What is Ring Lighting for Photography?

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As we all know lighting is a major part of photography, a simple lighting tool that is commonly used for beauty shots, portraits, and macro photography is the ring light. It features several small LED bulbs forming a circle or just one circular fluorescent bulb. When used in photography, it emits even, diffused lighting that helps eliminate shadows, and it creates an attractive catch light on a subject’s eyes. You can position this light in front of the subject, with the camera situated in the middle of the ring. Smaller ring lights can also be mounted on the camera lens for macro photography.

What is A Ring Light?

A ring light is a flash mounted in a large circle. There is a hollow circle in the center where the camera lens is held to attain maximum light from the ring. It can flash or be continuous and is generally made up of rows of LED lights that form one large ring.

The sizes can vary. Small ones can fit around your lens, while large ones may need their weighted stand. It can be used as an off-camera flash. Most often, they are used in studio settings. But you can easily use the smaller ones outdoors and on location as well!

It was developed in 1952 for medical/dental reasons. Therefore, the actual purpose was to take dental pictures but then its use extended to include many genders of photography.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

What photography genders can benefit from ring light?

  • Portrait Photography

The most appealing benefit to using an LED ring light is that it helps to eliminate harsh shadows and provide soft, even lighting on your subject’s face. That is why ring lights are popular in portrait photography. In addition to common studio lighting, a professional photographer or videographer may use a ring light to ensure their subject’s face is evenly lit with a pleasing, soft light.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Photo by Janko Ferlic from Pexels

  • Fashion Photography

Ring flashes and continuous ring lights are popular among fashion portrait photographers. The circular lights are placed around the camera lens to reduce shadows and create interestingly shaped catchlights in a model’s eyes. Fashion and beauty photography uses ring lights very often.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Photo by Axel Naud

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

  • Macro photography

Ring light is used largely with macro photography because it eliminates shadows, and lets you no longer have to worry about creating any distracting shadows, as you get closer to the subject.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Photo by Michael Willinger from Pexels

  • Food photography

When using a ring light in food photography, you bring in a large light source that evenly lights the subject, providing a reliable light source with some great results.

While shooting with one light can be someone limiting, it can still give great results for things like food and other still-life objects. s.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

  • Product photography

A ring light can be used for product photography because you can set the light up at a certain distance away from the products and achieve beautiful lighting that matches up on every shot.

Putting your camera right in the center of the lighting ring will eliminate any possibility of glare or shadows appearing. A ring light will expose every part of the product you are photographing while still separating it from its background. This naturally softens the image and makes the product stand out.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Photo by Fernando Arcos from Pexels

  • Smartphone photography

Most people now have an incredibly powerful and high-quality camera built-in into their phones and use it for anything from capturing wonderful views on their travels to making sure to get the best selfie possible.

LED ring lights are an increasingly common photography accessory. Some selfie ring lights attach directly to your smartphone. Other ring light kits may include a tripod stand, a gooseneck, and a charger in addition to the LED ring light itself. Even the best phone camera can struggle in low or dim lighting conditions, especially the front-facing camera which you usually use for selfies. Ring lights for smartphones add light. This helps to improve the already outstanding images you can take with your phone

  • Makeup Application

Since most ring lights can produce a daylight color rating of 54000k, this source of light is perfect for makeup application especially on an overcast day or when natural light is not available.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Photo by Adi Coco on Unsplash

How To Use a Ring Light?

The traditional way of using a ring light is to use it around the camera lens to capture the focus in the eyes. Nevertheless, you can use it as any light source from any side of your subject. If you manage to place your light properly, you can get unique results. However, most photographers like using it the traditional way. High-end ring lights give you the ability to shoot under low ISO conditions and longer focal distances. They can greatly reduce your post-processing time.

What should you look for when choosing Ring Light?

Before you buy a ring light, you need to consider the factors below:

  • Cost

If you plan to use them occasionally, consider getting a model at a lower price point.

If your specialty is portraiture, product, or food photography, you may consider a bigger investment for heavier use.

  • Build quality and durability

Consider your intended use of the ring light; if you work in a studio, your gear most likely does not take too tough of a beating. However, if you work on location and often stuff your gear into a backpack or case, sturdier gear will be a better investment for you to withstand all the handling.

  • Portability

Many photographers need to travel long distances to reach the locations for their shooting schedules. It’s always better to buy ring lights that are lighter in weight and less bulky. Buying huge setups and then not being able to carry them around for your photo shoot is not a wise investment.

