There are two main lighting setups used by online video creators: three-point lighting and front lighting.
Section 1: Three Point Lighting Tutorial
The ‘three points’ in three-point lighting are your key light, fill light and backlight.
1. Set your key light up behind your camera and off to one side.
Your key light needs to be a strong, steady, light source. All of the kits listed in Part 2 of this article include steady lights that can serve as key lights.
2. Focus your key light on your subject.
Block out some of the light coming from your key light so it is not hitting your background. Some professional lights are compatible with barn doors or fresnels, which have metal doors that can be partially closed over a light.
Softboxes also produce directional light.
3. Check the intensity of your key light.
You do not want your key light to make you squint or blink while you are on camera. If it is too hard on your eyes you will need to use a diffuser to soften it.
Softboxes diffuse light, and so do photography umbrellas. You can also get diffusers that are just sheets of translucent fabric stretched over a frame and mount them in front of your lights.
4. Set up your fill light on the opposite side of your subject to your key light.
The fill light’s purpose is to soften the shadows cast by the key light, without completely erasing them. It should be a less intense light than your key light.
You can use a softbox or an umbrella to soften your fill light. If your fill light is still too bright, consider using an umbrella or reflector in place of electric light.
A reflector is a reflective piece of fabric that bounces light. In this situation, you would be using your reflector to bounce light coming from your key light back at your subject. Reflectors come in white (white light), silver (colder light), and gold (warmer light).
The insides of umbrellas are also reflectors.
5. Set up your backlight behind your subject.
Your backlight’s job is to make you pop out from your background. This light is usually set up lower than your other lights, and it is never as intense as your key light.
Section 2: Front Lighting Tutorial
This is the setup preferred by a lot of beauty and lifestyle video creators. The goal of front lighting in a beauty video is to get even light over your entire face.
1. Set up your front light(s).
It has become popular to use one ring light for beauty videos. A ring light is a circular light that can be set up right in front of your camera. It lights your entire face evenly.
You could also use two more traditional lights. Set your lights up on either side of your camera and soften them with softboxes or diffusers if you need to.
2. Set up a backlight.
Front lighting makes you appear flat. To pop out from your background, you will need to use a backlight. Your backlight can be an umbrella or reflector which bounces light from your front light back towards you.
3. Add dimension using fill lights.
When front lighting, it is a good idea to set up weaker fill lights on either side of you to add dimension to your shot. Even with a backlight, you can look 2-dimensional as a result of your front light if you do not use fill lights.
Part 2: Best Lighting Kits
Here are five of the best lighting kits for home YouTube studios.
1. Flashpoint CL-500R LED Two Light Kit
This kit includes 2 circular LED lights which give you a light temperature of 5600k, which means that the color of their light will be close to daylight. Stands, cases, and diffusers for both lights are also included.
LED lights are great for home studios because they do not get as hot as other lights, and do not use as much energy.
One of the more useful items in this kit is the remote dimmer control, which allows you to set the brightness of your lights anywhere from 10% to 100%.
One of these circular LED lights can be used as your key light, and the second will make a good fill light when used with a diffuser. You will need to look outside this kit for a backlight.
The Flashpoint CL-500 LED Kit costs $400 on Amazon, making it the most expensive item on this list.
2. LimoStudio 2 Pcs Dimmable 500 LED Lighting Kit
This LimoStudio kit has two dimmable LED lights with a temperature of 5500k and 7 foot stands for both of them. This is very similar to the number 5 kit, but the stands that come with these lights also come with wheels for easy setting changes.
This kit comes with a heavy-duty bag to transport and store everything in. It does not come with any method of diffusing the lights, so you would need to get diffusers separately.
This kit costs $300 on Amazon where it has a 3.8/5 star rating.
3. CowboyStudio 2275 Watt Quick Setup Softbox Video Light Kit
This is a three-light kit, meaning you could create an entire lighting setup with it. It comes with both stands and softboxes for all of the lights, and the softboxes are all specially designed for quick setup. The softboxes are great to have because they will help you to keep your light more even.
This kit also includes a boom pole, sandbag for counterweighting the light mounted on the boom pole, and a carrying case. It is a very similar kit to our number 2 pick, with the difference that the number 2 kit is about $40 cheaper.
This kit costs $165 on Amazon and has a 3.2/5 star rating.
4. Fancierstudio 2400 Watt Professional Lighting Kit
This Fancierstudio kit can be used for your entire lighting setup. It comes with three lights and three softboxes, so you have enough for the key light, fill light and backlight.
The softboxes will help make sure your lighting is soft and even, which is important both for the quality of your images and because it will be easier on your eyes.
The three stands that come with this kit are 6 feet tall, and there is also one boom pole included. You can attach one light to this pole, which is mounted on top of one of the stands, and light from a variety of angles. This kit also includes one sandbag to use as a counterweight for the light on the pole.
This kit costs $120 on Amazon and a 3.9/5 star rating.
5. LimoStudio 600W Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit
This is our favorite home lighting kit and the number 1 bestseller on Amazon. It comes with three full-spectrum lights – 6500k (pure white) as opposed to the other kits’ 5600k vertical daylight. There are three stands, one of which is shorter than the other two for mounting your backlight.
The two taller light stands are umbrella stands. The two umbrellas that come with this kit can be used to either reflect or diffuse your light.
There are separate carrying cases for the umbrellas and the light bulbs.
This kit costs $52 on Amazon and has a 4.5/5 star rating.
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Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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