When it comes to creating standout content on YouTube, lighting isn’t just a detail—it’s a star player. It’s the difference between a video that’s merely watchable and one that captures and holds attention, conveying professionalism and quality.
For aspiring YouTube creators and vets alike, understanding and conquering the art of lighting is crucial. This article isn’t just about shedding light on the subject; it’s about illuminating a path to better content.
See what we did there?
We’re going into the bright world of lighting for YouTube videos, from unraveling the basics to exploring advanced techniques.
We’ll introduce you to some of the top lighting manufacturers, whose gear can transform your visual storytelling.
Plus, we’ll guide you through the nitty-gritty of setting up your lights, angling them for the perfect shot, and choosing backdrops and colors that complement your lighting to create a look that aligns with your vibe.
And here’s the best part, as we walk through these essential tips and tricks, we’ll link you to some solid lighting equipment out there.
These are handpicked products available on Amazon, chosen for their ability to take your YouTube videos from good to great.
Whether you’re shooting a podcast, a tutorial, or a product review, getting the lighting right can be your ticket to YouTube success.
Before we turn on the lights and start this journey together, we’ve got to let you know that we’re Amazon Associates and we earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no extra cost to you and the money we make helps us keep the blog alive.
BOOM! Here we go!
The Basics of Video Lighting
Before we delve into the specifics of lighting setups and gear, let’s get a grip on some fundamental lighting concepts.
These basics are the building blocks for all that follows, ensuring that when you choose and set up your lighting, you’re doing so with a solid understanding of what creates the best visual impact.
The Language of Light in Video Production
This term refers to the warmth or coolness of light, measured in Kelvins (K). Lower numbers mean warmer, yellowish light (like a sunrise or candlelight), while higher numbers indicate cooler, bluish light (similar to a cloudy day).
Understanding color temperature is essential because it sets the mood of your video and needs to match the environment you’re trying to emulate.
Simply put, lumens measure the brightness of a light source. More lumens mean a brighter light. For video production, balancing lumens across your lighting setup is key to avoiding harsh shadows or overly bright spots.
Soft vs. Hard Light
Soft light is diffused, reducing shadows and creating a more even light across the subject. Hard light, on the other hand, is direct and can create strong shadows and a more dramatic effect.
Both have their place in video production, depending on the style and tone you’re aiming for.
Lighting Affects Video Quality and Engagement
Good lighting does more than just make your video look professional; it affects how viewers perceive and engage with your content. Well-lit videos are easier on the eyes, making viewers more likely to watch longer and engage more.
Lighting also helps in conveying the mood of the content, whether it’s a bright, cheerful vlog or a moody, dramatic short film.
Also, YouTube is COMPETITIVE. Your content could be great, but if your lighting sucks you’ll have a hard time getting people to stick around.
We struggled with this when we launched our video podcast. And, to be completely honest, we’re still working on it!
Our Favorite Lighting Brands
Venturing into the world of lighting equipment can be overwhelming, given the plethora of options available. To simplify your journey, we’ve narrowed down some of the top lighting manufacturers whose products have become staples for YouTube creators.
Here, we’ll introduce you to a few industry leaders and their standout products that are sure to enhance your video production quality.
Neewer – The All-Rounder
Plus, it can be used with webcams, or more heavy duty cameras.
Lume Cube – The Innovator
Lume Cube is a company specializing in premium lighting solutions designed primarily for content creators, including those making YouTube videos.
They offer a range of products aimed at enhancing visual quality and professional appeal. Some of their most popular products include:
For Creators of All Levels
These products cater to the diverse needs of content creators, from enhancing simple webcam setups to professional studio lighting.
Elgato – The Streamer’s Choice
Elgato is a company known for creating high-quality lighting solutions, especially popular among streamers and content creators.
They offer a range of products like key lights and light strips that are favored for their ease of use and integration with other streaming gear.
If you’re looking to add some color and create a vibe thats on brand, check out the Elgato Light Strips. These are great for putting under shelves, desks, computer monitors and more.
Setting Up YouTube Lighting
Achieving the perfect lighting for your YouTube videos doesn’t have to be a puzzle. With the right approach and a bit of know-how, you can set up your lights to enhance your videos significantly.
Basic Lighting Equipment Setup
Start by selecting your primary light source. This could be a ring light, an LED panel, or a softbox, depending on your content type and personal preference.
To avoid harsh shadows on the opposite side of your main light, consider using a fill light. This should be less intense than your main light and placed on the opposite side at a similar angle.
