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WTF Is a Ring Light?

Updated: Feb 27

A ring light is a circular light that sits around the camera lens, providing a direct and even source of light on the subject being photographed or filmed. It was first used in the 1950s for dental photography and has since become a popular lighting tool in various fields of photography and videography, such as beauty, fashion, and product photography.

The proper use of a ring light is to provide even, shadow-free lighting on the subject's face, highlighting the contours and details. It is commonly used in close-up and macro photography, where it can illuminate small details and reduce shadows. It is also popular in portrait and beauty photography, where it can create a distinctive "catch-light" in the eyes.

The main difference between a ring light and a softbox light is the type of lighting they produce. While a ring light produces a direct, even light on the subject, a softbox light produces a diffused and softer light. A softbox is a rectangular or square-shaped box with a translucent cover that diffuses the light and reduces harsh shadows. It is often used in portrait photography and product photography where a more subtle and natural look is desired.

In terms of usage, a ring light is best for creating a dramatic and striking look, while a softbox light is better for creating a more natural and subtle lighting effect. The choice between a ring light and a softbox light depends on the specific needs of the project and the desired outcome. For example, a ring light might be more suitable for a beauty or fashion shoot, while a softbox light might be more suitable for a corporate headshot.

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