Taking good photos and videos requires not only a cool script and video camera, but also good lighting. It sets the mood and tone of your content. Without it, you can look dim, out of focus, or even be in the shadows — like an anonymous witness in a crime series.
The ring light is a simple tool whose diffused glow will help make your work more professional. For streamers, bloggers and beauty professionals, these devices are a must. In today’s article, we tell you what to look for when choosing a round lamp.
Types of ring lamps
Depending on the light source, there are:
Advantages of fluorescent lamps:
- the light tube can be replaced.
Cons of fluorescent lamps:
- toxic (contain mercury);
- heat up and emit a hum during operation;
- shorter service life.
Advantages of LED lamps:
- last longer;
- less fragile, withstand transportation;
- more environmentally friendly;
- can be portable.
Cons of LED lamps:
- LEDs fade over time and cannot be replaced.
From the list of advantages and disadvantages of both types of ring lamps, it is clear that LED (or LED) models are more popular. It is from the devices of this type that we recommend choosing.
The diameter of the ring lamps depends on the purpose of use and varies from 10 to 55 cm:
- 10–12 cm — mounted on a smartphone, illuminate the subject at close range, not suitable for professional use;
- up to 25 cm — compact enough to carry with you, a great option for bloggers;
- up to 35 cm — illuminate the necessary surface, suitable for manicurists, eyebrow artists, makeup artists, lash makers;
- more than 35 cm — illuminate a large area without harsh shadows, resulting in a beautiful professional photo. These are suitable for photographers, videographers, beauty salons, bloggers.
For example, this 12cm diameter ring light is great for selfies and comes with a tripod. And this 46-cm version is more versatile — it can be used for beauty blogs, subject, portrait and other types of shooting.
If you plan to use the lamp only stationary, options with mains power are suitable. The advantage of this model is a long operating time.
If you have location shooting, then the lamp must be powered by batteries or via USB (for example, from an external battery). The advantages include portability and the ability to use outdoors, for example, in nature.
But there are also universal models, for example, the Yongnuo YN128 II ring light. It supports 3 power options — from the network, battery or USB.
The power of the ring lamp depends on the type of device:
- in portable models — 10–20 W;
- in models that work from an outlet — 20–96 watts.
The choice also depends on the purpose of use:
- for shooting at a distance of 1.5 m (for example, for streamers), portable models are suitable;
- to shoot a photo or video where a person is waist-deep in the frame, devices with a power of 30–36 W are enough (for bloggers, makeup artists, eyebrow artists, lash makers);
- for shooting a person in full growth, close-up or a group of people — from 45 W;
- for capturing movement or photos with lots of detail — 96 watts.
The FST RL40BL LED illuminator has a power of 80 W and is suitable for almost any type of shooting (beauty, blogging, portrait and subject), as well as for makeup artists, eyebrow artists and other beauty professionals.
Both the power of the glow and the durability of the lamp depend on the quality of the LEDs.
There are 2 types of ring LED lamps:
- SMD LEDs without lens;
- lens LEDs.
The first type is the most popular, such models shine brighter even with a relatively small number of LEDs (usually 120–480 is installed in the lamp). You can ignore the number of LEDs — sometimes a lamp with 240 LEDs shines brighter than with 480. This is due to the fact that in the last part of the diodes it only works when a certain mode is turned on (for example, cold glow).
SMD LEDs are enough for at least 50,000 hours (or 5.5 years) of continuous operation.
If accurate color reproduction is important to you (for example, you work as a makeup artist or colorist), check the Color Rendering Index (CRI) value. To get bright and natural skin tones, it should be 90 and above (ideally 95+). Often this parameter is not indicated in the specifications, so check with a consultant before buying.
In addition, the brightness of the glow depends on the number of lumens (the more, the better).
The Raylab RL-0518 Kit ring LED illuminator has 416 SMD LEDs with a CRI95+ color rendering index and a maximum luminous flux of 4800 lumens.
Now for shooting Tik-Tok, YouTube and Instagram often use ring lights with RGB LEDs. With a wide color palette and the ability to create a shimmer, shine or transition effect, they allow you to create a creative backdrop for a photo or video.
For example, the FST RL-48RGB has 108 RGB LEDs with multiple modes (color wheel, emergency, SOS, TV, fire) to create a spectacular backdrop.
Color temperature, measured in kelvins (K), greatly affects the aesthetics of a photo or video. The room you are in, the clothes you wear and your skin tone can look different depending on the color temperature of the light.
- warm — the color temperature range is 2000–3000 K, usually such lighting is in houses and restaurants, in the photo you can create the effect of sunset or dawn;
- cold — 4500–6500 K, corresponds to the lighting of shopping centers and boutiques;
- neutral — 3100–4500 K, minimal color distortion, close to natural light on a sunny day.
For example, if the light is set too warm, a person’s skin may look orange, if it is too cold, lifeless, painful.
It is better to choose models with multiple color temperature settings, such as Fujimi FJ-BEAUTY. For photographers, this feature plays an important role — when choosing the right temperature, better images are obtained, the base light of which does not need to be further edited in applications.
The presence of a dimmer, like the Falcon Eyes BeautyLight 480 LED, allows you to adjust the power of the lamp glow. If not present, the light level can only be adjusted by moving the lamp farther or closer to the subject.
A ring lamp with a tripod allows you to adjust the height of the glow:
- at the table level — for makeup artists, eyebrow artists, lash makers and reviewers;
- at the level of the head of the model — for bloggers and photographers.
So, when choosing a ring lamp, consider the following points:
1. purpose of use:
- for lash makers, eyebrow artists, make-up artists — models with a power of up to 30 W are suitable;
- for bloggers, tik-tokers and streamers — from 35 W;
- for professional purposes (for example, videographers) — the most powerful models (80–100 W).
2. outdoor use — if you plan to use the light for location shooting or make-up, it is better to take a model powered by a battery or via USB (or a universal model that supports different types of power supply);
3. dimensions of the lamp — it should be convenient for transportation and not interfere with work;
4. quality of LEDs — SMD LEDs will last longer, CRI should be 95+ for accurate color reproduction;
5. the possibility of remote control, setting the power of the glow, adjusting the color temperature, the presence of a tripod in the kit.