If you’ve never given a ring light a try, this weekend is the time to make. it. happen. Beyond offering beautiful, soft light that is perfect for capturing amazing straight on portraits, there are many reasons why you should add the ring light to your repertoire.

Here are our 5 favorite reasons, but feel free to add more in the comments if you’re a ring light fan!

1. That Catch Light Tho

The first is the most obvious: a ring light means one of the coolest, most attractive catch lights (the light reflection in your subject’s eye) in the business! Whether it’s a solid ring light or a DIY version made up of many light bulbs, the catch lights you get immediately draw your viewer in.

Inspired (Kreative_Doc) by Harvey Lisse on 500px.com


2. It Makes a Awesome Prop

The light doesn’t have to be off-camera. In fact, one of the coolest effects you can get in a portrait is to have your subject hold it themselves. The darker the surroundings the better: let that ring be the only source of light.

Maggie by The Photo Fiend on 500px.com


3. You Can DIY Your Own for Cheap

Probably our most popular DIY tutorial EVER, one year ago The Photo Fiend showed you how to create your own ring light for killer portrait photography on the cheap.

His cost only $70, but he estimates that it’ll run you between 50 and 100 depending on how fancy you want to get. The results he’s gotten (like the photo above) speak for themselves. “I can’t afford it” isn’t a good excuse… sorry.

L* by PortraitsBySam on 500px.com


4. It Helps You Capture Killer Closeups

The very nature of a ring light requires that you get very close, and the way the light spills across your subject’s face is absolutely stunning. When taking close-ups, a ring light is extremely hard to beat…

5. It’s Great for Macro Photography

The best example we’ve had of this is the beautiful water drops on flower petals captured by 500px-er Scott Horvath and featured in this article. The ring light reflection in the drops is gorgeous, and the close-up nature of a ring light/ring flash makes it perfect for many macro photography applications.

If water drops aren’t your thing, here’s another beautiful macro example captured with a ring light:

No.175 - Wasp (Alive) by Neil Hamilton on 500px.com


Basic ring lights range in price from cheap $10 bulbs to $100 and beyond for higher-end LED setups. If you don’t want to build your own, those are all options—hopefully $25 isn’t too much to spend on a fun weekend experiment.

If you do go out and try to capture some great ring light portraits or macro shots this weekend, be sure to upload and share a link in the comments!
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