Lighting Your Video Blog

video lightsOne of the trickiest aspects of making a video blog is the lighting. Not quite enough and you look scary; a little too much and you look washed out. Lighting can make or break a video blog so it’s worth taking some extra time to set up and check – or you’ll end up re-filming a couple times because the color is off [and yes, I speak from experience…frustrating experience.]

The best lighting you can use is outdoor lighting. However, you can’t just be-bop outside around lunch and record your video wherever you want. The best times of day to record outside are the golden hours of dawn and dusk. Believe me, it will really help your skin look a nice color during those times. If you can’t do it during those rapidly closing windows of your day do your best to avoid bright direct sunlight. If it is a bright, shiny day record your video in the shade; sounds funny, but it works! Cloudy days will give you better light to film because the clouds diffuse the sun for you. Just be careful if the clouds are moving; your video lighting can change in just 3 min. or less [yes, more actual experience on my part…frustrating experience].

A great way that many people utilize outdoor lighting is by sitting near a window. The main trick with this is to have the window in front of, or beside, you. Do not record your video with the window behind you; unless you need to hide your face and remain anonymous. You still have to be aware of bright sunlight and moving clouds, but if you can light 3/4 of your face with the light of the window you have most of your lighting problem solved.

light your video

Unfortunately, we can’t always film outside. Sometimes it rains, or snows, or gets dark before we can put the kids to bed and record a video. You can still have nice lighting without spending a lot of money.

I want to caution you that using multiple types of lighting can cause a problem. Example: You have a nice place beside a window to film your video, but it’s getting dark so you turn on the lamp too. Depending on the type of light bulb you are using you might have introduced another color of light into the video that can mess up your lighting. You’ve probably heard of cool vs. warm light bulbs; and you probably know that flourescent light bulbs require different settings on a camera. It can cause problems if you mix those colors/types of lights in a video.

If they are the same type of light it doesn’t matter what you use – lamps, construction lights, or fancy photography lights. My opinion is to use what you have until you know what you really need.

three point lighting

Three Point Lighting Picture From

A good way to think of lighting is in a triangle. You want a light off to each side and one in front of you, and it works even better if you angle the triangle a bit so that the tip is not directly in front of you.

  1. One light in front of you to light your face, but slightly to the side. [key]
  2. Second light off to your side but slightly in front of you [fill]
  3. Third light off to the other side but slightly behind you. [back]
It’s good to have the light in front of you reflect out of your eyes [catch light], and the light behind you to give depth to the video. The other side light should help to fill in and eliminate shadows.
In this video from videomaker you can hear all the official terms and see how they set up three point lighting:


If you are recording a pretty close up video you can probably get away with one light source, but you don’t have to just take my word for it.

Here are some articles on – which is a great resource, even though it’s geared towards professional videographers.

Whatever you do – don’t give up! Try something, make a video; and then try something else for the next video. In my experience the lighting has to be checked and tweaked for every video – unless you have a studio in a room with a door where there are no windows, as well as no children or pets to bump into things.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this. I saw videomaker’s video also and it was a little technical for me. I like your explanation and image. I’ve doing OK with daylight and being in front of a window most of the times but I agree it’s better when it’s not high noon! Around 4pm where I am works great around this time of year.
    Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty´s last blog post ..Benefits of Oatmeal for Your Skin and a Recipe


  2. Thanks for sharing, great post! For amateur or professional videographers who don’t have the budget for professional lighting kits such as Arri kits or other brands, we’ve found an extremely cheap and professional custom lighting kit. The key is “colortrans” lighting, they’re professional lights made in the 1970’s and are extremely cheap on ebay compared to other lighting. After using a few $40 spot/floodlights and fresnels from ebay in our film productions, we’ve found they were very high quality and will continue to use them on all our shoots, even feature films.

    We recommend spending $20-$40 a month on ebay on these colortrans lighting setups, and eventually within the year you’ll be surprised at how much of a kit you’ve built up!

    If you’d like to check out any of our productions, please visit our site:



  3. This is the most helpful lighting round-up ever. Bookmarked, saved, Pinned…and I may have kissed my screen. (Not really but I felt like it.) Thank you Jendi!
    Jessica McFadden´s last blog post ..Pack Your Lunch, Feed a Child, #FeedADream {sponsored}


    VloggingQueen Reply:

    @Jessica McFadden, LOL! You are so welcome. I’m glad it can help.


  4. Thanks for the post. Really I was not aware of the lights (key,fill and back). this post has became very useful for me as I am going to start a video tutorials in youtube. Thanks


  5. Great idea many thanks for writing
    Lighting Magic Lighting´s last blog post ..Lighting Magic Lighting



  1. […] 4) This link is on the random side…however it’s exciting!! Very soon I will finally be taking the plunge to start making my own makeup videos! I’m super pumped about it. But obvs I don’t know the first thing about making vids, so this link really helped inform me on some of the basics of proper lighting. […]

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