Selfies have arguably been a thing in photography since the invention of the camera. Items such as a camera’s self-timer or even a remote cord gave the person taking the photo the ability to be in the shot themselves.
Now that we have a label for the activity, it’s understandable that we want ever more professional looking images. This now includes owning specialized equipment such as a selfie ring light.
It’s true, taking a selfie these days isn’t just about waving around a selfie stick in front of you, it’s just as much about achieving high-quality lighting. Think more along the lines of a photo studio setup, rather than holding a camera up high and hoping for the best.
Today we will be focusing on selfie ring lights which can provide good coverage of light, along with illumination that is more akin to professional images. Ring lights provide excellent coverage of illumination, but they can also be unforgiving. This means, unless you want to do a lot of post-editing, you need to be looking your best, with a good night’s sleep.
Also, as we are in the world of selfies, these ring light solutions are designed for use with modern smartphones. These lights either completely surround a smartphone or are attached directly to it. Some designs are made for more studio-type use, while others are far more portable.
1. UBeesize 10.2-Inch Selfie Ring Light (Overall Winner)
The UBeesize 10.2-Inch Selfie Ring Light is more an all-encompassing kit, rather than a light on its own. The items that come with the kit include a 10.2-inch LED ring light with three light colors and 11 levels of brightness, a tripod, a three-way head, a phone holder, and Bluetooth remote.
The kit will suit more static, studio type shots, providing a respectable level of light, with plenty of room for adjustment with the three light colors and adjustable brightness control. The selfie tripod, although sturdy, is not up to professional standards, but that’s not so much a factor as it only needs to hold the ring light and a smartphone.
The only real downside with the setup is the Bluetooth remote, which doesn’t have the greatest control distance, but works fine in every other respect. If remote triggering isn’t your thing, then you can still have the ability to hardwire the light into a smartphone and adjust the power levels.
It’s no surprise that Neewer has a presence in the budget lighting department, this time with the Neewer Pro Ring Light Kit. The kit comprises of an 18-inch LED ring with white and orange gels, light stand, tripod head hot-shoe adapter, Bluetooth receiver, and a universal adapter.
Light levels can be adjusted from one percent to 100 percent and with the 55W 5500K output, there’s plenty of light for close-up shots. There’s no faulting the build quality, with the light being made from aluminum alloy.
The benefit of this solution is that it can be used with most camera types, as well as smartphones. It may cost more than the rest, but it also provides one of the most professional solutions on this list.
The idea behind the Diyife Selfie Ring Light is for the unit to clip directly onto a smartphone or tablet, which you can then wave around to your heart’s content. This package is just for the light itself, with three light settings, is fully rechargeable, and provides 30 minutes of use at full brightness from one charge.
As the unit is palm-sized, it needs to get quite close to the subject and provides just enough illumination for a selfie shot. This means that it may not provide the most power output on this list, but for an extremely cheap selfie ring light, it’s a good start point if you only have at your disposal the harsh built-in lighting on a standard smartphone.
With so many popular make-up video channels and images on the Internet, it makes sense to feature a desktop lighting setup. One such solution that is both cost-effective and simple to use, is the Yoozon 10-Inch LED Ring Light. The kit includes the LED ring light, which has three color light modes and 10 levels of brightness, a phone holder, USB power, and Bluetooth remote control.
The 10-inch wide light ring features 126 LEDs, with color temperatures from 3000-6500K. The power output is usable for close-up shots and the tripod stand is fully adjustable in all directions. Basically meaning, that for close-up stills and images at a very affordable price, this package provides a lot for the money.
5. GLOUE Selfie Light Ring (Budget Winner)
Camera lighting this cheap may seem like it can’t provide much in terms of lighting quality, but the GLOUE Selfie Light Ring LED light actually works better than expected. The unit features 36 LEDs with three light settings, is rechargeable via a USB port, and comes with a universal phone holder.
This unit clips easily onto a phone, tablet or computer and is respectively bright at its highest setting considering its small size. The small dimensions produce a more concentrated area of light which can produce glare, but considering the asking price, the makers are more or less giving this unit away considering its portability and usefulness.
Summarizing the Best Selfie Ring Lights
As with any lighting application, it’s mindful to start with what types of images or videos you wish to create, then decide on the lighting setup. When a selfie stick is not enough, ring lights are a good starting point as they are cost-effective and provide the typical beauty lighting setup you see in many videos. These types of lights render a very elegant ring of light on the pupils of the eye, providing a very professional look.
If nothing else, ring lights are very affordable, which means it’s very easy to access good quality lighting without breaking the bank. Even the kit solutions are affordable and the extra bonus items such as tripods and Bluetooth remotes can be used for other photography and video applications.
As with any lighting setup you need to experiment with brightness levels, angles, distance from the subject and the direction of light. A slight change in any of these areas can dramatically affect the quality of light.
If you’re new to this area, start with a simple straight-on light setup, then decide if the lighting is too harsh, bright, or dull. Then, change just one element at a time, such as distance. In time you will find the lighting setup that works for you and your chosen subjects.