Lighting YouTube Videos – a Beginner s Guide. How to light for youtube videos

Now that we have (hopefully) convinced you of the benefits of investing in artificial lighting, what are your choices? The good news is that there are options for every type of video and every budget.

How to Light 3 Different Spaces for YouTube

The best lighting scenario for YouTube videos is simple:

No matter where you film your content, you have complete control of the lighting in the space. Get everything right the first time – no adjustments, mixed color temperatures, or harsh glare.

You walk away with the best possible image quality and forget all those times when working with multiple light sources wasn’t that easy.

Unfortunately, this ideal scenario usually gives way to reality sooner than later.

Maybe the natural light through the window changes suddenly and the white balance is completely off. Perhaps too much light is leaking from your key light and trial and error is the only way you can regain control of your lighting.

You have to make the most of every space you film in, but in moments like these it’s easier said than done.

Whether you’re filming YouTube content in a small space, large space, or garage, our creative team at Soundstripe has some tips and tricks for getting the best quality lighting during your production.

Three-point lighting for Youtube videos

Three-point lighting is a staple for many YouTubers, and for good reason. When used together, the individual components of key light, fill light, and backlight can make a big difference in overall image quality.

For YouTubers, this type of setup is great for filming sitting vlogs, talking heads videos, and product review videos where the framed main subject (you) won’t move from room to room.

However, there are several factors that can make it difficult for creators to make a three-point lighting setup: budget and filming location in particular.

Buying more lighting equipment right now may not be a viable option, and even if you do, you may run into problems when setting up your equipment in a small space.

Regardless of the circumstances, we can advise you on how to create a three-point lighting effect with the equipment you already have anywhere.

Artificial light is usually obtained with a light bulb, stand, and a light modifier. The purpose of its use is to obtain the effect of natural light in a controlled setting.

LED lights

Battery powered LED lights are great for travel. They are small, strong and light. They can provide a lot of light wherever you need it without taking up too much space or burdening you. You can adjust their power output and color, making them extremely versatile.

If you like the sound of LED lights, you can buy mains powered ones as well. With the Spekular system, you can change their shape and brightness to create exactly the type of light you want. If your YouTube content takes many forms, you may find that LED lights may be your best option because of their versatility.

Ring lights

Ring lamps are the backbone of the cosmetics industry. Produce even light with attractive halo-shaped floodlights that bring your subjects’ eyes to life. Moreover, they do it without any difficulty: all you need to do is arrange the light around the camera so that the subject is facing straight into the lens and your job is done!

While RGB lights are not considered essential equipment for YouTubers, they can provide flexibility when it comes to lighting YouTube videos. RGB stands for red, green and blue. These are LEDs that can be set to certain colors and create a certain mood. For example, you can set your RGB to blue if you want to create a technical vibe, or go for a red or pink shade if you’re a fashion YouTuber. Many Twitch streamers use RGB stripes in their lighting setup to make their videos more interesting. While RGB is considered a bit more expensive, you can find inexpensive RGB lights whose functions will be more than enough to illuminate YouTube videos. You can also check out our quick tutorial on how to use RGB lights in your videos.

No matter what kind of lighting you use, try to find a kit with the included light stands to make it easier to set up. They also provide an overall higher total light output. These lights often have a few switches on the back to control the number of bulbs lit, offering a greater level of control over total wattage.

It’s All About the Background

Background Light

Additional light source

Separate yourself from the background by turning on an additional natural light source.

There are many ways to use light to separate from the background. For my natural lighting, I have another window behind me which adds some good contrast. If you look at this isolated source you can see it give me that extra pop.

Aputure Amaran AL-MX Bicolor LED Mini Light

For variety, experiment with dimmable LEDs.

If I have some money to play with I can purchase some of these battery powered pocket led lights. Like the 120d, they are dimmable. But thanks to these smaller lights, I can also switch between color temperatures. I can use them as practicality or just use them to illuminate background areas. Thanks to the multitude of colors, I can get different styles.



Use the highlight to separate the subject from the background.

Still another way to separate me from the background is by backlighting. It’s a light source that hits me directly from behind. Backlighting is especially important when clothes or hair blend in with the background. Again, I can use my large softbox as a backlight – in combination with a window light – as a key for a cool look. Or I can just place one of these little dimmable LEDs on a light stand and position it where I want.

Filling It in

Positioning and Bouncing Light

Reflecting light

Bounce excess light off the wall to illuminate the subject.

I consider the designated fill light a luxury. You can often do without fill light. This is especially true when using soft light sources. Again, the soft light fades slowly, with a nice enveloping effect. Even if I use natural light from my window, I can position myself at an angle where the light doesn’t hit me directly, but still doesn’t fade too dramatically.

