The Ring Lights

 WHAT IS A RING LIGHT?

Ring Light is a technical term used for a lighting tool that is used for beauty shots, portraits, macro photography and other applications such as in food photography. It also serves as a lighting tool for indoor filming and vlogging.

The first ring light was a ring flash developed by Lester A. Dine in 1952 for dental purpose and later the area of its use widened to fashion photography. It was usually made up of a number of small bulbs forming a circle or just one circular fluorescent bulb.

Years later the famous director of photography Darius Khondji introduced this lighting concept in the film "Alien Resurrection" (Jean Pierre-Jeunet, 1997). He used a ring light made of small bulbs for the close ups on the actress Winona Ryder using the appearance of circular catch lights to enhance her look as the robot Call.



   Winona Ryder on "Alien Resurrection" (1997)
 
THE USE OF THE RING LIGHTS

When used in photography, you'll know that a model is facing a ring light because it creates a circular eye light on a subject’s eyes. Photographers and videographers love ring lights as they offer diffused lighting while reducing the shadows, which is great for photography but not as good for makeup application unless the model remains under the same ring light during the  session. If that is the case, ring lights are a good lighting for YouTube videos, especially for product reviewers.

WHY RING LIGHTS ARE NOT MEANT FOR MAKEUP APPLICATION

The Ring Lights produce a flattering light but the reduction of the shadows can lead to a wrong colour correction, specially when it comes to eye bags and dark circles. The result can be a bit unrealistic once the model is out of the ring lighting where the makeup was performed.

Another thing is that the only way to light up the face evenly for a makeup application is positioning the ring light in front and that makes difficult to find the right spot to watch the model in the mirror.

Some ring lights when used on axis, produce errors like chromatic aberration in the pictures that again might affect the skin undertones.

A great number of LED ring lights create dazzling glare.

When it comes to ring lights, size does make a difference. So if you want power enough you’ll need to bring a big ring light, which is not easy to carry along with the makeup kit.

 

COMPARING A RING LIGHT WITH THE MAKEUP LIGHT

 

Color


The Ring Lights are made up of white LED bulbs or fluorescent bulbs.
The average color temperature is 5500ºK which delivers a cool tone which does not allow to see much red undertones because of their CRI (between 85 and 90).
The Makeup Light color temperature is 5000ºK delivering 95+ CRI and a CSQ value of 93. This is an almost full spectrum light which makes it perfect for both indoors and outdoors makeup performance.
In this picture from the beautiful studio of Natalie Setareh, we can appreciate and example of both color temperatures.
Some ring lights have the option to switch the temperature to a warmer scale but because their range of CRI and CSQ is not enough balanced, they produce orange or yellow color cast.


Photo courtesy from the Beauty Coach Natalie Setareh.

Distribution


Distribution describes the direction of the light or the lack of direction if it is too soft as for the ring lights. TML provides an even distribution and crispness of light which translates into more definition and color information
.

The absence of shadows it's flattering but also flattening, leading to a wrong interpretation of the volume. The blush applied under a ring light will never look the same in the daylight!.

Because of the form, ring lighting is mainly distributed around the model so there will always be some central areas missing light and definition.

All this is beautifully shown in this post from the artist Dawna Kraft, who has taken a self portrait using a ring light in the left picture and a TML panel on the right.

Photo courtesy from artist Dana Kraft.

 

Intensity


The Makeup Light provides more brightness than any ring light in the market. That means more projection and crispness of light that can be adjusted in four different levels depending on the required distance of work.

TML's unique LED technology provides a perfect makeup lighting:  Enough bright to provide detail up to two meters, but extremely gentle for the eyes.

 

Conclusion.

- The ring lights are great for shooting photography or video and applying  makeup in the same spot.

- They produce standard beauty lighting easily recognizable by the catch light in the eyes. This look is widespread in Social Media.

- They are easy to use at a home or in a studio but definitely not as portable as The Makeup Light Kits.

- The ring lights are not advisable for screen makeup application unless the makeup will be shot under the same ring lighting.

 

ring light



Learn more about  COLOR TEMPERATURE and CRI.

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