11 Tips for Selfie and Beauty Photography with Ring Light
Michael • updated November 5, 2022 • 6 min read
Michael • updated November 5, 2022 • 6 min read
It’s easy to take a selfie, but the picture isn’t always good: the first wrinkles show up, dark circles under the eyes show that you didn’t get enough sleep, and the nose looks too big.
Helpful is a ringlight. You just put a ring light on the lens of your camera or phone. It makes sure that the face is evenly lit and also gives the photo a mysterious ring around the eyes.
You can make light like this with simple tools. You’ll find out how to build a ring light and what you need to know about how it works.
When hard light, which is light from a single point, falls on a face from the side, wrinkles and other flaws in the skin stand out more. Because of the shadow and the big differences in brightness, the features of the face look sharp. If you like to get the most our of your photos, read about the best makeup for photos.
Portraits are usually taken with sources of soft light. Light troughs, for example, give off a soft light. These are the white lamps with fabric covers that most photo studios have. Before posting your portrait, get inspired by our portrait quotes for online posts.
To make your model’s face look flat, shine a soft light on it from the front, or in the direction of the camera. With this method, you can already soften the sharp contrasts in your model’s face. We have a special articles on how to photography faces!
More light from other directions can help get rid of even more shadows. One of these lights is a ring light. It lights up things and faces in a ring shape from all sides and doesn’t cast any shadows. It evens out small differences and makes people look younger this way. We’ve written extensively about the best hairstyles pictures and and how they can improve your portrait photography.
A ring light is easy to make and doesn’t require many tools. This can be done with just a single light point that is put in a circle.
In the next few sections, you’ll learn how to make ring lights out of a Christmas chain, construction site lamps, or lamps and sockets on an MDF board.
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A ring light can be made from a string of Christmas tree lights that you may still have in the basement or attic. In particular, small lights are easy to change into this kind of ring light. It’s very easy to put together:
When building, it’s important to always make a shape that lights up the face around the lens from all sides. In general, the smaller the ring, the better you can light up the face of your model.
To use the ring light, put it between the camera and the thing you want to photograph. Hold your ring light away from you and take a selfie through it if you want to take a picture of yourself.
Your hand with the phone will be behind the ring light. If your hand or phone goes through the ring, you won’t get the special circle effect in your pupils.
In the same way that fairy lights can be used for building, light tubes can also be used. LED strips, on the other hand, are not good for use as ring lights.
They can be bent, but then they shine out or in from the ring, not in your direction or toward your model.
Work lights for construction sites are called stick lights or rod lights. They usually have a hook or eye for hanging the lamp. Because of this, they are also good for making a ring light. You can get stick lights with either LED bulbs or fluorescent tubes.
When you buy a stick light, pay attention to the color temperature of the light. Warm light that looks almost orange or light yellow makes faces look healthier.
At 2,700 Kelvin, this is the case. Because the color temperatures of lamps are different, the light they give off is also different.
The differences in color aren’t always easy to see with the naked eye, but the camera makes the colors stand out. So, for a ring light, you should always use lamps with the same color temperature.
To make a ring light, just connect three or four-rod lights with a wire or a package cord to make a triangle or square. You can now add this to the main theme. A selfie stick can help you take a picture of yourself.
With it, all you have to do is put yourself in a good position and take a picture. Hold the lights in front of your face and include them in the photo.
Learn how portraits with common light sources can improve your photography.
The color temperature shows what color a light source looks like. It’s written down in Kelvin (K). The scale is the same as the standard °C scale plus 273.15. The body glows orange at a temperature of 1,500 K, which is about 1,230 °C.
This color is also the light from a candle. At 5,500 to 5,800 K, platinum and titanium shine white, just like the midday sun. A regular incandescent light shines at 2,700 K, a halogen light at 3,000 to 3,200 K, and a neutral-white fluorescent tube at 4,000 K.
Most of the time, the eye can’t tell the difference between these different color impressions because the eyes quickly get used to the light around them. But the camera makes the colors stand out more.
Smartphones and digital cameras usually set the color temperature on their own. For ring light portraits, it’s a good idea to play around with the settings or change the white balance by hand.
You can usually find these settings in the menu of an DSLR or compact camera. You can get apps for your smartphone that do the same thing. Not shure which lens to use, we recommend to give a read about what is a 35mm lens good for.
Build a ring light with standard E14 lamps if you want to use it not only for smartphone selfies but also for your DSLR camera. This is stronger than the ring lights that were just talked about.
For this, you need an MDF board (which stands for “medium density fiberboard”), at least five lighting sockets, and lighting cables, which are also called “flat cables.” Make sure you use lamps with low brightness. If the light is too bright, you or your model might not be able to see into the camera.
Battery-powered LED spots are a good choice if there isn’t a power outlet nearby or if you want to take pictures with a ring light on the go.
If you want to use them as a ring light, you need at least five of them, because that’s how many spots make it look like a circle.
For example, you could glue the lights in a circle on a piece of corrugated cardboard and cut a hole for the lens in the middle. You should also make sure that the color temperature is the same and warm.
Tip: You can use a bike light, a flashlight, a bedside lamp that folds up, and many other things as a ring light. Here, too, undesirable color impressions can arise due to different color temperatures.
If the color differences bother you, just switch to the black-and-white mode or change the image on the computer to black-and-white later.
Bright colors are especially inviting for trying new things. With a colored ring light, you can make points of light appear in the pupils of your models, just like you can with LED candles and pop-up lights.
Use colored lights on strings or in tubes for this. You can also add colorful strips of parchment paper to a ring light, whether you make it yourself or buy one. Keep the following in mind, though:
If there are a lot of bright colors around, the face may also look bright. So, your ring light or the light around you should have a lot of white light, and the colored light should just stand out. Why not combine a colored rope light with a single-color string of lights? You can also combine a LED string with real candlelight for your portraits.
Do you not feel like tinkering? Then buy a ring light that is already made. You can get them for smartphones for not too much money. There are professional ring lights and ring flashes for photographers who want to be their own boss and run their own studio.
In general, you don’t have to choose a ring light that matches your phone. You can get simple ring lights for less than $10. A battery-powered light like this can be attached to any cell phone. You can get a light with a USB cable that charges its battery for $15..
Any camera with a sync socket can use a ring flash for a DSLR camera. You put it on the lens and use a sync cable to connect it to your camera. But this cable needs to work with the DSLR camera. If you are not sure about modern cameras , read about DSLR or mirrorless system camera for your portrait photography
The least expensive flashes cost about $25, while a professional ring flash costs about $100. Ring flashes are better than continuous flashes because they use less power and shine much brighter. So you can take pictures with more depth of field and more sensitivity.
More info about ringlights:
A ring light is an easy way to make portraits that look great. There are no shadows in the pictures, and the pupils have an interesting ring effect. For example, if you take a selfie every day, you only need a simple clip-on light made for smartphones, which you can get for cheap.
You can also use Christmas lights, flashlights, LED spotlights, or work lights as ring lights with a little experimentation.
As an amateur photographer or hobbyist, you can also easily make your own ring light with a few things from the hardware store. No matter which ring light you choose, you can try new things and be creative. If you still have your struggles with artificial lighting, read our guide on how to outdoor portrait photography with natural light.
Keep reading: How to Photography Faces »
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