hero-selfieSource: Angela Franklin / Unsplash

Best Ring Lights for Selfies iMore 2020

Good photography is all about lighting. Get that right, and you have a masterpiece, but get it wrong, and your snapshot is mediocre. Your selfies and videos will stand out from the sea of bad portraiture with a selfie light. My favorite model, the UBeesize 10-inch Selfie Ring Light + Tripod, includes all the equipment you need to take professional-looking headshots, group shots, and videos. There are other worthy choices to be had, though. These are my top picks for this year.

Best Overall: UBeesize 10-inch Selfie Ring Light + Tripod

ubeesize-selfie-ring-light-lifestyleSource: UBeesize

UBeesize designs camera equipment accessories for professional photographers and budding hobbyists. They have an extensive selection of tripods and lighting options, all of them revered in photography circles. The product that really stands out is their 10-inch selfie ring light kit. It's been adopted as the tool of choice by YouTubers, live streamers, makeup artists, and selfie perfectionists.

The ring light has three color options: warm, cool white, and daylight, in addition to 11 brightness levels for each color. All totaled, that gives you 33 lighting options every time you shoot. The ring light sits on its own included pannable tripod that slides up from 16-inch to 50-inch, guaranteeing a good angle every time you mug for the camera.

The UBeesize kit comes with a Bluetooth remote for mostly hands-free operation and a phone holder with an adjustable arm. It's a cinch to move smoothly from portrait to landscape mode and back again. The entire kit is a breeze to assemble and take down, plus it's lightweight enough to go anywhere. If I must find fault, it is with the remote. It does an excellent job of snapping pictures but is unable to adjust the light's settings. For most, this is a lightweight kit that includes everything you need to get professional-looking snapshots.

Pros:

  • Three light colors
  • 11 brightness levels
  • Full kit easy to assemble
  • Includes remote and tripod
  • Universal phone holder

Cons:

  • Dumbed down remote

Best Overall

UBeesize 10-inch Selfie Ring Light + Tripod

A Full Kit

When you want it all, reach for this kit. You'll get a tripod, ring light, remote, USB cable, and universal phone holder.

Best Value: GLOUE Clip-On Selfie Fill Light

gloue-selfie-light-lifestyleSource: GLOUE

Most selfies are spur of the moment and don't require an over-the-top or pricey studio setting. If that's how you operate, you want a portable setup that's small enough to tuck in a pocket while still adding a burst of fill light when needed. Allow me to introduce to one selfie light that can do all that and more.

The GLOUE is an LED ring light that clips to the top of your phone, tablet, or computer. Its internal battery is rechargeable via USB, and yes, the cord included. The GLOUE has 36 LED lamp beads that are controlled by a touch-sensitive switch. Push the button once for dim light, twice for medium-level light, and three times for ultrabright spotlights. Cycling through the light settings is intuitive and easy.

If you wear glasses, this may not be the ideal selfie light. My needed eyeglasses catch a glare on most shots. It happens more so in the dark, but it's present on daylight pictures when I use this as a fill light. Still, at this price, the GLOUE is a steal, and I continue to hang on to it because it is lightweight enough to go anywhere, and it has awesome battery life.

Pros:

  • 36 LEDs
  • Small enough to pocket
  • Touch-sensitive design
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Casts glare on those who wear glasses

Best Value

GLOUE Clip-On Selfie Fill Light

An Inexpensive, Pocketable Light

The tiny GLOUE slips in your pocket, has good battery life, multiple touch-sensitive settings, and it's priced right.

Best for Phones + Cameras: Neewer 18-inch LED Ring Light Kit

neewer-selfie-light-lifestyleSource: Neewer

Photographers everyone should recognize the Neewer brand name. They've been releasing forward-thinking accessories since 2010. This cost-effective selfie light set comes with all basics, plus a few extras you won't see in other offerings. Investing in Neewer gives you an LED ring and three-legged light stand, white and orange filters, a hot shoe adapter for cameras, a power adapter, a remote, and a rotatable smartphone holder.

Let's start with the light. 240 efficient LEDs power this Neweer model. They're dimmable, and cycle without trouble between low, medium, and high settings. The phone stand rotates 360 degrees, and the tripod is made of heavy-duty aluminum alloy that stands up to the test of time while remaining lightweight enough to move from place to place. With the included remote, you can capture your best side, adjust light settings, and turn the ring light off and on. Unique to this model is the ability to shoot with a mirrorless or DSLR in addition to your phone. Sweet!

