Have You Ever Been Interested In Using A Ring Light?
Every day you come across professional charismatic photographs. Do you ever wonder what techniques are used in taking such amazing, jaw-dropping pictures? Many fashion photographers use a ring light and even if you have never seen one, you have definitely seen a photograph taken by using it in one of your daily fashion magazines.
The ring light gives a characteristic extra emphasis to the subject’s face and eyes to create a beautiful picture. Many people know this about the ring lights, but they don’t know that when you use a ring light, it can actually remove the hard shadows from the subject’s background making the pictures look more lively and vivid.
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What’s A Ring Light?
If you want a very simple explanation, then a ring light is basically a ring flash mounted in a large circle. There’s a hollow circle in the center where the camera lens is held to attain maximum light from the ring light. It was developed by Lester A. Dine in 1952 for medical/dental reasons. So, the actual purpose was to take dental pictures but then the area of its use widened to fashion photography. Nowadays, the ring light is available in 3 sizes. One is the small medical ring light to fit in front of the camera. The other two are used in the fashion industry and have a 9-inch diameter and a 12-inch diameter respectively.
Traditionally, ring lights used to come in heavy and bulky setups but recently, they are becoming more and more practical.
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Before you buy a ring light, you need to consider the factors below:
- Cost. This is the first factor that comes to your mind when you think of getting a step ahead in your photography business or hobby by buying ring lights. Buying a ring light used to be very expensive in the past and that was the main reason why most photographers having small businesses avoided it. But nowadays, you can get a quality ring light for as low as $100.
- Bulkiness. 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 shooting is not a wise investment.
- Aftercare Expenses. When you buy any particular product, make sure you check the availability of its maintenance parts. In the case of ring lights, checking the price of its replaceable bulbs would be a smart thing to do. Moreover, check the durability and quality of the product and don’t just buy a cheap product with inferior quality. Same thing goes for buying an expensive ring light.Don’t think that just because it’s expensive, it’s better than the other options. There is usually no co-relation and it is better to research well and settle for a middle option.
- Material Durability. Don’t buy a cheap ring light made of inferior materials like plastics. Such ring lights are not durable and will cost you more in the future.
- Chromatic Aberration. Some ring lights when used on axis make errors like chromatic aberration appear in the pictures. So, you will have to spend long hours of your useful time on the computer using Photoshop or Lightroom to rectify such errors. Check the ring light’s customer reviews and do some research on the manufacturer before you buy it.
- Light Intensity Settings. What’s the use of a ring light if you cannot shoot at low ISO settings or you are limited when working with large apertures because of the light output? Buy a ring light that gives you a wide range of aperture settings to work with so that you can take your dream shots while using ring lights.
- Accessories Required. Some of the ring lights can be wall-mounted but most of them have to be put on a tripod light stand which can be heavy. Some ring lights come with in-built lightweight stands, and it would be a good idea to buy these ring light types so you can save extra money that you would have to spend on buying the accessories.
- Advanced Features. Some ring lights come with bendable arms. You can try and do different tricks using your ring light photography skills. Advanced features provide you with innumerable options as the ring light will not be mounted to your camera anymore and are supposed to be used in a way.
These are some of the features that you should look out for when choosing what ring light to buy. Using these ring flashes, you will have a journey in the mystical world of spectacular photography where you can capture every detail in your picture with complete sharpness.
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How To Use a Ring Light?
The correct way to use a ring light as your primary light source is to put the ring light around the camera lens to capture the focus in the eyes. But if you are feeling experimental, try using a ring flash from the side. If you place your ring light properly, you can get unique results for your portrait photography. However, most photographers like using it the traditional way.
It’s better to learn by using it in a traditional way before you start experimenting with the light. When you use these ring flashes as light sources, you often need to use tripod stands but because they are heavy, you can also have them mounted on the wall. High end lights give you the ability to shoot under low ISO conditions and longer focal distances.
Such ring lights prevent any distortion on the final image, reducing your post-processing time. That’s why you need to buy products that save you time in the long run. Evaluate the time you have and determine how much time you have for editing vs. the budget you have for your equipment, in order to make the best decision on which ring light is right for you.
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