As you get ready for the day you look in the mirror and say “Dang, I look good today!” You excitedly decide to take some selfies while you’re feeling great about yourself so you grab your phone from your bedroom and open up the camera, only to realize that your image in the camera is nothing like it was in the mirror! Trust me, we’ve all been there, and it can be seriously frustrating. What’s the point of looking great if you’re the only one who can see it? Well, the solution to your problem might be much simpler than you thought. Most people struggle to take great selfies because of one problem: lighting. It’s not that you have a bad phone camera, you aren’t using the right filters, or you just don’t look good on camera. Nine times out of ten the problem is your lighting, and in this post, I’ll go over a simple, affordable, and effective way to fix that problem once and for all.
The tool you need to take your selfie game to the next level is a selfie ring light. You’ll be amazed by what you can do with just your cell phone camera with some professional lighting. The great thing about ring lights is that they aren’t just used for selfies! You’ve seen them before, virtually all professional portrait photographers use ring lights to take great pictures and the even better news is that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to afford one. While there are super advanced lights that are a bit more expensive, most of the best options out there cost less than $50 and even as low as $10!
Types of ring lights and how to use them
Off-camera ring lights
This is the standard type of ring light that you’re probably used to seeing, the ones the professional photographers use. An off-camera ring light might be a bit more expensive than the other ones, but it can be a worthwhile investment if you care about your photos! These lights are typically between 18 and 36 inches in diameter and very bright. To use an off-camera light, you’ll need to set up the tripod according to the instructions in the box, plug the light in and change the position and angle of the light until it shines where you want. You can put your phone in the center of the light or off to the side, try taking pictures from different angles! Just be sure the light is shining directly on the front of your face, if it’s off to the side or behind you it will obscure your facial features.
Attachable ring lights
Another option is to use an attachable ring light directly on your phone. While not being quite as professional as an off-camera light, this has a lot of advantages! By attaching the light directly to your phone you don’t have to worry about setting it up and positioning it perfectly, the light goes where your camera goes. To use an attachable ring light you’ll need to either use batteries or make sure your light stays charged between selfie sessions. Most selfie ring lights will attach to the top of your phone with a simple clip, just make sure not to clip it on over the camera!
Why ring lights?
You might be asking yourself, “Why a ring light? Can’t I just use a lamp with a lightbulb?” Yes, that’s an option, but there’s one serious problem. We all look our best outside in natural lighting right? Whether you’re outside, in a professional photo shoot, or looking in your bathroom mirror, lights are shining on your face from multiple directions. One bulb can create strange shadows that make you look less photogenic, but using a ring light spreads out the light, casting it all around your face for that healthy glow you see in professionally taken pictures.
So invest in a good selfie ring light now! All your friends will be jealous of how good your new selfies are, and your Instagram is guaranteed to look better than ever. Here’s a final tip to help you take your selfies to that next level, tilt either your phone or your head! While a straight-on view of your face might look great in person, the lens of your camera can make your head appear different in proportion than it is. A camera with a wider lens can make your face appear wider than usual, and one with a narrower lens will make your face appear slimmer than it is. This can make your facial features appear crowded or too spaced out on your face, but a picture from a slight angle will negate this. Enjoy your gorgeous new pictures!