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What’s a ring light?

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by David Em
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A ring light is a multi-purpose lighting tool that reduces shadows and provides even light. It’s also known as a halo light.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Close-up of a ring light.

Purpose of a ring light

The ring light is a beneficial artificial lighting tool that you need to use to create stunning portraits. Lighting can make or break your photo. When it comes to portraits, catchlights are needed in your subject’s eyes.

Ring lights are effective at reflecting light in your subject’s eyes. It’ll appear as a circle of light, which is aesthetically pleasing.

Related: Rembrandt lighting: What it is and how to use it

It’s also a great way to distribute light evenly on your subject’s face. When a ring light is placed in front, it creates an even light without shadows. This will help you capture perfect exposure.

Another benefit of the ring light is the soft light. This is especially important when you’re shooting headshots or close-ups because you’ll be able to capture all of the details without distracting shadows.

Color temperature

Often, ring lights will allow you to adjust the color temperature. It’s important to understand color temperature because it’ll alter the entire image.

The color of a light source is measured in Kelvin. Higher numbers result in a colder image, whereas lower numbers result in a warm image.

Note: Cold images refer to cold colors such as blue. Warm images refer to warm colors, such as yellow.

When you make adjustments to the color temperature, understand that it’ll affect how your subject looks and their skin tone.

Related article: How to use diagonal lines in photography

Recommended ring lights

Before buying a ring light, remember to consider power and size. Larger lights are better because it does a better job at creating catchlights. If you’re shooting a close-up, you can get away with using a smaller light.

The following are the best options:

Note: If you had to choose one brand, go with Neewer because they make high-quality ring lights.

Conclusion

The main purpose of the ring light is to provide an even light onto your subject’s face. It reduces shadows, creates catchlight in their eyes, and minimizes blemishes. It’s perfect for portraits of a single person.

More resources:

Featured photo courtesy of Adorama.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and helpful advice to grow your photography business.

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