Another low-cost option is key light reflection. To avoid buying extra lights, I can position myself next to this white wall. By slightly turning the light, I can reflect the extra light off the wall to the side of my face. I can also set the reflector and use the wrench again to reflect the source of the fill.

Extra Lights

Hawk Eyes F7

Use your LED lights as fill lights.

If the wall or spotlight is not providing enough filling, I can always use one of the small LEDs as filling. Since these lights can dim very low, they make perfect fill lights. I can tuck one on my desk and shade it exactly to the desired level.

And voila! With this kit, I’m ready to shoot all night long.

Final product

Capturing the perfect light for your YouTube setup.

If you are new to the world of YouTube, check out our subscription to 5 videos per month. It’s made for creators like you who need a few stock clips here and there to finalize their edit. No fear of over-commitment, just what you need when you need it.

The advantage of using a lighting kit is that you control the light so you can achieve a pretty consistent effect and repeat it over and over again.

Part 2: Home Studio Lighting

If you’d rather not deal with all your window and home lighting challenges, you can set up studio lighting in your home.

1. Light Control

The first thing you’ll want to do to set up studio lighting in your home is to select a filming room and eliminate as much outdoor lighting as possible. Use blinds, curtains, towels, or any thick fabric to block sunlight from entering the room.

2. 3-Point Lighting

The most popular configuration of studio lighting is 3-point lighting. For this type of lighting, three lights are needed: a key light, a fill light, and a tail light (also called a hair light).

3-point lighting

The brightest of the three lights should be the key. When it is to the left of you (as shown in the diagram above), your right side will have shadows.

To minimize shadows on the right side, use a lower light as a fill light. You don’t want the fill light to completely eliminate all shadows, otherwise your shot will look flat.

Lastly, the highlight placed behind you can spice up the tips of your head and even help separate your hair from blending into the background if both are dark.

3. 4-Point Lighting

As a YouTuber, you may not only want to see yourself optimally under the right lighting, but you may also want your background to be optimally visible, especially if you’ve taken the time to decorate it for your audience.

To make sure the background is lit enough, you’ll need a 4-point lighting setup. The 4-point lighting configuration is the same as the 3-point lighting configuration but with additional background light.

For more information on lighting gear, check out my Top 17 Video Lighting Equipment For YouTubers.

Touch Up YouTube Videos with Filmora

Filmora is one of the best YouTube video editing software to start your YouTube channel. So if, after recording, you find the lighting isn’t perfect, you can use Filmora’s Auto Color Enhancement feature to adjust the color with one click. You can also manually change the white balance, light, color and HSL. Filmora also comes with several presets and LUT templates that allow you to apply preset effects to your video faster for faster color correction.

Softboxes are transparent boxes that come in different numbers. The most popular is rectangular, which imitates the light coming from the window.

Best lights for YouTube videos: Top video lights for online content creators

When it comes to creating professional looking YouTube videos, lighting is crucial. The best YouTube video lights will let you create a well-lit, polished look that is consistent with video to video.

From vlogs to full studio productions, all styles of YouTube videos can benefit from a dedicated lighting setup. The best YouTube video lights will let you film regardless of natural lighting, with increased creative control for accurate colors and no flicker.

Dedicated video lighting is also an excellent investment. While cameras and lenses are becoming obsolete as imaging technology advances, it’s rare to find high-quality lighting that goes out of style.

video lights come in a variety of styles and prices to suit all levels of content creators. To help you find the best video lamp for you, you can find our quick buying guide below, followed by a selection of the best video lamps for YouTube videos.

How to choose the best lights for YouTube videos

Video light basics

While most YouTube lighting setups start with a single light, planning ahead can help. The three-point lighting configuration is the most common layout and includes key light, fill light, and background light.

The key light is the main light, and is usually the brightest. This light is used to illuminate the subject and determines the overall exposure of the scene. How it will be placed will vary depending on the look you intend on, but overall about 45 degrees from the subject is a good starting point.

the fill light is usually slightly darker and is on the opposite side of the subject, reflecting the key. This light is used to fill in any shadows left by the key light, and its brightness can be changed to your taste. Are you looking for a bright, soft look? Turn on the fill lamp. Are you looking for something more romantic? Dim the fill light slightly.

Finally, as the name suggests, background light is used to illuminate the space behind the subject. This light can add overall character to your movie and add a sense of space to your scene. Almost any video light can be used for background lighting, although dedicated background lighting with a color change function can provide a wide creative freedom.

The three-point light setup won’t work for all video styles, and it’s certainly not necessary to go out immediately and buy three separate lights, especially if you’re just starting out. However, it is worth remembering about this layout when planning which light to buy first.

What type of video light is best?

