Everything You Need to Know About Using a Ring Light for Photography

Looking to discover everything you need to know about using a ring light for photography? That’s excellent since that’s exactly what we have for you today! Ring lights are an important part of any photographer’s toolkit. Although they can be a little pricy, they’re key to achieving that “glow” on your subject’s face in a studio shoot.

Wondering what’s so cool about using a ring light for photography? Because they’re shaped like a circle, you can put your lens through the ring light. They eliminate any shadows and glare that would otherwise fall on your subject.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most important things to keep in mind when using a ring light for photography, including all the places to get one to how to put it to use.

Why use a ring light for photography?

Photoshoot Rooms in Philadelphia
Source: Peerspace

Are ring lights new inventions? Not at all, and they certainly we not created for social media, for one thing! Interestingly, ring lights were originally designed in 1952 for dentists to get well-lit shots of patients’ teeth. Back then, manufacturers made classic ring lights with fluorescent tubes. But these days, many ring lights comprise multiple LEDs instead, which allows them to last longer and use less power.

Ring lights are staples in modern photography, especially when it comes to creating content for social media. Since ring lights distribute a soft, even illumination with ease, they make anyone look amazing. You can use them for either continuous or flash photography as well as for YouTube videos.

In addition to glamour shots, you can use ring lights for weddings, headshots, and portraits of all kinds. You can even use a ring flash for macro photography, such as taking close-up photos of flowers, jewelry, and other small objects for commercial projects. They’re a handy, professional option when a traditional lighting setup just isn’t practical.

Follow our 3 simple steps for cinematic interview lighting

Purchasing a ring light

ring light for photography
Source: Peerspace

The type of ring light you purchase will depend on what kind of photos you plan to take. If you’re taking portraits of models in a studio, you may want to get a larger ring light, such as this 18-inch ring light with a six-foot stand. It comes with a 5400K fluorescent bulb that can dim to 20% power, a diffusion cloth, and a gooseneck stand for easy adjustments.

YouTubers and beauty bloggers may prefer a tabletop ring light with a desktop stand and fully dimmable LED bulbs. You can even find ring lights designed for selfies that clip right onto your smartphone. These are the cheapest and most portable options.

If you’re a professional portrait or fashion photographer using a ring light for photography, then you’ll probably want to get a ring light that’s designed for use with a DSLR. This LED ring light attaches right to your lens, making it perfect for on-the-go macro photography.

Remember to factor the cost of replacement bulbs into your purchase. LED lights typically last longer and use less power. Fluorescent bulbs produce more heat and are more likely to break. However, they are more diffuse and provide a slightly different color temperature.

If you’re feeling creative, you can even make your own DIY ring light out of a plastic hose!

And as you can see, ring lights put a truly professional touch on photos and video. They also come in a range of prices, making them superb for newbies and old pros alike. In a sense, they’re similar to scoring the perfect photoshoot location, which Peerspace can also help you with! We’ll go into more depth about the benefits of Peerspace ahead.

Setting up your ring light

Indoor Photoshoot Locations in Miami
Source: Peerspace

Now that you have your ring light and know what you’re going to use it for, it’s time to set it up properly. The most common way to set up a ring light is with your camera inside it, as with the DSLR and smartphone setups described above. With this type of lighting set-up, you’ll use the ring light as your primary light source, aimed directly at your subject.

If you do it right, you’ll end up with a soft, diffused light that illuminates your subject without any of the harsh shadows caused by other lighting sources. Ring lights are beneficial if you want to draw attention to your model’s eyes. But remember, they are known for creating “catch lights” for a reason! Also, ring lights can create distracting shadows in some circumstances. For example, you’ll want to avoid a ring light is if your subject is wearing glasses that reflect the ring light or create unwanted glare.

You can also use a ring light in other ways. Try using it as a hair light above the subject’s head or as a background light to separate them from the backdrop. Because a ring light creates a distinctive circular shape, photographers don’t often use them as a lone light source. Doing so will cause your model’s face to be surrounded by shadows. Most of the time, when using a ring light for photography, you’ll want to use additional studio lights or natural sunlight to eliminate shadows.

What to read next: everything you need to know about soft lighting

Other uses for a ring light

ring light for photography
Source: Peerspace

In addition to portraits, ring lights are also great for product photography. They allow you to highlight the details of an object without casting shadows. Use the gooseneck to point your ring light directly at your table or workspace. You can also use ring lights to take closeups of tattoos, jewelry, eyes, hands, and other body parts or accessories. If you’re a commercial photographer, ring lights literally let you display the products in the best light.

