Have you ever wondered how these beautifully lit portraits on Instagram are actually taken ? how a miniature product is lit so perfectly ? how your colleague looks so nice even on that crapy laptop camera ? .. the answer is ring light and more specifically a mini ring light !
Lets understand a bit more about ring lights and especially the mini ring light. We can use a mini ringlight in different situation for creative work and we will see all of these in this post.
What is a ring light ?
Have you ever wondered how the majority of the stunning photographs and videos on social media are lit? A lot of it has to do with a piece of gear that’s becoming more popular: the ring light.
It produces an equal exposure, allowing content providers to produce high-quality video or still photographs without spending thousands of dollars!
A ring light is an extremely bright circular source of light. It is often used in video and photography to provide an even, uniform lighting. The ring light is usually made from a single circular fluorescent bulb or several connected small LED lights that form the shape of a circle.
The Ring light produces bright even light on the face of the subject and also produces catchlight in the eye on most occasions.
Ring light is so popular because it’s incredibly versatile and can be used for multiple purposes . You can read our post on ring light vs softbox to understand the difference and select your first light.
What is a mini ring light ?
A mini ring light is exactly same as a standard ring light but a lot smaller in diameter. A regular size ring light can be 12 to 18 inch in diameter. Any diameter smaller than 9 inches is considered as a mini ring light.
Typical size of a mini ring light is around 6 inches. It can still produce the same bright , uniform ,overall front on light effect but in a compact package. Of course due to smaller size the light is not as powerful as a regular ring light.
Where can we use a mini ring light ?
You may wonder what is the use of such a mini ring light ? what can it lit ? .. well there are many applications for use of a mini ring light. Below are some of the places where one can use mini ring light
- Conference calls
- Zoom meetings
- Quick Make up
- Live streaming
- On-line teaching
- Product photography
- Selfies and portraits
Best mini ring lights to buy in 2022
Here are some of the best ring lights to buy in 2022. You can check out the diameter , basic features and its suitability before making your purchase decision.
Best mini ring light for phone
Here are the best 3 mini ring lights for phone.
Mini ring light for iPhone
Heart shaped ring light
Ring light generally comes in circular shape but in some cases you can also get a heart shape ring light. Though it does not much difference to the actual quality of amount of light, it certainly looks a lot different and adds an element of fun.
Pros and cons of ring light
A ring light provides many great options for any photographer, however we must consider both , the pros and cons of this affordable lighting setup.
Pros of ring light
- Allows you to control harsh shadows: most ring lights are composed of many small LED or fluorescent bulbs, which allows for a bright and even light. Since the light is generally placed front on and the camera is at the center , you do not get any shadows at all.
- Creates strong and bright looking images: An even exposure is created by the use of this kind of lighting setup. The result is a very bright looking image, which is almost flat in low contrast situations.
- Can create catchlight in your subjects eyes : The bright ring light can create some beautiful catch light in the eyes of your subject. Catchlight always brings the subject to life and adds a complete different look to the portrait.
- Lightweight and versatile : Ring lights are generally very light weigh and versatile. They are easy to mount and operate. The learning curve is very small and hence beginners start with this as their first light. Ring lights come in variety of sizes starting from few inch in diameter to a couple of feet. They can be mounted at the front of the camera , a laptop screen or on a separate stand for more professional use.
- Not very expensive : One can get a very decent ring light for just $100 or so, which is great because it allows photographers and videographers on smaller budgets to experiment with different types of lighting.
Cons of ring light
- It’s difficult to alter a catch light in your eye if you don’t want one. : The ring light creates some really bright reflections of the light sources in your eyes. If you’re not a fan of that, it can be tricky to change once you set up your camera and lighting setup.
- It’s a little underpowered. : Ring lights are great for on-the-go work or hobbyists who want to take flattering pictures at events. However, if you want to achieve professional studio-like lighting in your home or office with low ambient light , it’s not the right option for you. They are often weaker than other types of lights and don’t reach far enough to cover a larger area.
- More suitable for smartphones and small cameras. : Ring lights are unique in that they work with a small camera or smartphone. You need the camera at the center of the light to get the best image. This may not be possible with large DSLR or Mirrorless cameras.
- Less direction control over lighting : Ring lights by nature tend to spread their light out words and foreword by design. This means there is less control over where exactly the light falls directly. Hence more often than not the ring light is put in front of the subject or exactly on top of the subject in case of macro or product photography.
- Staring directly into the light can be uncomfortable or distracting : Since the ring light is a circular source of bright lights, it can be uncomfortable to look directly into the middle. This may distract from your work