One day, I found myself Googling “Kim Kardashian selfie tips” (I realize I’m part of the problem here, but the girl knows how to find her light), and discovered her favorite selfie accessory: the LuMee Duo, a smartphone case kitted out with an onboard lighting system to mimic the glow of a flattering-on-everyone ring light.
The design is simple: dual rows of LEDs run along each side of the case (front and back), and bathe your face in transformative light whenever you need it. I decided to buy it on a lark, convinced I was throwing $68 directly out the window, but at least I’d have a fun story. Instead, it’s become my constant companion.
First of all: the light. You’ll find that it’s beyond embarrassing to use the LuMee Duo in public (you’re flashing a blazing rectangle of light onto yourself and everyone in the vicinity, after all), but it produces undeniably perfect photos. Turn it on and you’re awash in a warm (or incandescent, depending on your preference) radiance that’s almost angelic. You know how makeup contouring is all about creating the perfect shadows and light on your face? The LuMee’s glow is the effect it’s going for.
The advancement of the new Duo (which came out late last year) is, of course, the rows of LEDs now on the back of the case. Not just for selfies anymore, the case gives your phone powerful lighting on both sides — it’s like your flashlight app on steroids. Now, my main photography subject is actually not myself, but my black chihuahua, Casey. He’s impossible to photograph in anything other than full sunlight, but the Duo has turned my pet photos into Instagram gold. Not only that — if I drop something on the floor of a movie theater, the powerful light means I’ll spot it right away. Add to that the powerful battery: a full USB charge lasts over two hours of continuous use; I only juice mine up once every two weeks or so, and I’ve spent $68 on stupider things.
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