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Can You Use A Ring Light For Food Photography

Can You Use A Ring Light For Food Photography

Ring lights have become a mainstay in the setup of many photographers around the world. Ring lights work best for lighting faces, but can you use them for product or food photography as well? Let's dive in and find out how to best use your ring light for food photography or for product photography!

What Is A Ring Light?

Ring lights provide photographers with an additional light source. Ring lights are usually circle-shaped, though other more rare shapes do exist. These tools have risen dramatically in popularity over the past few years, and have become a mainstay in many photography and videography setups.

using a ring light for food photography

LED ring lights usually go hand in hand with smartphone photography. Some ring lights are directly attachable to camera lenses and cellphones. The main purpose of a ring light is to offer warm and well-lit light for photographers and videographers capturing human faces.

Countless ring lights are available online and they come in various sizes. Some ring lights provide a continuous source of light, while other types have a flash option. 

How Does A Ring Light Work?

The main function of a ring light is to provide photographers and videographers with direct light for their subject. When taking a photograph of a face from the center of the ring light, the entire face will be evenly lit.

Many of the ring light options available today come with LED lights. These lights offer a clear white light to your subject. Most ring lights also come with various light settings, whereby the user can control the exact brightness of the light.

So ring lights are amazing for lighting faces. But are they good for food or product photography? The answer is...not really. This is because the light is not optimally diffused and the round shape can cause bizarre glare spots that are hard to edit out. If you already own a ring light, however, you can try to improve the light quality for food or product photography by shining it through a diffuser like a pillow case or a "scrim" from a 5-in-1 reflector set. A scrim is the round thing in this photo. It spreads light out to make it less harsh and helps soften shadows.

How To Use A Ring Light For Food or Product Photography

If you already own a ring light, go ahead and try this trick to see how your food and product photos look. If you don't own any artificial light yet, you'll want to look into non-ring light options if you want the best lighting for product photography at home

How To Use A Ring Light For Food or Product Photography

Photographers want to know what the best lighting for product photography is. We suggest using three-point lighting. Having light available from three different sources allows you to control how light and shadows change the ambiance of a photograph.

Add two extra lights in combination with your ring light and this will take your photography to the next level. The extra light captures those finer details by adding an extra dimension of depth and clarity to your photographs. It also reduces shadows, if you're going for photos with soft, minimal shadows.

If you are mostly creating your content indoors, then this setup is a perfect alternative to using only natural light. Getting the perfect shot of your food depends all on the angle and how well it combines with the additional source of light and modifiers.

Again, if you do decide to use a ring light for your food photos, you can always drape a light white cloth over the light to diffuse it and cast less drastic shadows.

Correctly lighting a white background for product photography is easier to do as you don’t have to worry as much about distracting contrasts in your shot.

Choosing the Right Backdrop

No matter which kind of lighting you choose, you’re going to need to find the ideal backdrop to showcase your food.

There are plenty of options to choose from, but a Natura Walnut backdrop will give your photos an air of rustic authenticity that makes them stand out against the competition.

These kinds of backdrops are easy to light correctly and work well as a base or background.

Types Of Light

Key Light

should you use a ring light for food photography

A ring light functions as the main source of light in a three-point lighting system. This type of light is also known as a key light. The main function of a key light is to give the photograph its overall look and feel.

Depending on the positioning of the key light, it can cast shadows on a subject creating an extra layer of depth. The brightness of the ring light can also determine the mood and feel of a photograph.

Fill Light

A fill light mirrors the key light on the opposite side of the camera setup. The main function of the fill light is to remove the shadow the key light puts on the subject. The overall brightness or dimness of the fill light can create the mood for the photograph.

This leads into how to use umbrella lights for product photography. An umbrella light reflects light onto the subject to remove the shadows from the key light. The combination of the fill light and key light creates the overall feel of the photograph.


Backlights add light on a subject from behind. This creates a rim around the subject, removing them from the background while also adding an extra layer of depth to the photograph.

The backlight is usually put directly behind the subject and directly opposite to the key light. Many people also tend to call backlights a “rim light” or “hair light.”

Flash Or Continuous Light?

Ring lights can function as either a flash or continuous light option. Using the flash option will allow the battery of the ring light to last longer and it may also be a better option when shooting outdoors.

You may have to adjust the lighting many times in order to get the intensity and brightness to suit your style. If you are not worried about your battery running out then you can use your ring light continuously to ensure that all your photographs are consistently lit.

Are Ring Lights Good For Product Photography?

Many people ask if ring lights are good for product photography. Like with food photography, ring lights work the best as a source of light for faces. Ring lights are not the greatest option for food and product photography. But if you already own, using a diffusion cloth should soften the light on the ring light.

Using a ring light for food and product photographs can still provide some benefits. These accessories can showcase the details on the subject without casting any shadows. Ring lights also work well with close-up photography.

They form part of the lighting setup of countless makeup artists and hairstylists. 

The best LED lights for product photography combine excellently with our Replica Surfaces. Our diverse assortment of backdrops is the perfect addition to spice up your product photography. They work great for an assortment of objects, big or small.

can you use a ring light to take food photos


Ring lights offer an excellent additional source of lighting to take your photography to the next level. They come in many different sizes and are available at various price points. These accessories work well for most types of photography, but they’re not the first place you should look for food or product photography.

Ring lights are best for lighting up the face and highlighting details. 

If you already own a ring light and want to try it, place a layer of diffusion over the ring light to soften it.

And definitely don't forget to add Replica Surfaces to your shoot!

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