BlakeC wrote in post #17779668
I like it! Someone said earlier they don't like the look of the many bulbs and that it needs a diffuser panel. Well, like him, some people don't like the looks of a ring light at all, even with a diffuser. It's just a personal preference.
I said that, but I don't mind it so much at this distance of the example here, since it's just points of light. But I've seen examples of bare-bulb setups just like this used for tight closeups, and I could see the geometry of the individual bulbs, and in some cases even the support structure. For me, it was distracting because I didn't focus on the model or composition at all, my eyes were immediately drawn to the sharp details of the spiral bulbs--they were the unintentional subject of the image and I didn't care for it. Softboxes are usually square or roundish (polygonal for structural reasons) to look like natural sources (window, sun, etc.) for this reason, so their reflections and catchlights aren't curiously distracting.
Ring light and ring flash closeups also have a characteristic catchlight, of course, but usually with less detail. I notice the ring, but still see the shot, rather than lean into the screen thinking "are those CFLs I see in his eyes?"
It is personal preference, certainly, and also a matter of whether or not the photographer wants the unusual catchlights to be the focus of the image.