I love the included diffuser filters. You'll get two orange and two white filters that add a warm glow or give photos a crisp, bright, clean look. I wish this package came with a carrying bag. I've tucked it all in a backpack, and that works, but for the money, I'd love to see Neewer toss in a free bag. Whether you're a videographer or take stills, this selfie light takes photo quality up a notch.

Pros:

  • Low, medium, and high settings
  • Remote snaps photos and adjusts lights
  • Excellent build quality
  • Orange and white filters included
  • Phone stand rotates 360 degrees

Cons:

  • Does not include carry bag

Best for Phones + Cameras

Neewer 18-inch LED Ring Light Kit

Use a Phone or a Camera

Neweer's light has adjustable LEDs, a remote, tripod, filters, a stand, and a hotshoe that works with phones and cameras.

Best Entry Level: QIAYA Selfie Ring LED Circle

qiaya-sefie-ring-light-lifestyleSource: QIAYA

The QIAYA is another clip-on selfie ring light. A spring-fitted clamp slips over the camera on your phone, laptop, or tablet and stays put until you remove it. Lights are rechargeable via a USB cord (included), and the battery holds out long enough for you to pose in front of the camera for about an hour, but no longer. That's my only beef. If you carry a power bank with you or only shoot at home, the short battery life won't be an issue. If your videos go long or you want to use this on vacation, you'll need to schedule recharging sessions.

The three-level light settings (high, medium, and low) highlight dark scenery nicely. And in daylight hours, the QIAYA's LEDs works exceptionally well as a fill light. The light beam emitted casts a warm glow for about six feet, which is more than generous enough to remove shadows from your face, brighten the environment around you, and capture radiant group shots.

The QIAYA Selfie Light Ring is small and weighs less than two ounces. It adds little weight to your phone or tablet, so it's a good light for kids and adults. There's no remote, but if that's not a deal-breaker for you, this is a solid entry-level ring light that's good at highlighting your best features.

Pros:

  • Awesome for night photos
  • Good daytime fill light
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Rechargeable

Cons:

  • Short battery life
  • No remote

Best Entry Level

QIAYA Selfie Ring LED Circle

A Beautifully Designed Entry-Level Light

The battery life isn't great, but your photos will be. This ring light clips to the top of your phone for perfect close-ups.

Best Pro Lights: GVM 600S

Gvm 600s Ring Light LifestyleSource: GVM

The GVM 600S is for those who want to take their photos and videos to the next level. This is a pro light rig that comes with a selfie ring light, six detachable light bars, two power cords, a tripod, and a carrying case. When you need perfect lighting everywhere, this is the gear to put in your shopping cart.

GVM's 600S lights are dimmable so that you can set the mood for any video or photoshoot. The three-legged tripod is sturdy and adjustable, going from 32-inches to 87-inches. Set the tripod up on a desk, on the ground outside, or in a studio for perfect lighting anywhere.

This kit comes in a nylon carrying bag that's big enough for the whole setup. Grab the bag and go to any location or set up shop on your makeup desk or in a studio. The GVM 600S lets you add as much or as little light as you need, and is the perfect selfie ring light kit for your professional-level photos or videos.

Pros:

  • Six removable light bars
  • Dimmable
  • Tripod included
  • Carry case
  • Camera mount

Cons:

  • Pricey

Best Pro Lights

GVM 600S

Pro level lighting

The GVM 600s is an LED ring light with six removable light bars that guarantee you get the best light everywhere.

Put yourself in the best light

Taking a good selfie is harder than it looks, and most fail in the lighting department. Even though phones have improved at a fast clip in the last two years, the front-facing selfie lens still falls short due to a lack of high-quality fill lighting. And this is where selfie lights come in.

My favorite kit is the UBeesize 10-inch Selfie Ring Light and Tripod Kit. You get excellent fill light for your money, plus an abundance of choices. There are three light colors and 11 brightness levels, so no matter your location, every close-up looks professional. The combination of settings allows you to snap images in natural-looking light or illuminate your face with a radiant glow. This is a full kit that comes with a tripod, remote, carry sack, universal phone holder, and USB cord.

My one groan is with the remote. I love being able to grab selfies without using the timer, but it's dumbed down to only take pictures, not adjust the lighting. That leads to an awful lot of running back and forth to the ring light to make minor adjustments. If that doesn't bother you, this is a superb setup for your money. The pannable tripod has never let me down, and the lighting options and brightness levels are near perfect.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jodi Owan works behind a keyboard and a camera. See more of her work on her website and Instagram.

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