  • Running cost

Make sure you check the availability of its replaceable bulbs.

  • Light Settings

Being able to adjust the light intensity is vital. Before purchase, check whether you can adjust the light strength. Make sure it has enough adjustments to offer you the flexibility you’ll need. Buy a ring light that gives you a wide range of aperture settings to work with so that you can take amazing shots while using ring lights.

It is also important to check the temperature of the produced light, and if there are options for adjusting that. In some situations, you might require warmer or cooler lights than usual. Having a color temperature dial on the ring light will make your white balance post-processing much easier.

My recommended List

The following is my recommended list of ring lights for cameras and smartphones.

YO-GOGO 22″ large professional ring light kit

22″(55cm) Dimmable LED ring light, with a wide dimming range from 1%-100% so that you can adjust the light brightness easily. Adjust the color temperature button, and change the white light to warm light in seconds, no need orange filter anymore.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Product Highlights

  • Light source: 600 pcs LED beads
  • Outer Diameter: 22 inches/55cm
  • Dimmable: Yes
  • Color temperature: 3000K~6500K
  • Dimming method: Promise dimming
  • Weight: about 2400G

Emart 18-inch Ring Light with Stand

Adjustable 3200-5500K LED Lights Ring with Ultra-wide Lighting Area for Camera Photography, YouTube Videos, and Makeup (Kit: Phone Holder, Remote, Soft Tube, etc.)

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Product Highlights

  • 18-inch ring light with multiple variants of lighting (ranging from 3200K to 5500K color temperature without changing the color filter, 10%-100% brightness adjustable. The built-in LCD display shows the situation of brightness and color temperature.
  • The kit includes: 1 x 18-inch LED Ring Light, 1 x Ring Light Stand, 1 x Soft Tube, 1 x Ball Head, 1 x Cell Phone Clip Holder, 1 x Bluetooth Shutter Remote, 1 x IR Remote Control, 1 x Power Adapter / 12 Months warranty for manufacturing defects.
  • Special LED SMD design and 480 pcs LED beads, perfect for many uses, portraits, products, pets, and videos. The ring light tripod, aluminum alloy construction for stabilizing the makeup ring light, height adjustable: min 33 inches to max 70 inches.
  • Change the color temperature and brightness adjustment is accessible from the included remote control. Especially the color temperature, it does not require changing filters like some other ring lights.
  • Easy to set up and useful whether indoors or outdoors photography. Two power supply methods, power adapter, and battery. The battery slot is compatible with the camera battery NP-F550 / F570 series, which can be used outdoors making it completely great for traveling!

Neewer Ring Light Kit:

18″/48cm Outer 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light, Light Stand, Carrying Bag for Camera, Smartphone, YouTube, TikTok, Self-Portrait Shooting, Black.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Product highlights

  • Kit includes: (1)18″/48cm Outer 55W 5500K LED Ring Light+(1)61″/155cm Light Stand+(1)Soft Tube+(1)White and Orange Color Filter Set+(1)Ball Head Hot Shoe Adapter+(1)Universal Power Adapter with Plug+(1)Smart Phone Holder+(1)Carrying Bag for Ring Light
  • Dimmable 18″/48cm Outer 55W 5500K 240 Pieces LED bulbs with a wide dimming range from 1%-100%. Special LED SMD design, lightweight and portable
  • 61″/155cm light stand is constructed from aluminum alloy, giving it exceptional strength; the soft tube Makes the light rotate freely for the best position. White and orange color filters are made of high-light transmission plastic material with a steady color temperature
  • A hot-shoe adapter is compatible with most DSLR cameras and a smartphone holder for most smartphones (iPhone 8 Plus/8/X/7/6, Samsung Galaxy S9/S8, Huawei, etc. ).

Ring Light 18 Inch with Tripod Stand and Carrying Bag

with Tripod Stand Phone Holder Ball Head Dimmable 3000-6000K Ringlight for Live Streaming YouTube Vlog Video Shooting Camera Photography Makeup Selfies.

