
A Kodak Ring Light works well by projecting soft, gentle white light that brings out a subject’s details. The ring itself contains 120 individual LEDs with adjustable brightness. Specification-wise, the LEDs in this particular line of products are rated at 92 CRI. To provide a comparison, quality LED light has a CRI range between 80 and 90, which puts this item on the higher end of the spectrum – but still at an excellent price for content creators. The Kodak Ring Light also comes with a function for adjusting color balance in the fixture. Photographers can change the lighting to warm, neutral, or cool to snap a pro-grade image or shoot a quick YouTube video.
Compatibility-wise, this particular light features a universal holder that will fit most smartphones, and it also comes with a 1/4-inch attachment for other recording devices. The Kodak Ring Light should also be able to handle any device that weighs less than 4.4 pounds. This product also includes a durable aluminum alloy tripod that’s adjustable up to about 2.25 feet (73 cm). Technology-wise, the Kodak Ring Light features a 5V, 2 amp USB port, which operates well with a power bank or a standard USB-AC adapter for fast charging. There’s even a Bluetooth shutter, which similar products don’t necessarily have unless someone buys a high-end product.
Overall, the benefits of using a ring light for content creation are worth a long look when deciding whether or not to buy one, especially with so many different options available. But few feature the same quality as a Kodak Ring Light.