Investing in a ring light can be a game changer for your small business and brand when it comes to taking professional selfies.
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The key to any professional-looking selfie is having quality light. Without enough light, your selfies are going to look fuzzy and blurry. But turning on that overhead light in your office isn’t the answer, because that’s going to cause weird shadows and make your photos a gross orange hue.
While natural light produces beautiful self-portrait photography, you may find that with these darkening winter days, you just don’t have enough of it to get those high-quality snaps you need- or your house is just dark AF, all the time.
That’s where a ring light can save the day!
The best light you can use to get professional selfies is a bright, diffused light that falls evenly across your face. Which is exactly what a ring light does!
Ring lights were originally used by hospitals and dentistry, and they became popular with influencers and small businesses taking selfies and recording videos for social media. They are a lot easier to use- and more affordable- compared to traditional artificial photography studio lighting.
They are a large circular light with a hole in the middle and usually contain LED bulbs. The soft diffused light they produce eliminates sharp shadows and softens harsh textures. They also help reduce the appearance of blemishes, which is great if you’re feeling self-conscious about your skin. This softening effect is why you see them used so much by beauty influencers!
Ring lights come on a stand that you can adjust for height, and you can adjust the angle of the light.
Need a ring light but feel overwhelmed at all the options? I know– there are a LOT of options to choose from! You can find them in a wide range of sizes- from 6” to a whopping 22” (the largest I’ve seen listed so far). I’d suggest buying one of the larger diameters: a larger circle of light is going to surround your face instead of the smaller ones being directed at your face like a tiny little spotlight.
When setting up your ring light, you want your camera or phone to be in the center of the light. And you want the light to be directed at the subject. In the case of self-portrait photography, that’s probably going to be your face!
Most ring lights also pivot and you can adjust the angle. Adjust the height of the stand so that the light is pointed level with where you want the light directed, or it’s slightly higher and pointed down. Make sure that it’s not lower than your face and pointed up, to avoid that whole “flashlight under the chin at a campfire” look.
Many ring lights have an attachment so you can mount your phone in the center of the ring light, but I will often will use an additional tripod for my phone or camera.
Determining how far away your light should be, and how bright it should be, is going to take some experimenting. And, it’s going to be different for everyone!
The more expensive ring lights will have a digital display and buttons to adjust the brightness, and lower cost lights will have a manual knob to turn.
When choosing a brightness, it’s important to consider how light interacts with your skin color.
Light reflects off lighter skin tones, so you may need to place your light father away or turn the intensity down so you don’t look shiny. If you’re one to wear makeup, consider doing an extra layer of matte powder so you can avoid looking like you’re oily.
By comparison, light is absorbed by darker skin tones. So, with darker skin tones, you need a brighter setting on your ring light or, bring your light closer. If you have darker skin and wear makeup, chose a powder that is more reflective.
If you have glasses, having that light right in front of you won’t work, because you’ll get a glare on your lenses. Same with getting that little “ring” reflection in your eyeballs.
If you’re struggling with this, you have a few options. You can raise the light higher than eye level, and then angle it down, so the light isn’t hitting your glasses straight on. Or, get a second light and set them at 45-degree angles from you.
Not all ring lights have the option, but you may have noticed you have a K setting on your ring light. This stands for Kelvin, the temperature in light is measured. Choosing the right temperature is a great way to take a more professional selfie.
In general, If you have darker skin tones a warmer temperature (so a lower number) will look best. By comparison, if you have lighter skin tones, a cooler temperature (so a higher number) is the best choice.
Usually, ring lights are used by pointing directly at the subject, making your face evenly lite with no shadows. However, if you want to mimic standing near a window, try setting it to the side of you, but face straight ahead. This will create some shadows on your face, giving the look that you’re standing next to a window in natural light.
Depending on the mood you’re trying to achieve, these shadows can add a bit more interest to your professional selfies.
I will often use a ring light to supplement the natural light I have coming in from the window and place it directly in front of the window glass, so I can mimic a brighter day.
Investing in a ring light is one more tool in your photography toolbox for taking quality images and professional self-portraits. Remember, the right lighting not only transforms your selfies but also boosts your confidence! So, invest in quality equipment, experiment with angles and brightness, and let your creativity shine. With these expert tips, you’re well on your way to snapping the perfect professional selfie every time!