Everything you need to know about ring lights

So what is a ring light?

The clue is in the name. It’s literally a ring of light that lights your face better on camera.

Customise your ring light

You can usually adjust the colours from warm (yellow-ish) to cold (blue-ish) as well as the brightness. This can help fit your local context as well as present you in your best light (pun definitely intended).

For example, at my desk I have a window that provides a lot of light to the right side of my face. I use my ring light on a blue-ish setting to make content creation more even.

Do you need a ring light?

If you’re someone who is creating content regularly (e.g. a church leader or creative) then a ring light can be super helpful.

You don’t need to be a beauty influencer (although I did feel like an absolute diva purchasing one).

Why buy a ring light?

Lighting goes a long way in getting high-quality visuals because it means the camera doesn’t have to work as hard.

Upgrading your camera gear can cost a lot of dollar but great lighting is much more inexpensive and make a huge difference.

In other words, you will often get better results with a cheap camera + great lighting than vice versa.

Film at night with your ring light

If you live in the UK like me then right now (in November), it’s getting pretty dark pretty early. If you don’t have the luxury of natural light or you want to film in the evening then a ring light can help a lot.

Which ring light is best?

There are plenty to choose from but I bought the Neewer 10inch table top on Amazon for just £33 and am pretty happy with the results. There were some much more expensive options but I’m not sure what else you could want to include for an extra £100+.

Happy content creation – I hope you’ve found this article helpful.

Hi I'm Sats Solanki aka the Digital Rabbi.

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How to leave meaningful comments on Instagram

To maximise the opportunity of social media in reaching more people, we have to learn to move from simply producing content to having conversations.

If you want to reach more people, you need to be talking to more people. If it sounds obvious, it’s because it is.

But this is where so many of us get it wrong. Instead of engaging in conversations online in a similar way to how we do in person, we can often lose that personal touch and start to behave in ways that are a bit spammy.

So how do we have great conversations on Instagram that produce genuine connection and expand our audience? The simplest to start is in the comments section. A proper engagement strategy on Instagram will dedicate time to leaving meaningful and valuable comments.

Define your target audience

Who are you trying to reach? Because it makes sense to spend time interacting with those sort of people.

For example in my sphere, I spend time interacting with churches, creatives and thought leaders. Instagram is an endless game and you simply don’t have enough energy or resource to spend it with everyone.

Get ruthless and actually define your target audience. Note that for churches, your digital audience may well be very different to your Sunday gathering. And that’s ok. It reflects the reality that social media is much better suited towards digital evangelism as opposed to digital discipleship.

Focus on similar communities

If you’re a church but you’re leaving comments on a nightclub then you might be barking up the wrong tree. Not because those particular people don’t need Jesus but simply because it’s not a similar profile.

You can easily leave a few thumbs up or other meaningless emojis on any image but will that really help you create a conversation?

The biggest mistake churches make is to truly believe that everybody is in their target audience. Whilst it’s a nice and inclusive thought, the reality is very different. If you focus on everyone, you will reach no one. By watering down your emphasis, you actually become less palatable full stop.

Make a tangible list

Rather than just a general sense of who you want to interact with, make an actual list of 5-10 accounts that you’re going to start interacting with. They don’t necessarily need to be your target audience but have a shared community that you would like to introduce yourself to.

Avoid short and spammy comments

There is no shortcut to creating comments of value. It actually takes time and we would be foolish to think that we can skip this. So actually watch/read/think about the content you’ve just seen and then add your perspective.

Write a whole sentence or even a paragraph and you’ll instantly jump to the attention of those who scroll.

Be genuine, positive and personal

Say thank you for sharing. Tag the account in question (it may notify them which is an added advantage). Use first names where you can as well as emojis.

If you’re a church or a business then you need to decide your approach in how you personalise things. You can sign off as a volunteer name or you can simply be the brand itself. Just be consistent.

Write something that you loved about the content. Or a question that you have about it. Make it clean, simple and just genuine interaction. Enjoy the process of talking to people.

Focus on being helpful above all

Don’t copy and paste comments all over different accounts. You need to personalise your approach. One of the ways you can do this is by actually responding to other people who comment as well as the account holder.

If you take the time to answer questions others may have, you’ll find them trickling through to follow you.

Allocate time for commenting

After reading above, you may be realising that commenting on Instagram is actually proper work. It requires energy, time, effort, thought and heart to succeed. So instead of checking Instagram every 20 minutes, why don’t you allocate a proper session (30-60 minutes) where you are active in conversation and community. Use the power of batching to help supersize your productivity in this area.

We all know a fake spammy comment when we see one. So don’t be a robot – bring your humanity to the equation and watch and see as people will interact with you and become part of your community too.

