Proper lighting makes a huge difference to the way you look on screen. Ever notice how some of your favorite social media stars seem to have an inner glow? Nine times out of ten, that glow is coming from a selfie light.
Even if you’re not trying to conquer Instagram or TikTok, the best selfie lights improve the quality of your photos and videos. In particular, the top-of-the-list UBeesize Selfie Ring Light includes three distinct light colors for any situation. So, whether you’re trying to become the next big thing or you just want to look better during virtual work meetings, here’s what to consider when buying a selfie light.
Clip-on selfie lights attach directly to your phone, laptop or tablet to provide maximum flexibility. These portable selfie lights are best for taking photos and other short-term tasks. If you’ve got your phone or laptop in a bulky case, make sure the clip-on selfie light you’re considering will open wide enough to attach properly.
Tripod selfie lights have a mount in the middle of the bulb to attach your phone. They can live behind your laptop, but may be awkward to use while holding a tablet. These tripod selfie lights are best for shooting videos, attending meetings and other long-term activities.
Clip-on selfie lights have rechargeable batteries. Some batteries last for minutes, while others last for an hour or two. Charging times also vary. Consult online reviews to see how your prospective model is working for others.
Tripod selfie lights will plug into a USB port or directly into a wall. USB is a good option if you plan to use your selfie light with a laptop. However, a wall outlet will give you the most portability and is an especially good choice if you plan on using your selfie light in multiple locations or away from a computer.
The larger the selfie light, the more illumination it provides. Clip-on selfie lights can be as small as 3 or 4 inches, while tripod selfie lights can be as large as 18 inches.
The bulbs on selfie lights are made of plastic. They’re built to withstand regular use. That said, you should be gentle and store them properly. If you want your selfie light to live in your bag until you need it, a smaller model is probably best. On the other hand, if your selfie light is just going to sit on your desk, a larger model might be ideal.
For even more information, check out the full selfie light buying guide on BestReviews.
The more LEDs a selfie light has, the brighter its light will be. Most models will have between 30-60 LEDs, depending on size. You should also be able to adjust the brightness of your light for the optimal look. Cheaper models will have only a few brightness options, while pricier models will have more.
Some models allow you to switch between color temperatures. The three most common color temperatures are warm light, cool white light and daylight. Of course, you’ll look different in each temperature, and some users may appreciate having these multiple options.
For tripod models, check how the phone connects to the ring light. All models should support the phone in portrait mode, but only some models will support the phone in landscape mode. If you plan on shooting cinematic videos, this is an important consideration.
You want a selfie light that holds your phone securely without being a pain to adjust or attach and detach. Some tripod models also come with a clip to secure the tripod to a table or other surface for extra security. If you’ve got a dog or cat, this tripod clip is essential.
Some selfie lights have a control panel, while others have a remote control. If you plan to shoot many videos where you’ll be further away from the selfie light, a remote control can save you a lot of hassle running back and forth to change the light settings.
Some remote controls will also take photos or start and stop video on your phone. Frequent users will enjoy the extra convenience provided by these Bluetooth remotes.
Clip-on selfie lights with smaller rings and fewer settings can be found for $10-$15. These are best for the occasional selfie. Tripod selfie lights with larger rings and more settings will generally run $15-$25. These are great for all uses. Selfie lights with even better light quality and even more features are typically $25-$50.
A. Yes. Dim selfies can be blurry or create unflattering shadows. By diffusing soft light across your entire face, selfie lights make your skin appear smoother. In addition, selfie lights make it easier for your eyes to adjust and “catch the light,” which means no more awkward photos with your eyes closed.
A. Filters can only go so far for underlit photos or videos. They can also create an unnatural look, especially in videos with lots of movement. Photo editing software is great for professionals, but it’s expensive and more complicated than a selfie light.
What you need to know: The swivel design of this tripod light makes getting the perfect selfie angle easy.
What you’ll love: Tripod extends from 15-50 inches. Comes with a 3-year warranty and includes a remote.
What you should consider: Some users report that the light quality degrades over time and with extended use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair
What you need to know: Our top clip-on choice delivers great pictures, even in bad lighting.
What you’ll love: Charges quickly and easily. Small and sturdy enough to carry around in a bag for use wherever and whenever.
What you should consider: Can create an unwanted halo effect in some images.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
sumcoo Dimmable Selfie Ring Light
What you need to know: Comes with a tripod for your selfie light and a phone holder for maximum flexibility.
What you’ll love: Ten brightness levels and three color temperatures. Two possible positions for your phone to get the desired look and click.
What you should consider: Some users report that the product is fragile.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Frank Paiva writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.