4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips

1 November 2022

As a vlogger, you probably already spend a lot of time thinking about the quality of your video and audio. But what about your vlog lighting setup? Whether you’re a beginner vlogger or someone with plenty of devoted fans, the right lighting system can make a huge difference. The right vlog lighting can brighten your setting, draw attention to your subject, and make the colours in your video even more vibrant, all while keeping your viewers engaged for the whole video.

But what kind of lighting do YouTubers use? And how do you set up a light for your vlog? To help shed light on this aspect of vlog filming, we’ve rounded up our 4 essential vlog lighting tips for creating great vlogs. From which vlog lighting setups to use to a rundown on three-point lighting, read on to get the info you need to start filming well-lit videos today.

1. Start with a simple lighting setup

How do you choose the best video light for YouTube? You don’t always need the latest and greatest equipment to start a successful vlog, so there’s no need to spend a fortune on high-end equipment - or at least, not yet. When you’re first starting out as a vlogger, learn how to make the most of the lighting that’s available to you. As you become more advanced, you can focus on manipulating it with the help of video lighting gear.

The first step to shooting better videos is understanding the two different types of lighting:

4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips
  • Natural or ambient lighting. Natural light is the best light, and it doesn’t cost a cent. For your next vlogging shoot, try to head outside and find a well-lit location. If your blog's content isn’t conducive to an outdoor shoot (for example, if you’re a food vlogger), set up your shot close to a window. Open the curtains and blinds so the natural light streams in, and aim to shoot during the day, when the light is at its brightest.
  • Use a reflector. This handy tool directs natural light toward your face or subject and prevents harsh shadows from forming and distracting your viewers. If you’re looking for cheap lighting for vlogging, it’s a budget-friendly addition to your lighting setup. Plus, you can use it when you’re working with both natural and artificial light. Who doesn’t love a multi-tasker?

2. Work out the best type of lighting for your subject

4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips

Now that you have a grasp on natural lighting and reflectors, it’s time to move on to a specific vlogging lighting setup to suit your style, goal, and budget.

Here’s the breakdown of basic lighting techniques for video: 

  • If you shoot lots of close-up products, use a ring light for vlogging.This is a go-to for food, fashion, and beauty vloggers who want to showcase the finer details that make their content stand out.
  • If you speak directly to the camera or conduct interviews, consider attaching an LED light for vlogging to your digital camera. The best portable vlogging lights will illuminate your face and gently diffuse light for the most aesthetically pleasing finish.
  • If you’re a professional vlogger, you’ll need a high-quality studio lighting setup to match your production. This should include studio lights, backdrops, and softboxes.

Still not sure what light is best for vlogging? Check out our blog post comparing the benefits of a soft box versus a ring light for vlogging.

3. Learn the three-point lighting setup

This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost the production value of your vlog. As its name suggests, it involves using three different lights that perform separate tasks.

Key light

This is the brightest light of the three, and is responsible for lighting up your subject. For the best results, position it at a roughly 45-degree angle relative to your subject.

Fill light

Not quite as strong as the key light but still offering moderate illumination, the fill light is there to soften any shadows that may negatively affect the look and feel of your vlog.

Back light

The back light separates your subject from the background, so you’ll want to place it behind your subject.

4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips

4. Practice your lighting techniques in the leadup to a shoot

As with photography, lighting can make or break your vlog - so don’t just pull out your gear on the day of your shoot. Instead, spend some time practicing your studio lighting techniques beforehand so that you can focus on creating content on the day.

To master vlog lighting, follow these tips:

4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips4 Essential Vlog Lighting Tips
  • Play around with the position of the lights. Tilting a light or moving it forwards or backwards just a few centimetres can have a huge effect on your lighting. Experiment with placement, and note the results.
  • Keep a sketchbook. Along with taking notes, try to draw diagrams of your favourite lighting techniques. That way, you can easily refer to your sketchbook to trigger your memory.
  • Find a look that aligns with your brand. Once you’ve developed a lighting style that you like, stick with it. Your vlog is your brand, so you want to make sure your lighting is consistent. This will make your vlog appear more professional, and your viewers will appreciate this consistency on a subconscious level.

As always, the goal is to improve, so don’t be put off if you take a while to get the hang of lighting techniques for video production. Soon enough, it will become second nature and you’ll be able to choose the right lighting to suit your scene.

Invest in a vlog lighting setup

In addition to great, consistent content, distinctive and professional-looking lighting can take your vlog to the next level and help you cut through the crowds on YouTube, TikTok, Vimeo, and other platforms. If you’re still on the hunt for the best vlogging camera, check out our top 5 vlogging cameras here. 

To make sure you have the best lighting in your YouTube videos and alike, head to your local Ted’s Cameras store. Our expert team will make sure you get the right lighting gear to suit your budget and unique vlog style.

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