They also help you catch fine details of the human face. In fact, many makeup artists and hairstylists use ring lights when applying makeup since they provide the evenest lighting. Simply set up a round mirror in the center of the ring light where you would ordinarily put the camera lens. Use it to apply your makeup, then swap it out for the camera to take glamour shots for your Instagram page or website.

Ring lights aren’t just for still photographs either. Many YouTubers use ring lights to illuminate their videos. This creates a soft, flattering look that doesn’t require many setups. And as a bonus, it can be used even when natural lighting isn’t available. As you set up your gear, you’ll typically want to have both the light and camera at eye level. But as the shoot progresses, you can experiment with other positions to find the right look.

Flash or continuous?

ring light for photography
Source: Peerspace

One of the great things about using ring lights for photography is that you can use them either as a flash or a continuous light source. Using them as a flash will save you on power. This is especially crucial if you’re shooting outdoors and relying on a battery. But you may have to take several pictures and adjust the lighting multiple times until you get the intensity and diffusion just right.

If you’re using LEDs and aren’t worried about overheating or running out of battery, then you can keep them on continuously. This allows you to make adjustments as you go. You can also ensure every photo you take is perfectly lit, which is crucial for great photography.

Don’t forget to also check out: Rembrandt lighting, what it is and how to use it

How Peerspace can assist your ring light photography

29th Birthday Photoshoot Ideas
Source: Peerspace

Peerspace is the largest online marketplace for hourly venue rentals, with thousands of photo studios and content creation spaces available in cities across North America and beyond. So when you’re looking for a place to practice ring light photography, count on us.

After all, a ring light is only as good as where it’s in use! If you’re getting ready to book a shoot, be sure to check out Peerspace for all of the aesthetically pleasing and equipment-packed studios to bring your vision to life. Plus, bookings take mere moments and you can rent a space for as long as you like. Local creatives like yourself own and operate Peerspace venues, so it’s a way of supporting the creative community, too.

And if you book a Peerspace that doesn’t include a ring light, consult your venue’s friendly local host. Many of them are members of the photography community and can help you get a ring light easily. That way, you can get down to what you need to — creating incredible photographs.

In fact, you’ll notice that many photoshoot locations on our platform come well-equipped with an array of photography gear that you can use as part of your rental. And yes, this means the use of a ring light may be included in a space you book!

Peerspace listings are complete with high-def photos, upfront pricing, reviews from past bookers, and a detailed description and equipment list. So you’ll know ahead of time if the space you book has ring lights on-site or if you need your own.

Discover more of Peerspace’s professional photography resources here.

Which Peerspace venues have ring lights?

ring light for photography
Source: Peerspace

If you want to book a Peerspace venue and practice your ring light setups in a professional setting, you may wonder how to ensure your booking has said lighting. But don’t you worry: we’ll show you how to check and share examples of spaces near you!

First, to book a Peerspace studio with a ring light, go to our homepage and enter “photoshoot” and your location. Then, when the results appear, simply type in “ring light” in the Enter a Keyword box. Bam, that’s all there is to it! Once you do, you’ll discover amazing spaces, just like these:

This is only a petite sampling of the types of spaces available to rent by the hour that include ring lights on Peerspace. Now all you have to do is book your favorites and make some serious magic happen!

Using a ring light for photography: conclusion

Lingerie Photoshoot Ideas
Source: Peerspace

Purchasing a ring light can be a big investment. But it will pay off in the long run by allowing you to take better pictures for your clients or your social media following. Ring lights for smartphones and DSLRs are becoming more affordable than ever, and their portability means you can carry them around with you to shoot in a variety of environments.

Whether you’re taking glamour portraits in a studio or macro shots of flowers and wildlife, adding a ring light to your lighting kit will dramatically improve your lighting options. It’s a must-have tool for amateur and professional photographers alike.

Remember, professional photographers and content creators can also benefit from booking a Peerspace venue for inspiring and practical shoot locations. And you never know, you may find a Peerspace venue that includes ring lights, like some of the venues we showcased in the photos above. The only way to know for sure is to click the link above and start searching!

Find unique photoshoot locations on Peerspace

Get together somewhere better

Book thousands of unique spaces directly from local hosts.

Explore Spaces

Share your space and start earning

Join thousands of hosts renting their space for meetings, events, and photo shoots.

List Your Space