For a lot of teachers, virtual classrooms have become the new normal, and they’re learning the tips and tricks to make teaching online easier and more successful. One of those tips is making sure you’ve got the right lighting for your webcam. It’s an easy change that can make a lot of difference, so we’ve rounded up the best ring lights for teachers navigating this new digital environment.
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Why bother with ring lights?
As this picture shows, having the right lighting can make an enormous difference. And it’s not all about “looking good”—better lighting means your students can see your face more clearly. This is especially important when you’re teaching subjects like phonics.
Ring lights also mean you can set up your virtual classroom anywhere, without having to worry about the existing lighting. They compensate for lack of overhead lights or a window in an inconvenient spot. They’re a small investment that can make a big impact.
What are some tips for using ring lights?
Once you buy a ring light, be sure to play around with it to make the most of its benefits.
- Good ring lights come with a variety of light filters and settings. Warm light filters are often more natural and realistic than harsh bright white, but it really depends. Additionally, many lights are dimmable. Take advantage of that fact and use just enough light to highlight your face without hurting your eyes.
- Experiment with angles and devices too. Try using your phone or tablet as a camera in the attached holder. Then you can keep your laptop wherever it’s most useful for you while you teach without worrying about camera angles.
- Light still too much for your eyes? Add a fabric diffuser like the one shown above to help soften the brightness. Here’s one to try from Amazon. Or you can use an old photography trick and “bounce” the light. Place a piece of white cardboard or a white sheet behind the light, and turn the light around to face it. The cardboard will reflect the light back onto your face, but you won’t have to stare directly at it.
Best Ring Lights for Teachers
Ready to try one? These are some of our favorite ring lights for teachers, all available on Amazon and well-reviewed by teachers just like you.
Erligpowht 10″ Selfie Ring Light With Tripod and Phone Holder
Why We Like It: With nearly 3,500 five-star reviews, this moderately-priced ring light is a safe bet. The tripod adjusts from 18″ to 50″, and a simple switch allows you to change between three light modes and adjust the brightness. It includes a phone holder too.
Real Teacher Review: “Great value for the size! I’m a teacher and I bought it at the start of distance learning to enhance my videos. Worked excellent for this purpose and was on the lower end of the cost spectrum. Would buy again.”
Buy It: Erligpowht 10″ Selfie Ring Light
Yingnuost 10″ LED Ring Light With Tablet Holder
Why We Like It: This adjustable-height ring light includes a holder for a tablet and a cell phone. It has three light modes and ten brightness levels, all easily accessed through a switch on the cord.
Real Teacher Review: “I teach online. This stand makes my life so much easier. I am able to start and stop video with the remote button. The different lighting options make it easy to create the perfect video every time. Plus the price is excellent. It was affordable but still quality made!”
Buy It: Yingnuost 10″ LED Ring Light
Emart 10″ Ring Light With Tripod
Why We Like It: This well-reviewed option was recommended by CNN. Like the others, it has a built-in dimmer and three light filter options, and an adjustable tripod with a phone holder. The price is reasonable too.
Real Teacher Review: “Love this! Definitely helps with lighting during remote teaching. I keep it adjusted to the shortest height and it fits on my desk next to my laptop. I also use the phone holder attachment. Super helpful.”
Buy It: Emart 10″ Ring Light With Tripod
Neewer 18″ Ring Light Kit
Why We Like It: If you’re in the market for a bigger light and don’t mind spending a little more, try Amazon’s most popular seller. With a whopping 15,000 five-star reviews, this professional-grade option ensures your lighting will be perfect.
Real Teacher Review: “This ring light is great. I use it for lighting when I’m filming myself for my online classes. It provides nice, no-shadow lighting, and I love the ability to go from dim to very bright.”
Buy It: Neewer 18″ Ring Light Kit
QIAYA Selfie Ring Light Clip
Why We Like It: No room for a bulky tripod, or looking for a bargain option? A clip-on ring light is the way to go! These work for phones, tablets, and laptops or monitors. We like this model because it comes with an adapter cord to plug into a power source rather than relying on batteries than can die mid-stream.
Real Teacher Review: “As an online teacher, I can’t believe I taught without this for so long. I was constantly fighting the lighting in my office. I decided to try this little gadget to give some light to my webcam. The adjustable light is great and it clips on my computer so I don’t have to take up any desk space.”
Buy It: QIAYA Selfie Ring Light Clip
Cyezcor Clip On Monitor Light
Why We Like It: Here’s another well-priced clip-on option. This one has multiple light filters and is dimmable too. The adjustable mount means you can clip it wherever it works best and adjust the light as needed.
Real Teacher Review: “Cheap and does the job right. The light works great, it ranges from warm to white are enough. It clips onto my Mac with ease and is very sturdy and solid. Since it’s a USB, I have to use a mac adapter. I purchased this because most of my day is spent on video conferencing and I needed something to clearly show my face (and also remove all those ugly shadows).”
Buy It: Cyezcor Clip On Monitor Light
QQAPPU USB Book Clamp Light
Why We Like It: Looking for a multi-tasking option? This clip-on light can also serve as a reading light. The long gooseneck lets you clip it anywhere you have room, then tilt the light for the best placement.
Real Teacher Review: “I brought this product to help me with my online teaching class. And I love how easy it was to clip on plug into the computer and the light is great.”
Buy It: QQAPPU USB Book Clamp Light
UNZANO Streaming Webcam With Ring Light
Why We Like It: If you’re looking to upgrade your webcam, why not buy one with a built-in ring light? It saves time, trouble, and money. This one has great reviews and is easy to use.
Real Teacher Review: “This camera does what it advertises. I am teaching from home and it works really well. It catches more details than my laptop camera did. I use it for personal and professional applications and it was a seamless integration with the programs I have run it with (Zoom, Roll20, Loom, Screencastify).”
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