Advanced Lighting Setups
For a more professional look, employ the three-point lighting setup. This includes your main light (key light), a fill light to soften shadows, and a backlight to separate you from the background, giving depth to your shot.
Reflectors are a budget-friendly way to bounce light back onto the subject, softening and filling in shadows. They’re particularly useful in setups with limited light sources.
In smaller rooms, be cautious of light bounce from walls. Use softer lights or diffusers to minimize harsh reflections and shadows.
If you’re using natural light from a window, position your setup to complement it. Avoid mixing different color temperatures; if your room is flooded with daylight, use lights that match this temperature for consistency.
Also, it takes time and experimentation to really dial in the look you want. We’re still experimenting with lighting for our flagship podcast, CLIPPED. And to be honest, we’re still not perfectly happy with our look.
Choosing Backdrops and Colors
This is the fun part!
The backdrop and colors you choose for your YouTube videos can significantly impact the viewer’s experience.
These elements not only contribute to the aesthetic appeal but also play a vital role in ensuring your lighting looks its best.
Pick something that suits your style, and have fun with colors, furniture, wall art, and objects that speak to you and your audience.
Selecting Backdrops for Different Types of Videos
For podcasts, vlogs and lifestyle content, choose backdrops that are simple and uncluttered. A plain wall or a neatly organized room can work well. You want your audience to focus on you, not the background.
If you’re creating professional or educational content: Opt for more formal backdrops like a home office, bookshelves, or a backdrop with muted colors. It adds a touch of professionalism without being distracting.
When making creative and artistic Content, feel free to experiment with vibrant colors, patterns, or themed backdrops that align with your content’s mood and style.
These are just ideas, obviously you do you! There’s no right or wrong way to choose a background, work with what you got and what feels right for your style.
Lighting and Background Interaction
Here are some things to be mindful of when setting up your space for filming:
Choose colors that complement your skin tone and clothing. Avoid colors that clash or are too similar to your outfit, as they can cause you to blend into the background.
Be mindful that dark colors absorb light while light colors reflect it. A very bright backdrop can throw off the balance of your lighting, while a very dark one might necessitate additional lighting.
Achieving a Professional Look On a Low Budget
You don’t need expensive setups for a great backdrop. A well-positioned curtain, a roll of seamless paper, or even a painted wall can serve as effective backdrops.
Experiment with lighting to create different effects on your backdrop. For example, a soft light can create a gentle glow on a plain backdrop, adding depth and interest to your videos.
The Art of Lighting A Scene
Lighting is an art, and like any art, it takes practice and knowledge to perfect. In this section, we’ll explore some advanced techniques and strategies to help you achieve professional-quality lighting in your YouTube videos.
Advanced Lighting Tips For YouTube
Experiment with Shadows
Understanding how to use shadows can add drama and depth to your videos. Experiment with the angle and distance of lights to create varying shadow effects.
Using color gels on your lights can add a creative and moody feel to your videos. This is particularly effective for thematic content or music videos.
Dealing with Challenging Lighting Situations
When filming outdoors, consider the time of day. The golden hour, just after sunrise or before sunset, provides soft, warm lighting. Use reflectors to manage shadows to dial in your picture.
In low-light settings, avoid overcompensating with too bright lights. Instead, use multiple light sources at lower intensities to create a balanced and natural look.
Continuously Improving Your Lighting Setup
Regularly review your videos to assess your lighting. Pay attention to viewer feedback regarding visual quality.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different setups and equipment. Sometimes unconventional setups can yield surprisingly effective results.
Professional-quality lighting is about balancing art and technique. With these practices and strategies, you’re well on your way to creating visually stunning and engaging content for your YouTube audience.
YouTube Lighting Final Thoughts
We’ve journeyed through the world of lighting for YouTube videos, covering everything from the basics of lighting to advanced techniques and strategies.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to enhance your current setup, remember that good lighting is key to creating visually appealing and engaging content.
The right lighting can transform your videos, bringing out the best in your subjects and setting the mood for your storytelling.
Remember, the gear we’ve discussed, linked conveniently to Amazon, is more than just equipment; it’s a pathway to bringing your creative vision to life.
Don’t shy away from experimenting with different setups and manufacturers to find what works best for you. Like any art, video lighting is a continual learning process, and there’s always room for improvement and innovation.
Our Lighting Call To Action
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge and resources, why not take the next step?
Check out the recommended products on Amazon and start getting better lighting for your YouTube videos.
Share your experiences, ask questions, or offer advice in the comments section below. Let’s build a community of creators who support and inspire each other in the pursuit of perfecting their craft.
Keep Listening, Keep Engaging and Keep Creating
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