From honest vlogs to full studio setups, no two YouTube content creators are alike, so no one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re filming on the go, this small, packable and lightweight option is likely to suit you best. Ideally, you would need a light that can be powered by batteries and potentially one that plugs directly into a camera or phone. Small LED panels and ring lighting are especially good for this.

Moving on, if you’re working in a makeshift studio away from home, you can opt for a mains-powered lamp instead. Larger LED panels are ideal as they offer a decent level of brightness but can still pack up after filming. Ring lamps with a larger diameter are also worth considering as they can illuminate objects from all sides, which is a great solution with a single light.

The best lights for YouTube videos to buy in 2022

1. Neewer LED panel: Best LED video light panel for YouTube videos

Price: £ 90 | Buy now from Amazon

The Neewer LED Panel is an affordable, easy-to-use, versatile lighting option that will work for YouTube video makers of all experience levels.

the light is bright, faithfully reproduces colors, allows you to adjust the color temperature and includes a diffusion filter for more flattering results on the faces. While the cheaper LED panels are rigidly attached to the lighting stand, the Neewer panel features a metal U-shaped bracket that allows the light to be easily angled, making it much more user-friendly.

While the flashlight comes with a UK AC power adapter, it is also compatible with NP-F550 / F970 batteries, allowing you to configure it remotely or simply avoid cable clutter.

While it does not come with the stand, the panel is compatible with all standard floor stands and table mounts, allowing you to customize it to your specific setup. If you’re working on a budget, this lamp is an inexpensive prime light. Alternatively, you can choose a pair supplied with adjustable light stands for a key light and filler kit.

Technical Highlights – Brightness: 3,360 lumens; Dimmable: Yes; Color temperature: 3200-5600K; advertised CRI: 96; Power source: included AC adapter or NP-F550 / NP-F970 rechargeable Li-ion battery (not included)

Neewer Dimmable Bi-color LED with U Bracket Professional Video Light for Studio, YouTube Outdoor Video Photography Lighting Kit, Durable Metal Frame, 480 LED Beads, 3200-5600K, CRI 95+(UK Plug)

2. Godox ML-60: Best portable studio light for YouTube videos

Price: £ 256 | Buy now from Amazon

The ML-60 from Godox is a lightweight, versatile studio lamp that is perfect for both home studio and remote work. Bright, color-accurate and easy to use, the ML-60 is the perfect key lighting for smaller setups, and can then be used as fill or background lighting for larger productions.

Unlike traditional studio lamps, the ML-60 is compact and portable, neatly packed into the included case. Compatibility with Sony NP-F550 / F970 batteries allows for remote use, and the handle makes it perfect for “run and shoot” movies. The light is also quiet, almost silent, even with prolonged use, and offers a fanless silent mode when needed (although this is limited to 50% of output power).

As a studio style lamp, the ML-60 is compatible with a range of lighting modifiers. It is compatible with Godox reflectors and softboxes as standard, but can be used with all Bowens mount modifiers via an adapter. It’s worth noting that the light only comes with the primary reflector, so you’ll likely need to pair it with a Godox As-s60s softbox or similar before use.

If you work on a tighter budget and don’t need the high level of portability provided by the ML-60, then the older Godox SL-60W is still a very efficient option.

Hopefully, these tips and tricks provide a good foundation for getting the most out of different lighting conditions in different spaces. At the end of the day, your vlog’s lighting settings are sure to change – just be ready to adjust.

Webcam lighting

Configuring your webcam lighting doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some tips:

1. Make sure you have enough light. If not, add some! Later in this blog, we’ll cover the different types of lighting you can buy.

2. Make sure your face is evenly lit and there are no unwanted shadows. To do this, you may need to adjust the position or location of the light sources.

To take advantage of the low-cost solution, try taking a photo with a window behind the camera and the light illuminating your face. Using natural light is a great option if it’s available. If not, there are many cheap ring light configurations that will work just fine.

For more information on webcam lighting, check out this great video:

Get the perfect video lighting setup

Step 1: Prepare for the shoot

It’s always a good idea to look around at your location in advance. Consider natural light shadows through windows, and be aware that the weather can change quickly and affect lighting. This beautiful sun can disappear in an instant.

Even if it doesn’t permanently disappear, the ever-changing light can wreak havoc on your lighting as the sun hides behind the clouds and reappears. Be prepared for any changes or make adjustments to maintain lighting consistency.

The best shooting environment is one where you have the greatest control over the lighting.

Step 2: Choose a lighting type

Video lighting on a budget

Ultimately, if you have amazing natural light at the shooting location, this is by far your best (and cheapest) option. However, if you do not have access to natural light or find it particularly inconsistent for shooting purposes, there are many other types of lighting to choose from.