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A quick guide to batching

Batching is all about supersizing your productivity through the power of psychology. This might sound grand but it’s really just about understanding how we best work and attempting to create rhythms and disciplines to match.

Short term rewards and the pressures of life condition us into living in a reactionary fashion (think bosses who want immediate results and response) but being deliberate and creating discipline will actually give us the results we (and everyone else) want in the long run.

It requires a certain amount of deliberate effort to put batching into place but is a very important key to create repeatable results.

Productivity is all about self-awareness

Productive people aren’t necessarily more focused or clever than unproductive people. They’re just more aware of their weaknesses.

Our default approach to work is to think of it like a marathon across the day. We keep on chipping away and eventually we (think we will) get everything done.

But in actuality, our focus dips and wanes throughout the day. Some parts of the day, we are absolutely smashing it out and others we are not. As a result, we find that what we accomplish by the end of the day is inevitably less than we expected.

Willpower is not the way

All of us have this sense of optimistic forgetfulness with the working day. “This day will be different”, we tell ourselves as we start with that fresh coffee-infused enthusiasm. It’s not that we don’t want to succeed but that our approach is wrong. It’s simply impossible to motor through the whole day with the same level of energy.

So why do we keep trying the same old approach to work?

What if instead of relying on our own brilliance to show up each hour, we design a system (in our peak focus) that makes being brilliant easier?

So what is batching anyways?

Batching is based around this very idea that every time you shift a mental gear, it costs you in focus. Interruptions such as notifications or emails can cost you dearly too and so often we aren’t even aware of it.

Each of us have a fixed amount of mental energy for focus throughout the day and we want to apply that in the best way possible.

Batching & social media

For example, let’s say for simplicity that it takes one hour to create a social media post. Creating a post every day would take 7 hours but creating seven posts in one sitting would (probably) take more like 3-4 hours.

Note that this approach is less conducive to the communication-filled, interruption-prone days that we are used to working with colleagues who demand an instant response. But it does create better results in the end.

The advantages of batching

Instead of thinking day-to-day, we find that batching helps us think more long-term such as month-to-month. It may not seem like a big change but it has huge implications on our productivity and ability to focus in the future.

The advantages of batching are not just psychological though but also practical. For example, if you are a content creator – being in different modes of work actually requires you to be in different places or with different working set ups.

E.g. when I’m editing a video I want to use my additional monitor. And when I’m filming, I need to be in the studio or have my lighting set up. All of this set up time is wasted when we perform tasks in isolation instead of batching.

Batching in real life

Here are some ways you can use batching to supersize your productivity:

– Recording (not editing) multiple reels (or preaches) in one go
– Spending time on your Instagram engagement strategy (instead of checking Instagram every 20 minutes, why not just set aside an hour to go deep into it each day?)
– Managing email
– Paying bills and other admin
– Meetings. I set aside specific blocks of time for coaching calls and consultation to create space in the rest of the week for deep thinking and creative work.

Your next steps to begin batching

Now it’s over to you. What is occupying your time, energy and attention right now? Perhaps an intense batching sesh will set things right and open up some space.

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Creativity requires courage

Every time I create space to rest and relax, ideas flow without even trying. In fact sometimes even when I don’t, ideas seem to come out of nowhere.

The power of the shower

Much to the apparent chagrin of my wife each morning, this seems to be why I spend so much time in the shower. Simply standing around, doing nothing in particular seems to be particularly conducive to a flow of wondrous ideas and creativity to start the day.

I’m not so sure this is part of my unique brilliance so much as it is part of the wonder of humanity.

Human beings create

People have ideas. It’s what they do. Our natural state is to be infused with the wonders of imagination, dreams and visions. We create because creativity is infused in our very being (reflecting the image of God).

The problem isn’t a lack of creativity but a lack of courage. Because by definition, every great and original idea has to be thoroughly tested with exposure to the world in order to see the light of day. And when we share our creativity, we are baring a piece of our soul.

Even if someone else has done it already, there is still a great emotional cost for us to dare to put ourselves out there. Because why would it work for us?

Courage is a rare commodity

Everyone has the power to create. But not everyone has courage. Courage is the willingness to face failure and even humiliation because of a great prize.

We all nod knowingly when ideas work of course. But contrary to our deepest fears, most people forget our failures pretty quickly, if not instantly. But then again, who really cares what other people think anyways?

Even more fascinating is that because of its rarity, even a little bit of courage causes you to cut through the noise and rise above the crowd.

Love motivates us to be courageous

If we hide ourselves because of fear or shame, was it because we genuinely cared about others or honoured what we had been given to share the world or was it simply because we lacked courage?

What ideas are you sitting on that need a little injection of courage?

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