Since splurging on this ring light about a month ago, I’ve had lots of questions from people looking for some new lighting to film videos, take photos and simply just to up their selfie game. I wanted to wait until I’d had a chance to use it properly before sharing my thoughts. I also figured it would be easier to have a blog post to direct everyone to which will hopefully answer some/all of the questions.
I should point out at this stage, that I am not (by any stretch of the imagination) an expert on lighting and all things technical. I just want to share what I have learnt in an attempt to help others in the same situation.
I used to have these soft boxes, which I have talked about previously in this post. Though they served me very well over the past year or so, they were a real pain to pack away and took up too much storage space when assembled. When one broke just before Christmas, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to research alternative lighting as I didn’t want to repurchase a soft box.
Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a lot of information about about lighting out there that was relevant for me as I wanted something specifically for beauty videos and product shots. Because of this, the actual bulb part of the light was very important to me. I learnt that the colour temperature number 5500K means day light bulb; perfect for makeup tutorials, selfies and blog photos as daylight ensures that the products are true to colour. – Living in the UK during the winter means that we don’t get much daylight during the day and I think there’s nothing worse than trying to take photos that end up with a yellow tinge because you have to rely on lamps/ceiling lights with warm bulbs.*
Hoping for the best, I took the plunge and bought the Neewer 18” 600W 5500K Dimmable Fluorescent Flash Ring Light and Diffuser. Just be warned that ring lights don’t come with a stand (or diffuser) and you have to purchase them separately. I already had the stand from my broken soft box, but if I had to pick one, I’d go for something sturdy like this.
As much as I love Amazon Prime, I chose to buy mine on eBay instead as it was roughly £15 cheaper and I didn’t mind that it took just under a week to arrive – If you need it urgently though, this ring light is exactly the same as mine. I am aware that there are cheaper options available, but I didn’t want an unbranded replica as I’ve heard some horror stories about fake electrical goods from China blowing up! After days of trawling the internet, I discovered that Neewer is a popular brand, so I decided to just follow the crowd.
The light is very flattering and you get that diva light circle in your eyes (if you want it). I wanted to have some control over the amount of light emitted, so the ‘dimmable light’ feature really appealed to me. In fact, I always film my videos on the dimmest setting as it’s so dazzling when turned up; it would give me a headache if I had to look at it for too long, not to mention that I would also be over-exposed.
For blog photography however, I do turn the control up on days where there is little to no natural light coming in. I’ll admit that it took me a while to get used to the ring light for photography purposes, but that’s mainly due to my stand not being very stable. Taking flatlay shots proves to be harder as the light should ideally be tilted horizontally as if coming from above – it’s not impossible though! I did an awkward demo on Snapchat (Nishi.V) the other day; showing everyone how I hold the light in one hand, and camera in the other while standing on a chair to take some photos! (I know, I know, one of these days, something is going to smash.. eek!)
I absolutely love my ring light for filming and use it all the time! Although I look slightly orange in the first video I filmed with this light, I found that was down to my camera settings, and the number of candles I had in the background. Since then, I’ve figured out how to make everything look ‘normal’ and it’s simply a case of trial and error.
I personally don’t think that the diffuser I purchased is essential – I’ve used the light with and without it and haven’t noticed much difference in the video/photo quality to be honest. (I’m sure a professional would disagree). The only time I use mine is if I’m filming more than one video and I know I’ll be sat in front of the ring light for a long period of time, I find that it helps to lessen the harshness of the light on my eyes, but that’s about all. I’d recommend not purchasing it before you receive your ring light, so you can see if you really need it or not.
In an ideal world, I would also have a pair of soft boxes as I do prefer them for product photography. They are also much better for filming in large spaces, but living in London means that I don’t have the luxury of space, so my ring light does the job perfectly! I highly recommend it to any bloggers, Youtubers and make-up artists reading this.
If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. As I said earlier though, I’m not an expert. My ‘tech wish list’ is forever getting longer and longer but if you’d like an updated post on all the equipment I use for the blog and YouTube, let me know. You can read my previous one here.
*PS – Excuse the (slightly) unrelated photo. It turns out that a ringlight is essential for taking photos in January and unfortunately, I don’t have a second one to photograph this one! You can see what the ring light looks like by clicking on the links above.