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How To Use A Ring Light For Food And Product Photography


Food photography is the act of taking high-quality imagery of food items and meals. Product photography is the act of taking promotional imagery of a certain product for marketing purposes. These types of photography are sought after by businesses and companies across the world, plus many bloggers and affiliate marketers require these skills to conduct their work.

Both food photography and product photography require a professional-grade camera and outstanding photography skill/knowledge. They also require excellent lighting to ensure crisp and clear photography of the food item or product. If you follow photography trends and some of the world’s best product photographers, you will have already noticed that many leading photography experts are starting to use ring lights Australia as an effective tool for brightening and smoothening their product photography.

Whether you’ve already gone ahead and purchased a ring light, or you plan on buying one for product photography purposes, we have some advice that may help you. Here are some of our top tips for using a ring light to assist with generating excellent food and product photography.

1. Use a ring light that is as large as the product you are photographing.

If you use a ring light that is too small, you will notice that not all angles and aspects of the product are being lit up appropriately. There may be unsightly shadows or overbearing highlights generated if you use a ring light that is too small. The lack of power from a small ring light may also reduce the quality and detail of your images.

Alternatively, a ring light that is too large might deliver an unnecessarily powerful light over the product. You don’t want a ring light that is cumbersome or difficult to use, so it is worth weighing up whether you really need a supersized ring light.

Before purchasing a specifically sized ring light, it’s also important that you consider whether your professional DSLR camera is going to fit in the centre of the light. Most photographers will choose to mount their camera in the middle of the ring light, so you need to ensure your ring light has a large middle area that will suit the size of your camera. To ensure you are choosing an appropriate ring light, you might want to measure up your camera and then look at the specifications of the ring light online. If you’re unsure how large the centre area of the ring light is, contact the ring light company to query the exact sizing. All the best ring light Australia businesses would be happy to respond to your unique queries.

Because some products are huge and others are small, most professional product and food photographers tend to have a selection of ring lights that they can have handy at photoshoots. This way, they will have a perfect lighting option to suit every product they are photographing for their client. If they are shooting multiple different products at the same photoshoot, they will be able to use a different ring light whenever they are shooting a different sized product. Easy peasy!

If you want to set up your product photography business well, but don’t have the funds to purchase several ring lights, you might want to consider an Afterpay ring light. Afterpay ring lights allow you to have your ring lights delivered immediately, but you won’t have to pay the full purchase price upfront. It’s a perfect financial solution for budding businesses and entrepreneurs.

2. Experiment with where you want to position your ring light.

The most common and popular way to use and position your ring light for food and product photography is by positioning the light directly in front of the product itself. By placing your ring light perfectly in line with the product and approximately one to two metres away, you will create a professional and desirable lighting effect.

But, the standard way to use a ring light isn’t necessarily what you should settle with. We highly recommend experimenting with your ring light to see if there are other angles and positions that suit your photography style better. Some of our customers prefer to position their ring light Australia above the product, as this can cast the light downwards over the item. This will highlight the top of the product and sometimes create an appealing shadow on the table or floor where the product has been rested.

Generally, placing your ring light behind the food or product will cause the background light to be too bright for a high-quality image. However, it could generate an arty effect, which could still be preferrable in some circumstances.

If you position your ring light at a 45-degree angle from the front of the product, you could again achieve a unique shadow effect over the product. Depending on where you plan to use your photography, this could be a desirable effect for some marketing purposes. For example, if you want to use the photograph on a marketing brochure or website banner, you could have a fade in/fade out effect with some text over the shadow that was created in the image.

There really are no limits as to what you achieve when you get creative with a ring light. Once you become familiar with your new ring light Australia, you will have no problems intuitively positioning your ring light in specific ways to achieve certain effects. Just like anything, practice makes perfect – so don’t be afraid to spend some quality time with your ring light to get to know it a little better.

3. Mount your professional camera in the centre of the ring light.

It goes without saying, but you should always mount your camera in the centre of the ring light. If your ring light Australia comes with a dedicated ring light tripod and camera mount, you should make sure you use it. A sturdy mount will reduce any shake or bump (otherwise known as ‘noise’) that might slightly blur your photograph. To further reduce any noise, you can set your camera onto a timer so that you can remove your hands and body from the camera before it takes the image. Because you are ensuring there is no movement in or around the camera, you will have the best chances of obtaining a crystal-clear image.

