A stunningly simple solution. (Nadine Shaabana via Unsplash/)
Frequent online video meetings are a side-effect of working from home that not everyone loves, and can be downright exhausting. On top of the challenges of getting a word in without being able to make direct eye contact, most of us are constantly distracted by our own faces staring back at us. You can’t just time your meetings for when you can sit in an ethereal beam of diffused sunlight, but there’s no denying the harsh realities of too-little sleep illuminated in unforgiving fluorescent detail. Ring lights are a great tool to give you more control over your appearance on screen without turning your home office into a production studio. Pair these excellent options with your cell phone, webcam, or DSLR camera for optimal results.
Great choice to take with you. (Amazon/)
To get the most consistent and powerful effects from a ring light, ideally you want your camera in the center of the circle, with the light facing you. With this clip-on ring light, you can take advantage of your mobile phone’s camera to capture shots in a variety of settings including outdoors or in dimly lit areas. The 36 LED lights that make up the ring can be adjusted between three levels of brightness to provide continuous illumination. Clip it to the top of your laptop to use with your computer’s camera, or configure your mobile phone as a webcam so you can take advantage of the higher-quality rear-facing camera and still see what’s going on in a meeting. The lithium polymer battery is rechargeable with a USB cable for added convenience.
A sphere of influence. (Amazon/)
The 10-inch diameter ring light, phone holder, and tripod in this kit give you a wide variety of options for smartly lit shots whether you’re sitting or standing. The tripod can be adjusted up to a height of a little over 4 feet, and the phone holder ensures your phone stays securely in place in the center of the ring for an even distribution of light across your face. There are three main light levels from warm to daylight, and you can further customize within each level. The ring tilts up to 180-degrees, which allows you to lay down while shooting, though this probably only works for professional settings if you’re teaching a yoga or pilates class. A bluetooth remote makes it simple to start and stop your phone’s camera from wherever you’re positioned.
A great choice for amateur photographers. (Amazon/)
If you’re already experienced in shooting high-quality photo and video with a DSLR camera, this large ring light and stand kit with a flexible goose-neck for angling will help make your portraiture and close-ups look great—and can also be used for work meetings if you turn your DSLR into a webcam. The 18-inch diameter of the ring gives you more light to work with, and the hot shoe adapter works with most DSLR models to hold your camera in place in the ring. Raise or lower the color temperature of your light with the two interchangeable plastic filters, and take advantage of stepless dimming to fine tune your shot in exacting detail. There’s also a holder for your smartphone.
Get your glow-up. (Amazon/)
If you plan on using a ring light frequently for multiple purposes, this upgraded model of the Neewer 18-inch ring light is probably worth the extra money. Instead of having to change out filters to adjust color temperature, this ring light has that feature built in with both a warm and a cool setting. The ring itself screws into the adjustable 6.5-foot silver stand with a standard ¼-inch screw thread, so you can attach it to other types of tripods as needed.