Lights, camera, action! Setting the stage for professional videos you can record without a whole crew or studio is as simple as having some key equipment at home. One of the most important aspects is lighting: The right lighting sets the mood for your video, whether you’re going for a fun and inspiring vibe or setting a serious tone. Learn more about the importance of lighting for YouTube videos and which lights can help you achieve the effect you want in your videos.
Why is lighting important in YouTube videos?
Good lighting for YouTube videos can help grab your audience’s attention, create the right mood, and shine a spotlight (quite literally) on the subject of your video. Proper lighting elevates the quality of your whole production, which in turn leads to more engaged audiences – the exact route to YouTube success.
To stand out and appear engaging, your lighting sources should make your videos look crisp, professional, and somehow unique, so they stand apart in the crowded, fast-paced world of video content. To jumpstart the lighting quality of your YouTube videos, try the below ideas:
- Make your subject stand out from the background. This YouTube lighting need is perhaps the most basic and obvious step in starting your channel. If your audience can’t see you, they can’t engage with you.
- Helps you look camera ready. Content creators use the right lighting to smooth skin and soften shadows, and you can do the same.
- Influence the mood of the audience through intentional lighting. Lighting can affect mood subconsciously. Light temperature and color combinations have a profound effect on how well you can create your desired atmosphere for your video. Where warm light creates happiness, cooler lights can create suspense. Where blue light is more energizing, red light is more calming.
- Create an engaging story. The right light can enhance feelings of happiness, calmness, or even negative feelings. You can thus use lights to mimic the tone of what you’re portraying on your screen. Words aren’t always necessary for storytelling when lighting reinforces the mood you’re trying to convey and can foreshadow what happens next in your story.
- Helps visually expand small setups. With the right lighting, your viewer won’t know whether you’re filming in a tiny closet or the corner of a bedroom, or whether the camera is zoomed in or up close.
8 types of lighting for YouTube videos
Now that you understand the importance of YouTube video lighting, here are some lighting ideas to consider for your next video. Each of the light sources listed below has a different purpose, and we’ll detail these purposes alongside each lighting type’s primary applications and advantages.
1. Sunlight and natural light
Natural lighting can be the ultimate tool for artistic videography. Natural light is free, so it's a great choice for YouTubers operating on low budgets. However, if you use solely natural lighting for your videos, you can only film at certain times of day because direct sunlight may be too harsh. For example, if you’re filming on a bright day, it’s best to find a shady area, use curtains to diffuse the light, or wait for “golden hour.”
2. Ring light
Ring lights are popular for any video where you’re the focus. They’re excellent for solo vloggers, makeup videos, or any other video where you’re front and center, as ring lights evenly surround your face with soft, forgiving light. They also create an effect that showcases your eyes. They’re among the easier lights for a beginner to set up.
3. Softbox light
Softbox lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes suitable for any sized project. They recreate the look and feel of natural lighting. The softbox has a reflective interior, colored white or silver, that helps scatter the light across all surfaces evenly. They give you greater control on how the light is used as well. Softbox lights are a great option for indoor video shoots, and especially good for product reviews.
4. Umbrella light
An umbrella light gets its name from the umbrella-like shade around the light, which imparts almost the opposite effects of a softbox light. This light type will reflect the light across a wide spread, so your scene is awash in unrestricted lighting. The reflective umbrella has a softer quality than that of a flashing bulb or a direct light. They are portable as well, so they can easily pack up and go with you on scene.
5. Star lighting
The “wow” factor in your videos can come from atmospheric star lighting that supplements the foundational lighting in your YouTube video. A BlissBulb, for example, is a great addition to your setup. This creates an unforgettable experience for your viewers as they see you at home among the sparkling stars. No light fixture for a BlissBulb? The StarPort Laser USB brings that striking look on the go.
StarPort USB Light
One tiny light. Thousands of stars!
6. Galaxy lighting
Similar to star lighting, galaxy lighting creates an atmosphere of mystery and enchantment as they transform walls and ceilings into galaxies of stardust, nebula clouds, and far-off planets. Options like the Sky Lite Laser Galaxy Projector, the Ark Ambient Aurora Light, or Sky Lite 2.0 will leave your audience wondering—and tuned in.
Sky Lite 2.0: Galaxy Projector (App Control)
Shine a galaxy of moving stars and a vibrant multicolor cloud.
7. On-camera lights
On-camera lights are cost-effective light sources for the on-the-go vlogger or social media influencer. While similar in functionality to a ring light, on-camera lights are far more portable. You can mount them on a smartphone or tablet as your primary lighting in outdoor environments or just your room.
8. Artificial light
Artificial light is achieved by using any means of lighting that doesn’t come from the sun. This includes light modifiers like the softbox and umbrella light, laser lighting like the galaxy or star, light bulbs and LED lights.
Artificial lighting provides the control you need to set up the perfect video. With artificial lighting like the types we talked about above, you won’t be reliant on sunlight. You could film in a poorly lit room, or in the middle of the night without attention being drawn to the time of day. However, you need a basic understanding of cinematography and lighting techniques to get them to work for you.
How to get the perfect lighting for YouTube videos
When looking to create a YouTube video lighting setup, follow the below tips to get the type of lighting so often seen in the best YouTube videos.
- Plan ahead of time. Think of the ideal time to set up your shoot if you’re relying on natural light. Will you prefer golden hour or some other time where you can get in the shade? And if you’re using natural light, work fast – you can’t control it, and it’s always changing.
- Plan ahead for your shoot. Save time and frustration by researching lighting types, and obtaining all your lighting materials ahead of your shoot date. Have a vision in mind and follow through.
- Check the weather if filming outside. Overcast days can be more forgiving on camera. On the flipside, getting rained out can tank your filming plans.
- Choose a lighting style that matches your video’s theme. There may be more than one viable option, and perhaps you do need more than one lighting type. However, to keep your budget low and your space uncluttered, you may fare best choosing just one.
- Consider light color and temperature when planning a shoot. As discussed earlier in this blog, color and temperature play a big role in conveying the emotions that you want your audience to feel without explicitly saying those feelings.
- Plan for the amount of space available for your shoot. Lighting in smaller rooms or apartment lighting can be altered to look bigger through the lens that it truly is.
Make your YouTube dream lighting a reality with BlissLights
Lighting can be a total make-it or break-it factor in YouTube videos. Your videos can be more successful and attract more viewers if you use the proper lighting for the mood, atmosphere, and level of professionalism you seek to convey. Really, lighting is as important as the content itself, and here as BlissLights, our lights can help you create a one-of-a-kind setup perfect for your videos. Browse our collection to find exactly the right lighting for your YouTube channel – a growing audience may follow.
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