By placing your camera in the centre of the ring light, you are allowing your lens to capture all the lighting without a shadow being cast over the product. When using standard non-circular lights, you will notice that your body and the shape of the camera tend to cast an undesirable light over the subject you are trying to photograph. Even just holding your camera in the middle of the ring light (rather than mounting it) is better than using the camera from an unusual angle or outside the ring light centre.

Before purchasing a ring light, you should always check that the item comes with a tripod and camera mount. Some ring lights only have a smartphone mount or mirror mount, which might not be strong enough to hold a heavy professional DSLR. If the ring light doesn’t come with a tripod and mount, you might want to consider purchasing a different ring light that’s more suitable to your needs. Alternatively, you can try to find a tripod that will match the exact ring light you are buying.

In our online ring light store, you will find that all of our ring lights Australia come with unique special features and handy accessories. Some of the common accessories you might notice are included with our popular professional ring lights include: tripods, smartphone mounts, mirror mounts, carry bags, fold-down tripods, desk stands, remote controls, and more.

4. Adjust the brightness of your ring light accordingly.

As a food or product photographer, you will know that every studio or setting is different. Food bloggers, in particular, will know that the lighting within restaurants and cafés can be vastly different depending on the interior design of the venue and whether you have been seated near a window or not. As such, it’s important that you have a ring light where you can easily adjust the brightness settings.

Dimming your ring light may be necessary in locations and environments where there is ample room lighting or ambience from the sun to light up the product or food item already. This will ensure you are still lighting the product professionally, but not beaming so much light that the images become blown out or lacking depth of colour.

Increasing the brightness of your ring light may be necessary in locations and environments where there is not much lighting and the area is very dark and dim. This will ensure your camera can detect the product despite the dark setting and capture all the unique details of the item. Taking a few test shots on your camera (while also adjusting your ring light brightness) will quickly give you an idea as to whether you need to brightness increased or decreased.

5. Consider a transportable ring light.

Transportable ring lights are valuable for food and product photographers who travel to various different locations when conducting their photoshoots. As a professional product photographer who works with clients, it’s most probable that you travel to the factory or venue of your client to take your images of the products. Therefore, a transportable ring light will be beneficial to you in many ways. If you can make your life just a little bit easier when you hit the road, then why not?

Generally speaking, the smaller the ring light is, the more easily transportable it will be. Some small ring lights even come with fold down tripods that can be quickly tucked away and made ready for travel. When purchasing a ring light, always consider how heavy the light is and whether you would feel comfortable carrying that weight from client to client.

To make your ring light extra transportable, you might like to purchase a tailormade ring light carry bag. Carry bags can help you transport your ring light safely and securely, reducing the risk of your ring light being damaged as you take it from place to place. The best ring light carry bags will have a carry handle and ample padding within the bag.

If you are a food blogger engaging in food photography, you might like to have a super small, pocket sized ring light that can sneakily be brought out while you are conducting a secret review at a restaurant. If you walked into the restaurant with a large ring light, the staff might be able to easily identify that you are a food blogger conducting a review. Having a small ring light that can be tucked into your handbag and brought out occasionally as necessary will help you keep it under wraps that you’re actually there to review their venue.

What are the best ring lights for food and product photography?

The best ring light for you will depend on your unique circumstances and how you plan to use the ring light. We recommend purchasing a small, cost-effective ring light to help you understand what you want to achieve from your lighting tool and whether you need something larger or with other unique features. Once you’ve started working with a ring light for a period of time, you’ll have a better idea of what you really need to accomplish your objectives. Then you can splurge on something much bigger and more expensive!

To browse some of Australia’s best ring lights, read real ring light reviews, and start browsing your ring light options today, visit our online ring light store. We have a wide range of ring lights to suit everybody’s needs.

If you need help selecting a ring light, simply browse our latest ring light blogs, check out our ring light reviews, or chat to our specialist ring light team.