The Age of Enlightenment

For the history buffs among us, you know the 18th century intellectual movement, commonly known as the Age of Enlightenment, was founded on the belief that better societies and better people could be created based on the use of reason, the scientific method, and progress.  Well, we’ve entered a new Age of Enlightenment – not about better societies and better people (though, that would be nice, too), but literally about better lighting!  This is the age during which we all need better lighting in order to look our best via video conference.

Enter the “ring light.”  I can tell you, I had never heard of a ring light before COVID-19 took its toll on the globe.  Now, I’m the proud owner of several.  You see, early on during the pandemic, I came across Angie, a full-time YouTuber who goes by, “Hot and Flashy.”  Her highly informative video, “How to Look Good on Video Calls,” is just under 12 minutes and is really quite good.  Her #1 tip was “to find the most flattering lighting.” 

Angie started by talking about natural, softly diffused light from a window that you are sitting directly in front of.  She specifically suggested against lighting that is coming from above, the side or behind you because it puts you in the shadows due to the backlighting.  She went on to suggest use of a ring light.  Well, no surprise – I went directly to Amazon and ordered my first ring light!

Sure, you could certainly use a lamp and window combination to put yourself in the most flattering hues.  However, if you are going to be on video a lot (and, really, who isn’t these days, right?), a ring light is a good investment.  They are portable, typically have a dimmer switch, and provide direct light that you can use with a phone, a laptop and/or a tablet.  I have tried several and will tell you about a couple of them below (FYI:  I have NO financial interest in any of these products – I’m recommending them because I use them myself and genuinely believe they are great!). 

  • UBeesize 10” Ring Light with Tripod.  This is my go-to illuminator!  It’s a great little light that is very affordably priced at $30.99 and includes a 62” tripod stand that is compatible with both phones and cameras and the touchpad in front of the light allows for easy control over the colors (warm, cool, daylight) and brightness.  In addition to the light and tripod, you’ll also get a Bluetooth remote and an AC/DC adapter.  It arrives in a compact box with simple instructions and is incredibly easy to assemble and use within minutes.  I also have a 16” version of this light that is super-powerful.  I like using them in conjunction with one another so that my face is more evenly lit on conference calls and my viewers do not see a white ring in my pupils (this is an especially useful tip for those who wear eyeglasses which may cause a ring-shaped glare!).

  • Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit. So, technically, this is NOT a “ring” light… it is a rectangular light!  Talk about portability – this small light (about 3½” wide x 2¾ long x ¾ thick) comes complete with a suction cup that adheres securely to your laptop. It is pricier than the ring light I described above at $69.95, but may be more appealing to those who travel or have very limited home office space.  Like the ring light, it is adjustable in terms of the warmth/coolness and brightness you prefer.  Note that some users have commented that it makes their screens “top heavy” and pulls down the back of their laptop when in use.

So, friends, lighten up and get yourself a ring light or similar – your Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, and Teams counterparts will be highly impressed with how great you look on video!  Happy Networking!

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