Lighting is one the most important elements of your webcam setup, but it’s often overlooked. To perform their best, cameras need a controlled amount of light—if it’s too dark or too bright, it can heavily affect the video quality. So let’s look at some simple, home-office-friendly solutions to this problem so you can look better on your next video call.
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What to Look for in a Webcam Light
Here are a few things you should know when considering different lights.
- Design: There are many ways to design a light, but the main ones you’ll see on this list are light panels and ring lights. Panels have powerful lights and are especially great if you have multiple to balance each other out from different angles. Meanwhile, ring lights tend to be less powerful, but are designed to evenly light up your face by themselves.
- Settings: Any light you pick-up should include at least some lighting modes so you can adjust the brightness or color temperature. Depending on the amount of light already in your room and the type of webcam you have, you might need more or less light. An option to adjust the temperature of the light from cooler, white light to warmer, and yellow light is also appreciated.
- Mounts and Arms: Whether it’s an adjustable tripod, suction cup, or arm, it’s important to be aware of how the light needs to be set up. Tripods come in all shapes and sizes but larger ones can take up a lot of space, while smaller ones may not reach high enough. Suction cups are highly versatile but can be bothersome when it comes time for removal. And arms tend to be a more permanent solution that aren’t great for transport but are highly adjustable and stable.
- Power: When it comes to power, you’ll see a few different methods on this list. Some lights will just plug into a USB power source (whether that’s a brick on the wall or your computer), others use AC adapters, and some just use AA batteries. We’ll mention what to expect from each light in this regard.
Best for Most People: UBeesize 10-Inch Ring Light
Ring lights are great, simple lighting solutions that evenly spread light across your entire face, and at 10-inches, this model from UBeesize is a great size for a desk setup. The included tripod is excellent if you want to set the light on the floor or behind your monitors, and there’s even a mount for your phone (great if you’re using it as your webcam). And with 33 levels of brightness, you should have no trouble finding the right setting for you. For power, It just plugs into your computer via a USB cord, so there’s no need to worry about batteries.
Budget Alternative: Whellen Selfie Ring Light
If you don’t want to spend too much on your lighting rig, then this simple ring light from Whellen should be right up your alley. While it doesn’t offer anything fancy, it can clip onto your laptop or monitor and does a nice job at lighting up your face. There are three levels of brightness and all you need to power it is two AA batteries.
A Premium Option: Elgato Ring Light
When it comes to ring lights, there’s nothing more over the top than Elgato’s. While definitely pricey, this 17-inch light is highly customizable, both in angles and lighting strength, and even features a mounting ball for a DSLR camera. The padded clamp on the light arm ensures your desk won’t be damaged when it’s installed, while also granting great stability for moving the light into whatever position you need it in. All you need to do for power is plug in the AC adapter, and make sure to download Elgato’s software (Windows/iOS/Android) for this light so you can access all of its features.
Professional Solution: Neewer Portable Photography Lighting Kit
This two-pack of USB, LED lights puts the control in your hands, allowing you to have a lighting setup tailored to your situation. You can adjust the height and angle thanks to the included tripods, adjust the strength and warmth of the lighting with the remote, and utilize the included filters for a more colorful look. If you’re looking for a lighting setup you can fine-tune to perfection, then this kit from Neewer will give you that without breaking the bank.
A Nice Lamp: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
But maybe you want something that can sit on your desk without looking out of place. Well then, TaoTonics has the product for you, as its LED desk lamp can provide a good amount of light without being an eyesore. There are five different brightness and color settings to choose between, you can swivel the lamp to light up the correct area, it plugs into a wall outlet, and it even includes a wireless phone charger built into the base. On top of that, the sleek, minimalist design is a welcome sight in any office.
Versatile: Jelly Comb LED Light
If you change location frequently, a more elaborate lighting rig isn’t the best idea. That’s why this LED light from Jelly Comb is so great. While it still features a powerful LED light (which is also customizable in both brightness and warmth with the on-device buttons), the more notable feature is the included mounts. One is a suction cup that can be stuck to the back of monitors or a wall, while the other is a small tripod for resting the light on your desk. It also features an internal battery that can be charged through a USB cable.
Whether you’re on the road or need a light you can bring to and from the office, this compact light is a fantastic solution.
All-in-One: Razer Kiyo Webcam
Of course, you could always just get an HD webcam that has lights built-in if you don’t need the best lighting possible. And the Kiyo webcam from Razer is just that—a high-quality USB webcam with a built-in ring light. It records in 1080p HD, so the video quality itself won’t suffer, and you can adjust the light’s strength through Razer Synapse. While the lighting you get from this webcam won’t be as good as some of the other options listed here, rolling your webcam and lighting rig into one product simplifies your setup—the Kiyo can even fold-up for easy storage when not in use.
Lighting can be a tricky thing to figure out, but the time you spend on it will be rewarded with a much-improved image. Whether you’re picking up a simple ring light or a nice lamp, all the products on this list will help light up your world.