If you choose natural light, make sure that it evenly illuminates the face and does not create unwanted shadows.

At TechSmith, we have a drawer full of cheap terminal lamps. At around $ 10, these lights are versatile and can be mounted in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, the lack of dimming and diffusion control can lead to sharp brightness.

If you choose this option, use incandescent lamps of the same temperature and brightness in each lamp for consistency.

There are also several types of lighting to be aware of. Light without a filter is called hard light. Think about the difference between a bare bulb lamp and a lampshade lamp. Without a shadow, it is brighter, but the light can be harsh and cast deep shadows.

Diffusion helps to evenly distribute the light, creating a soft light, and can be improvised even on a tight budget. Therefore, when working with the pinch lights, we strongly recommend that you use some kind of diffusion material.

You can buy diffusion paper and glue the lights with it, or even cut through a matte shower curtain. Feel free to be creative!

these lights can also be bounced off a surface such as a wall, ceiling, or spotlight to produce a soft light that is much preferable to dazzling the subject and creating an unflattering image.

The mid-range lighting options

If your budget is a bit higher, you can purchase custom-designed studio lamps for $ 100-500 with everything you need to set them up.

The downside to these types of lighting kits is that they are usually quite large and bulky.

Not everyone has a place to fill a room with giant lights. A great compact option is the Lumecube. The lamp is small enough to fit on a desk, but has more advanced features such as adjustable brightness and color temperature. If you are shooting movies at home or at your desk, Lubecube is a great way to get balanced light without too much hassle. This is the light I use on my desk every day.

No matter what kind of lighting you use, try to find a kit with the included light stands to make it easier to set up. They also provide an overall higher total light output. These lights often have a few switches on the back to control the number of bulbs lit, offering a greater level of control over total wattage.

Tip: look at the subject through the camera lens. This way, you will be able to see your lighting as your viewers will. This perspective can reveal problems that you haven’t seen with your own eyes.

​How to Use Your Lighting Kit

You’ve surely noticed that most lighting kits contain 2-3 light bulbs and their corresponding sockets and modifiers.

But how do you use these lights? The basic lighting kit usually consists of 3 parts:

  1. Key light
  2. Fill the light
  3. tail light or background illumination

lighting configuration for YouTube videos

The key light should be a stronger light and the main light that will indicate the subject’s face. You should place it closer to your face than the others or make it stronger for increased efficiency. You should also place it slightly above the level of the subject’s face.

fill light will fill the shadows generated by key light, soften them and make them appear more natural. Use it to avoid hard shadows and create a more diffused shadow.

Backlight or backlight can be used in two ways:

  1. Point it at your background so it’s also bright and doesn’t look like you are in the spotlight.
  2. Aim it at the subject from behind for backlighting that helps to separate the subject from the background. It is mainly used for portrait photography.

Each type of light does not have to come from an artificial source. That is, the main light can be sun, bouncer fill light, window background lighting, etc.

The advantage of using a lighting kit is that you control the light so you can achieve a pretty consistent effect and repeat it over and over again.

​Be Conscious of Shadows

So you bought one of the lighting kits above. What now? You probably have no idea how it all works out.

Don’t worry, it’s really not that hard.

Using lighting will make your videos better, but you also need to know what you want to strive for.

First, the use of lighting will naturally create shadows. You have to learn how to deal with them.

There are no good or bad shadows, just the right lighting for what you want to convey with your image. As a Youtuber or video blogger, you don’t want to look like a movie villain:

hard shadow portrait

You’ll probably want something simple, good-looking and just plain natural:

diffused light

You should know that the type of shadows you get will depend on many factors:

  • Proximity to umbrella and bulb
  • Distance to you and the umbrella
  • Softbox angle and size
  • Natural light sources available
  • Much more…

The best end results will come after much trial and error.

If you just want to make a nice looking YouTube video, just make sure you don’t create hard shadows around your nose.

You need to look at the end result and make sure the image is bright enough and the shadows look diffuse and natural.


Once you’ve found the setup you want, make sure you get the look you want and try to remember how you achieved it so that you can recreate it in all your videos.

It takes a bit of practice and a lot of videos to finally choose the best one. You may want to take a photo of the entire setup when you achieve the look you want so you can redo it later.

1. Try different lighting configurations. Use different angles, combinations and number of light sources. Try and experiment until you achieve something you like. This is the only way to learn.

2. Use an umbrella for a nice, natural look without too many complications.

3. Use a softbox for better aesthetics and a more artistic look with shadows.

4. Use ring light to make your face really bright and remove all shadows from it, which is perfect for makeup work.

5. Think about your environment. You can also use a light as a background so it doesn’t look much darker than you or your subject.

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