Although cameras (on smartphones or otherwise) have vastly improved over the last decade, the best ring lights can significantly boost the quality of your photos. Since the correct lighting can make or break a picture, many have begun gravitating toward ring lights as simple, convenient ways to get the most professional-looking results. The best options not only provide uniform lighting for your subject, but also reduce the appearance of unwanted shadows, emphasize details, and even create certain color effects.
First, pinpoint your needs in terms of the light's intended use. Are you looking to take the best possible selfies, or are you planning on photographing people or products for professional purposes? Some might even be looking to illuminate their space while recording videos for vlogs or YouTube channels. Note that ring lights come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, ranging from models that clip onto a smartphone to large studio versions that can be used for major projects and photo-shoots. If you're using your ring light to take selfies with your smartphone, tablet, or DSLR camera, a smaller one will likely do the trick — but be sure to find one that clips onto your device, includes a mount, or is large enough for the device to fit inside. For videos or professional shoots, opt for a bigger choice with brighter capabilities.
The best ring lights on the market are also highly-customizable in terms of how they can be angled and brightened. An option with a dimmer will allow you to adjust the lighting to suit your subject. Some lights even offer accessories that help you take better photos — like an adjustable tripod or a shutter-button so you can capture pictures at a distance.
Whether you're trying to find something that'll give your photos a more professional feel, or you're just looking to take better selfies for Instagram, these ring lights will certainly help you get the job done.
1. The Best Ring Light, All Things Considered
When it comes to quality ring lights, Mactrem's LED version is one of the all-around best for standard purposes. The 6-inch desktop model dims and can easily swivel to be placed at any desired angle. Even though it costs just $25, it's remarkably bundled with both a phone stand and a tripod, making it not only affordable, but easy to use.
With over 500 five-star reviews on Amazon, this ring light has racked up rave comments from users who marvel over its powerful capabilities. The adjustable and rotatable light offers three different lighting modes and recharges via a USB port, so you never have to worry about batteries. For selfies, videos, and novice photographers, it's easily one of the best investments to boost the quality of your work.
Reviewers say: "It was so easy to assemble and the brightness is super bright for such a small item. I recently started filming for YouTube and this is so affordable for quick videos or some makeup pictures."
2. The Best Budget Ring Light
If you're looking for a cheap ring light for basic selfies, the QIAYA selfie ring light will do the trick. At $13, it's not only one of the most affordable options on the market, but it's also extremely convenient and easy to use. The 36-LED, 3.3-inch ring clips right onto your phone, while its rechargeable built-in battery packs a powerful punch, lasting up to eight hours on one charge.
Reviewers say: "Convenient to take anywhere, hours of battery life, use for front or back cameras easily and such a good price! So worth the buy!"
3. The Best Ring Light For Your Phone
If you use your phone for more serious photography, the USB-powered UBeesize's ring light could help to quickly improve the quality of the pictures. As one of its many stand-out features, this 10.2-inch ring light is able to work in various different scenarios and can entirely change the look and feel of your pictures; this is thanks to its three color modes that come in white, warm yellow, and warm white.
Additionally, the Bluetooth remote shutter allows for wire-free snapshotting, and the universal phone holder is compatible with almost all smartphones thanks to its adjustable grips.
Reviewers say: "I hesitated so long to buy a ring light because I thought I needed a $200 model. I am so glad I purchased this one instead! I wish I had bought it months ago. It has different color settings, is dimmable, compact, and has plenty of space for your phone. Really easy to assemble, easily portable, and makes phone selfies and videos look so much better."
4. The Best Ring Light For YouTube Or Professional Photography
Neewer's dimmable ring light is definitely worth the splurge if you're looking to use it for professional photography or vlogging. In addition to its high-quality LED ring (which is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use), the kit comes with a white and orange filter, a 360-degree rotatable smartphone holder, and a tripod with a secure-locking system.
Unlike the other options on this list, this one has a massive 18-inch diameter, which is much better-suited for large spaces and shoots that require ample lighting. It's also big enough to place a mobile phone or DSLR camera inside the center — and is made with the standard thread-ball head to fit either mount. Finally, its stand can adjust from 36.2 inches to 78.7 inches, so you can position it right on the floor.
Reviewers say: "Being a professional make-up artist online is hard because getting the lighting you need is next to impossible sometimes. I bought this ring light set-up, expecting just another light that would preform well for a month, and then give out on me. I was very wrong. It has become one of my favorites for the intensity of lighting that it gives off, and the low amount of heat that the LEDs produce."
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