Best Lighting Equipment for Vlogging 2018
You don’t need to be a film student or a professional videographer to start making videos for your vlogging channel. You should, however, know a little bit about lighting so that your projects have the best visibility (and thus the highest watch-ability) possible.
We’ve all seen projects with bad lighting. Either the image is too dark to see the expressions on people’s faces, or it’s so bright that the light is reflecting off their foreheads. You can do better.
In this post, we’ll explain some basic lighting techniques and give you some recommendations on the best lighting equipment you can buy. Using these techniques will make you a better vlogger and will help build your fan base with videos that are clearer and more visually appealing.
What is Three-Point Lighting?
Three-point lighting is the basic method for illuminating your shot while eliminating shadows. As the name suggests, you’ll need three light sources to achieve the effect.
The key light is the brightest light. It shines directly onto the main focus area of the shot. The focus could be a person’s face or a larger area encompassing two or more people or an entire action scene. The key light should shine down on the shot from a slight angle. If you’re outside, the sun can be your key light.
The fill light is a less bright light positioned to the side of the shot, shining directly onto the focus area to get rid of shadows. If you’re focusing on a person, the fill light should be as high as their face. Broader scenes will need a fill light that shines at a wide angle.
The back light shines from the rear of the shot, creating an outline of the main focus area to separate it from the background.
Ring lighting for videos is a method for continuously illuminating a person’s face with minimal shadows. The ring light can attach to your camera or a separate stand. Because the lights make a circle, they shine all the way around a person’s face but not directly onto it.
If you use a ring light for close-ups in a well-lit room, you won’t even need a fill light. Ring lights are best used when the subject and cameraman aren’t going to move in the shot. If you want the subject to move, such as turning in a new direction, set up a second camera and ring light to seamlessly edit the shot.
Umbrella lighting is an indirect lighting technique. You can use white umbrellas to soften the light shining on a subject or black and silver umbrellas to brighten the light. Instead of shining the light on the subject, you shine the light into the underside of a reflective umbrella.
With a white umbrella, the light is partially absorbed by the umbrella with the softer tones being reflected back onto the subject. Black and silver umbrellas focus and brighten the light. You can use an umbrella light for any of the three points, depending on the angle.
Using softboxes is another way to soften the light being shined on a subject. The light passes through a diffusing cover, creating a more even, softer light on the subject with fewer shadows.
You can use softboxes as key lights or fill lights. You can also use brighter or dimmer bulbs in a softbox to achieve the lighting you desire. You can also move softboxes closer or further away from the subjects to adjust the intensity and scope of the light. Subjects are free to move around in the shot as softboxes illumine a large area.
Natural lighting is the unaltered lighting of an area. It could be the sun or the lights inside a room. Most of the time, natural lighting can provide at least one of the light sources you need for three-point lighting.
Using the sun as a light source can be a little tricky because it moves, gets covered by clouds, or can be blocked by buildings or trees.
Best Use for…
Neewer Camera Ring Fluorescent Flash Light
Neewer Photo Studio Dimmable LED 176 On or Off-Camera Light
Key, fill, or back lighting
LimoStudio Day Light Umbrellas
LimoStudio Softbox Lighting Kit
Fovitec StudioPro LED Light Panel
Key, fill, or back lighting
Adjustable 3-point lighting
LimoStudio Background, Umbrella, Softbox Kit
Umbrella, softbox, backdrops, and stands
Key, fill or back lighting
CowboyStudio Set of two 7ft Light Stands with Cases
Neewer Light Reflectors - Translucent, Silver, Gold, White and Black
Neewer Camera Collapsible Diffuser Mini Softbox
Neewer Camera Ring Fluorescent Flash Light: Excellent Key Lighting for Close-Ups
Neewer puts usefulness above tradition with this large, separate ring light that doesn’t attach to your camera but to a stand.
It’s large enough to encompass a person’s whole body from a distance or their face close up. The 14” inner diameter gives you plenty of room to position your camera while the outer 18” diameter is wide enough to light the subject’s entire head from any angle.
It also sits on an adjustable stand to help you get just the right angle on your subject.
It comes in a convenient carrying case and features a knob to turn the light on and off to save electricity while you re-set your scene.
We recommend the Neewer 18” Ring Light for tight shots and close-ups.
How it works: Video
Neewer Photo Studio Dimmable LED 176 On or Off-Camera Light: Incredibly Versatile Key Lighting
Another useful accessory by Neewer, this dimmable light screws onto a stand or into a camera.
You can attach the light to your camera to be able to move while filming or set it on a stand to use as a key light, fill light, or back light. It only weighs 4.5 ounces without a battery pack, so it won’t weigh you down. It can run off of batteries or a power adapter plugged into a standard outlet.
