What is an LED Ring Light and why will you want to have one as part of your photography lighting toolkit? Ring Lights have been around since the 1950s and were originally used by doctors and dentists for examining the facial areas of patients. The benefit for physicians was that the ring light eliminated shadowing so that he or she could get a better view of the area being displayed. Within a few years, you started to see Ring Lights in professional photography studios, as well. Photographers also benefited from an easy solution to shadow elimination. Originally, ring lights utilized fluorescent bulbs but for the past 10 years, you have seen ring lighting via LED technology. LED bulbs last much longer and generate less heat. The prices for LED Ring Lights have come down considerably over the past few years and you can purchase a good quality ring light for under $100. Besides eliminating shadows, ring lights allow for more balanced lighting and with using different colored bulbs, you can create vivid color effects which can enhance the photo. Below are some of the things that I look for when purchasing a photographic ring light:
- Size – You need to make sure you know the size of the camera you are using so it will fit inside the Ring. If you are using a tablet, you will need a larger diameter ring light than if you are just using a small point and shoot digital camera, or your smart phone.
- Power – You should look at two specifications when purchasing a Ring Light. Those are a) the number of Lumens (lm) and b) the color rendering index (cri). The higher the lumens and color rendering index, the better quality of the photo lighting and more vivid the colors. You should also look for a dimmer switch so you can reduce the brightness of the bulb.
- Warranty – Make sure that you have a warranty. Most Ring Lights have between a 3 month and 12 month warranty. Depending on your credit card, you can sometimes get an extra year warranty added to the purchase at no cost.
4. Movability – You want the light fixture to be flexible so you can change the direction of the light. If you are doing “flat lay” photography, you need the ability to point the light directly downward.
- Color Temperature – It is best to have a dimmer switch for the color temperature. If you want a nice glow on your subject, you would want to have a warm “color temperature”. Having the flexibility to change color temperatures allows you to fine tune the glow.
- Accessories – This all depends on what you need and the particular model or product that you are buying. My accessories include a mirror, a bag for the light, a power adapter with extension cord, a stand and a bracket for my camera.
Ring Lights are a lifesaver for me as a photographer … as it is an inexpensive and effective way to take professional looking photos.