Product highlights

  • 18-inch Ring Light can be controlled via the knob on the ring light as well as an IR remote control when you need to adjust it far away. The Step-less adjustment makes color temperature and brightness change super easy and quick. Adjust the color temperature from 3000K to 6000K easily without using color filters and the ring light have a wide brightness dimming range from 10%-100%. Cold white, white, or warm white is easily switched on your hand.
  • The Tripod Stand is constructed from aluminum alloy, giving it exceptional strength. It’s adjustable from 17″ to 65.4″ with four screw knobs. The legs are upward, so please unfold the legs upside down when you assemble them. The circle ring light can also be rotated 180 degrees to adjust the illumination angle. Perfect for makeup and doing eyelashes etc.
  • 120 pcs 1W LEDs make GLOUE 18’’ LED Right Light much brighter and has a better performance as a fill-in light. No light spot, no flicker but looks more natural. The Built-in AC power adapter is superior in performance and long-lasting in service life. The designed hollow-out ventilation is for better heat dissipation and lower lumen depreciation.
  • It comes with a ball head and a smartphone holder which is compatible with most smartphone models. You can change your cell phone horizontally or vertically at any angle according to your needs. You can also use a camera to take videos or Vlogging. With Bluetooth remote control, you’re free to take pictures.
  • It is suitable for selfies, lighting, fashion, advertisement photography, makeup, YouTube videos, portrait photography, live streaming, etc.


Recommendation for macro

Neewer 48 Macro LED Ring Flash Bundle

With LCD Display Power Control, Adapter Rings, and Flash Diffusers for:

Canon 650D, 600D,  550D, 70D, 60D, 5D

Nikon D5000, D3000, D5100, D3100, D7000, D7100, D800, D800E, D60

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Product highlights

  • This RF-550D Marco LED Ring Flash is specially designed to use in the field of macro shot, scientific research, and medical and personal photography in very close distance shooting.
  • It can provide continuous and stable semi-light or full light to meet higher photograph needs.
  • Consists of 48 pieces of LED, higher luminance, and lower static power consumption.
  • For any model of NIKON or Canon, brand DSLR. Will Fit 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77mm Lenses.

Recommendations for smartphone

UBeesize 10″ Selfie Ring Light

With 50″ Extendable Tripod Stand and flexible Phone Holder for Live streaming/Makeup/YouTube Video.

What is Ring Lighting for Photography

Product highlights

  • UBeesize 10″ Ring Light features 3 light colors (Warm, Cool White, Daylight) and 11 levels of brightness in each color, 33 options in total. You can choose any option in between if there’s a perfect setting.
  • Extending from 15″ to 50″, and tripod legs unfold up to 30″ wide, the stable tripod can be adjusted to any height within as needed, short enough to stand on a tabletop, tall enough to fit your height.
  • 3-way pan head with a convenient handle allows for tilt and swivel motion; portrait or landscape options. Making it easy to target the ring light to your subject at any angle, It perfect for live streaming, video calling, flat lay, taking selfies, or more.
  • It comes with a Bluetooth remote, so you don’t even need to touch your cellphone to start the video or selfie.

Auxiwa Clip on Selfie Ring Light

Rechargeable Battery, with 36 LED for Smart Phone Camera Round Shape, White

What is Ring Lighting for Photography


Product highlights

  • This little light is all about making your selfies the best! The light gives soft illumination without harsh light. It is like having a professional studio photographer whenever you feel the sudden urge to selfie. Just clip it on your phone and you are on your way.
  • Multi Usage: You can make videos at night or take great selfies in dark areas; you can use it with your rear camera to have high-fidelity photos; you can also use it as a torch, emergency light, making up light, and even more!

Related posts

Photography Lighting Techniques – Portrait Lighting Setup

Best Flash For Macro Photography

Macro Photography Tips And Tricks – Guidelines & Examples


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  • I am not a professional photographer and I do not have too much knowledge about photography but today everyone is looking for professional photography in everyday life duo to the pressure of social networks. The post is great, great tips for both pictures and equipement. I will be very happy to apply the tips.

  • Hi @Amin

    It was very interesting reading through your article. Ring lighting for photography has really changed how professional photography is done nowadays as it finds wide applications even when shooting professional videos. I love how you explained how ring lighting is used in studios and how models thrive with them even when applying their make-ups. It’s also very helpful that you’ve reviewed some of the ring lighting models available in the market. This is great and helps a lot in making a buying decision, man.

    Thanks for sharing this! I will definitely share with my friends.



  • I like the idea of a ring light for a starter user as they’re more budget-friendly, portable, and generally easy to use. I’ve also been looking at a few light stands.

    How would you compare these more portable ring lights to actual light stands? Could some macro stuff still be accomplished with a beefier stand?

    • Thanks for the comment, It depends on the situation, If you work most of the time in the studio, you should consider a rigid stand. 

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