They seem to be everywhere. From TikTok, to YouTube, to your 10:30 am team meeting. Ring lights suddenly appeared everywhere over the past couple of years. If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably found yourself searching for one as well! (More on that later.) But one question we get from customers a lot here is: Why? What is it about these ring lights that made everyone suddenly decide that this is the must-have, go-to tool for Snapchat? Below, I’ll quickly break down some of the pros and cons of why even your neighbors dog just picked up a ring light for his TikTok.
Ring Lights: The Pros
It’s An Easy Solution
Lighting can get really complicated, really fast. Whether you’re lighting a full scale studio or just the desk in your home office, many people quickly realize that achieving that perfect look with their lighting isn’t that easy. That leads us to the first thing that makes a ring light so appealing: It’s an easy solution that’s ready to go right out of the box.
Instead of setting up multiple lights and positioning them just right, you can get a clean, even look by setting up just a single light. There’s really nothing to figure out about positioning. Since a ring light is designed to go around the lens of you camera, the position will be the same 99% of the time: right in front of you. Turn it on, and you’re ready to shoot. Easy.
They Look Great!
Whoever it was that came up with the idea for the LED ring light as it exists today was pretty smart, but not entirely original. Ring lights are just a different take on an old lighting concept: the makeup mirror. This idea has been used in studio dressing rooms for decades to provide flattering, soft light while doing hair and makeup. When fluorescent light bulbs showed up, someone had a great idea to shrink the idea onto a small mirror for at home use. When LEDs became the norm, this became even easier and more affordable. Then, the real lightbulb moment (ha) came: replace the mirror with a camera lens and viola! The ring light was born!
The real magic of why ring lights provide such a great look has to do with shadows. Many times, shadows are used to provide a certain desired effect in lighting, but when it comes to lighting a persons face, shadows are typically your enemy, not your friend. Ring lights “wrap” the subjects face in light, eliminating almost all shadows while at the same time providing very even lighting without any hotspots (glare). The result is the same that you’d get in front of a studio makeup mirror, except on camera!
They’re Relatively Inexpensive
Simply stated: lighting can be expensive. There are so many different kinds of lights with different features and functions, that choosing the right lights can get confusing, and pricey! One of the really great things about ring lights is that they don’t really cost a lot. You already know that you only need one, and you already know that the look is specifically design to provide flattering lighting for a single subject on camera. So really, everything you need to know is upfront. Ring lights are incredibly budget friendly, and when it comes to lighting for your YouTube channel or lighting for your Zoom meetings, it can be a quick, inexpensive solution.
Ring Lights: The Cons
“The Ring Light Look”
Like I mentioned before: ring lights are everywhere. And while they provide a flattering result, they definitely provide a very unique look that recently has been referred to as “the ring light look”.
What does this look like? First you’re likely to see a reflection of the ring light fixture itself on the subjects eyes. It’s not the worst thing, but we’ve received many calls from people using ring lights specifically asking how to get rid of it. The effect is even more pronounced on people who wear glasses. If you want to learn more on that topic, there are several YouTube videos of people sharing their tips for minimizing this side-effect.
Second has to do with the way that ring lights are used. Since ring lights are placed around the lens of the phone or camera, the subject ends up positioned very close to the light itself. While this provides that even, soft lighting that I mentioned earlier, some people also think that it just looks like you’re stuffing your face in a box of lightbulbs. This can usually be mitigated by simply turning down the dimmer on the ring light or by adjusting the exposure settings on your camera.
It Isn’t Always A Seamless Fit…
Do you use Zoom for work? Do you use a laptop for your Zoom meetings? Do you use the camera on your laptop? Ok so where does your ring light go? I’ve been asked many, many….many times by customers how to set up their brand new ring light to use with their computers. After all, a ring light is designed to have the camera lens / phone / tablet / etc. fit in the center of the ring. Since you can’t really do this with a 15″ laptop or a desktop computer, you might think that a ring light might not be the right choice for you. Really though, this isn’t that big of a deal. Dracast ring lights come with a stand that can easily be setup for use with computers.
There are SO MANY CHOICES!
Have you seen that ring light yet that costs $8? Neither have I, but I’m guessing that by the time you read this it will exist. Googling “LED ring light” will turn up literally hundreds of results from brands you’ve never heard of on Amazon…and they all look the same.
But here’s the thing you already know: they’re not. Like everything from flat screen tv’s to cars, there are big differences in things that otherwise look very similar. This. Is. The. Single hardest part of deciding on a ring light. It’s not really “If”, it’s “Which”. If you’ve made it this far in this article let me tell you this much: you’re not going to go wrong with purchasing a ring light. The problem becomes how to make your decision on which one.
Dracast ring lights are built to a higher quality standard than most of the other lights you’ll find Googling. Dracast lights have been around for over 10 years, and many of the lights that we shipped in year one are still be used today. Draco Broadcast has offices in both California, New Jersey, and Germany. Plus we have a customer service team dedicated to ensuring that our customers receive the best products and the best product support. Care to test it? Call 856-324-2892 and then select a department. A real person will pick up the phone.
If You Still Have Questions
You can chat with us, right here on our website, by clicking the “Chat Now!” button on your screen. Or you can email us here or call our office at 856-324-2892. We’re always happy to help.
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