The light is bright enough to use at any angle in a vlogging video. In fact, three of these might be all you need for some types of vlogs. You can also dim it or use the included filters to achieve the lighting effect you need.
We recommend the Neewer Dimmable LED 176 light for small rooms or close shots.
LimoStudio Day Light Umbrellas: The Best Umbrella Lighting Diffusers
These white diffusing umbrellas are a great deal.
This kit comes with everything you need for diffusing key or fill lights. You can position the stands up to 86” high. Use one for a key light and the other as your fill light. The kit comes with 6000k soft white light bulbs, but you can replace them with any 45-watt brighter bulb. Use colored bulbs for an authentic filtering effect in your video.
LimoStudio Softbox Lighting Kit: Easy Direct, Soft Light for Any Angle
This is another complete lighting kit from LimoStudio, perfect for softening key, fill, or backlights.
If you don’t like umbrellas, you can use these softboxes to shine a softened light directly onto your area of focus. You can adjust the angle of the softbox and lock it back down so it won’t droop. You can also adjust their height up 86 inches. The diffusers are large enough to be used as key lights, fill lights, or back lights.
You can use any type of 85-watt bulb in the softboxes for brighter, dimmer, or variable light sources. You will need to be careful not to bump the softboxes as they will be a little top-heavy.
We recommend the LimoStudio Softbox Lighting Kit to any vlogger who needs to illuminate their shots with soft, bright light.
Forvitec StudioPro LED Light Panels: Amazing Adjustability in Small Packages
You can’t get a more versatile lighting solution than this.
It comes with two light panels that you can adjust from 3200K warm light to 5600K soft white light, blending perfectly with the natural light of most rooms.
You can also dim the panels or partially close the barn doors to focus the light. The stands lower to 27 inches and extend up to 90 inches. You can use a battery pack or the long, standard power cord they come with.
We recommend the Forvitec StudioPro LED Light Panels to any vlogger for key, fill, and back lighting purposes.
LimoStudio Lighting Kit: Everything You Need!
Need it all? This kit comes with everything you’ll need at a very affordable price.
You can use the umbrella lights as key lights and the softboxes as fill and back lights. If you don’t need all four, you can use one of the stands for a different thread-on light. The backdrops are a great starter kit with plain green, black, and white.
The entire kit is the perfect size to set up in a spare room or pack up and take to any location. Just get yourself a camera and a basic editing program, and you’ll be ready to start vlogging!
We recommend the LimoStudio Lighting Kit for any beginning vlogger.
Cowboy Studio 7-Foot Light Stands: Sturdy Solutions for Thread-On Lights
These stands are perfect for ring and other small, thread-on lights.
These Cowboy Studios stands are lightweight themselves and come with sturdy carrying cases. You can adjust the height as low as 33 inches or as high as 84. Unfortunately, you can’t adjust the head of the stand, but it features the standard thread mount, so any light with an adjustable angle would be able to achieve the same effect.
We recommend the Cowboy Studio 7-Foot Light Stands for anyone needing to mount ring lights or LED lights.
Neewer 5-Color Reflector Set: Soften, Sharpen, or Change the Color of Any Light
Reflectors are a form of umbrella lighting. You can shine the light directly or indirectly onto the reflector to have it shine back onto your focus area.
The silver reflector sharpens the light to eliminate shadows. The gold reflector reduces shadows while giving your light source a warmer touch. The white softens the light while reducing shadows and the black creates more shadows for darker shots.
We recommend the Neewer 5-Color Reflector Set as a versatile toolkit for sharpening, diffusing, or filtering your non-umbrella/non-softbox light sources.
Neewer Collapsible Diffuser for On-Camera Lights: The Best Friend to Movement Lighting
Using on-camera lights are great for lighting a moving subject. This Neewer mini softbox can soften the light for close shots and more even distribution.
If you’re behind the camera or setting it up to film yourself, you’ll enjoy how it removes shadows from your face. If you’re the one being filmed, you’ll also enjoy how it makes the light less bright in your face while illuminating it for the camera.
This mini softbox collapses so that you can store it flat in its storage case with the rest of your camera equipment.
We recommend the Neewer Collapsible Diffuser for On-Camera Lights to any vlogger using a camera-mount or thread-on LED light.
Lighting is not difficult or expensive to start using. Purchase only what you need and starting practicing three-point lighting. Use ring lights for close-ups, on-camera lights for movement, umbrellas or softboxes for diffusing light, and light panels for finding just the right temperature. You can also use colored reflectors to sharpen or filter your lights.