How to use lighting in videos and photography


Summary

Welcome Monkeys! In this week’s vlog, Chris is drawing on his decades of experience as a camera supervisor to give some useful tips on lighting. Whether you’re shooting video or photography, lighting is essential to show your subject at their best.

Here’s the overview:

  • Placement (01:12)
  • Type of light (03:57)
  • Colour temperature (04:06)

If you want to get yourself a decent light for your own shoots, check out these affordable options:

As always, if you have any questions or comments, just stick them below and we’ll try and address them in a future vlog.

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Happy viewing!


Video transcript

Chris: Hello!

Matt: Hi! I’m Matt.

Chris: I’m Chris.

Matt: We’re coming all the way through our new photography studio.

Chris: Yeah, it’s exciting, isn’t it?

Matt: It’s not really finished yet though. We’re still working on all that sort of stuff.

Chris: Well, it’s getting there. It’s usable, because we’re using it.

Matt: And we thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about lighting, as we’re in this space, with some lights. Perhaps you’re out there shooting some video, doing some photography, and you need a beginner’s guide to how to set up your lights, and what you can do with just one light.

Chris: We’ve got multiple lights here but if you’re shooting something in an office, just the addition of one light will massively help your videos, so I’m going to show that by turning off most of our lights and bringing in something else. So I’ll turn off this one. Matthew, can you do some dancing?

Matt: I’m gonna be doing some dancing, or basic modelling, so if you need any dance tips, drop us a message below. I can teach you how to bodypop.

(CRASH. DARKNESS. CHAOS.)

Matt: Ooh, that’s what not to do.

Chris: So that’s no lighting [rummaging]. Here we go.

Matt: It didn’t break, so that’s good. Lesson number 1, make sure your lights are hardy.


Placement

  • For a regular talking-to-camera video, aim to get the light to fall evenly across the subject
  • Use other placements for more dramatic effects!

Chris: So this is just one light, and we’re going to talk about placement of the light.

Matt: (Evil laugh)

Chris: So exactly, if you start putting a light down here, it’s going to be very spooky.

Matt: Yeah, good if you wanna tell a spooky campfire story.

Chris: Yes. It’s the same if you’re in an office environment, your lights are going to be a bit like this, so that’s going to be a bit weird as well. So you want to try and get your light reasonably flat onto your subject [sic.] and Matthew will then look… Yeah, look, double thumbs up! That’s pretty good. You can also create a bit of drama by coming in from one side, but obviously if you’re doing stuff for business, it’s probably not going to be too appropriate to have a massive shadow on the other side of his face. So you just need to have a nice light source. These ones are really soft, and you can get a similar kind of light on Amazon for not much, and it’ll make a massive difference to your videos.

Matt: Let’s put a link somewhere down here. We like to talk about links, don’t we. There you go. Here’s a link to buy one of these lights, which are really great. We use these all of the time, in both photography and video, with a good multi-purpose, soft-diffuse LED light.

Chris: And the other thing to watch out for is if you’re shooting with a camera or mobile phone or whatever, you’ve got white balance issues. So this light can go from very warm to very cold, so it matches the background. But you need to just be aware of that, and buy the appropriate light. I would always go for tungsten, which is a sort of lightbulby kind of thing, because it makes everyone look warm.

Matt: We think as well, if there are any other lights in the environment, you kind of want to match those lights closely as well, so if you’ve got loads of daylight coming in… it’s best to try and control the lights as much as you can. But if you’ve got daylight, warm lights, and then another kind of bluey light over here, you’ll get lots of mixtures of white.

Chris: Right, I’m just going to put this back on the stand. I might even speed this bit up.

(WHOOSH)

Matt: So we’re gonna go through our three tips to check when you’re doing lighting.

Chris: Yeah, so we talked about the placement – it just needs to give a nice even light if you’re talking to camera and you’re doing vlogs and things.

Matt: And beware of shadows at that point – so look at the main topic, which is probably going to be somebody’s face, if they’re talking, and just check there are no weird shadows under the chin or on the side of the face, and it’s as neutral as possible.


Types of light

  • Check out the links under the vid!

Chris: And we’ll show you the different types of light you can get from Amazon – we’ll put a link down below. Some nice, easy, cheap lights, which will make a massive difference.


Colour temperature

  • A warm, neutral hue is usually best when your subject is a person or people speaking to camera
  • You can use different hues with multiple lights to create interesting effects, but be careful not to end up with a confusing colour balance

Chris: And the colour temperature, needs to be the same on your face as we spoke about, but here I’ve turned the lights in the background blue to make those fade away and add a bit of interest.

Matt: That's what you can do with multiple lights.

Chris: So there you go, there are some simple tips on what you can do with one or multiple lights.

Matt: Are you alright there, Chris? You seem a bit out of breath after all that running around.

Chris: Yeah, I’m a bit hot now.

Matt: Go and have a lie down. Go to the hammock room!

Chris: Ooh, nice.


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