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The creation of a vlog combines so many aspects of storytelling and technical skills that it can be hard to get started because you have to be over so many things! Vlogs need a camera with a good microphone (or an external microphone) but you may also consider using vlog lighting if you are recording from a home studio or in low light environments regularly. There are some inexpensive setups that work really well for hobby and business vloggers.

Here, I want to run you through the best lighting setups and other important aspects of vlogging so you can become a content powerhouse!

In a rush? Here are the details:

Product Price of productAmazon review ratingLink
Fovitec – 3-Light 2500W Fluorescent Lighting Kit $189.95 4.3 out of 5 for 251 customer ratingsURL
Neewer Ring Light Kit$99.99 4.6 out of 5 for 5,099 customer ratingsURL
LimoStudio Photography Photo Portrait Studio 660W Day Light Umbrella$52.80 4.5 out of 5 for 5,079 customer ratingsURL
NEEWER 60 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Digital Camera / Camcorder Video Light$21.99 4.3 out of 5 for 5,894 customer ratingsURL
Natural lightingFree5 out of 5 stars from 7,623,372,379 customer ratingsURL

Why start vlogging?

A vlog is meant to showcase you as an individual. It can be used to grow a personal brand but also it can be used to raise awareness for your small business or start-up too! Launching a successful vlog requires you to identify your audience, their problems, and concerns as well as the sort of messages and media that they love to consume!

For a full rundown of this, check out my other 4,000 word post – a full content strategy workflow.

Vlogging should be considered a long game. It needs to be viewed as an important part of your content strategy and look beyond the vanity metrics of social media. This is about growing influence. This is about being super helpful to your audience and turning up as often as you can yo provide value in their lives.

Here are just three of the many reasons that a vlog is important beyond the likes, comments, and shares of social media.

Reach a wider audience

Video content is a bloody fantastic way to create sharable content. If you cross-post to a service like YouTube and Vimeo you are also able to be found by people using their search engines. On LinkedIn, I have managed to create an online audience of over 5,600 professionals who are following me. That means they have chosen to see my content when I post. Not only is that very flattering but it also a really great motivator!

The offline impact of my vlogs has been far beyond what I ever expected. In my home city, I regularly get people coming up to say Hi and have a chat. Most I have never met before – but they know me. The conversation is always warm and friendly and they feel like they are talking to a friend rather than some random dude from the internet! Vlogging has given me that gift!

An intimate form of audience engagement

Vlogging results in a video with your face as the focal point. I often joke that my audience sees me more often than some of their family members. Vlogging allows people to get to know you as a person, first and foremost, and as a business second.

This order is very important as it forges deeper relationships beyond professional and transactional.

A great way to drive traffic to your website

This blog would not have had as many visitors as it has had if I didn’t vlog. It is as simple as that. When a website and domain are new, google and other search engines take a while to trust it. Quite simply there’s no reason they should.

By creating video content and linking back to an article that discusses the topic further you can improve visitor numbers dramatically. The more visitors that you can drive to your website and provide google with “social proof” that you can and should be trusted it’ll help with your SEO too!

For more information and facts about video content check out my other blog post – video content engagement statistics you should care about.

My favorite lighting setups

Here’s the lighting set up that I use for all of my vlogs on LinkedIn and YouTube:

Three-point lighting

Three-point lighting is the standard method used to light scenes in theatre, film and still photography. It is a really simple way to light a scene but is extremely versatile. If you are going to use only one type of lighting for your vlogs, let it be this one!

This technique uses three lights (as the name would suggest), a key light, a fill light, and a backlight. You’ll be required to use all of these lights to fully utilize the technique but if you have only one light it becomes the key light. If you only have two light s one will be the key light and the other can be the fill or backlight.

The key light

The key light is the main light used to light your scene. It is usually the strongest and it dictates how the image looks on the screen. It is usually placed at about a 45-degree angle to the subject. This provides a well-lit side while the other has some shadow to give the scene some atmosphere.

The fill light

The fill light is placed on the opposite side of the scene and reduces the amount of shadow cast by the key light. It is usually softer and less intense than the key light. If you cannot din the light you can move the fill light further away or use backing paper over the top of the light to make it cast a softer light.

The backlight

A backlight is one of the most underutilized and overlooked lights when lighting a vlog. The backlight lights the subject from behind. This is to give some subtle highlights to the edges of the subject and separate them from the background. In my videos, I often just use a desk lamp or other decorative light to light the background. It doesn’t have to be a super expensive setup.

My product pick for three-point lighting

Fovitec – 3-Light 2500W Fluorescent Lighting Kit

Number of stars: 4.3 out of 5 for 251 customer ratings

Ring light

Ring lights have become very popular due to the rise of selfies and narcissistic personality disorders brought on by social media. The ring light is an inexpensive way to light your face during vlogging. It simplifies the setup of the three-point lighting setup while retaining a professional look.

The benefits go way beyond ease of use too.

The reasons to use a ring light:

  • Flattering light source – because your vlog will be a lot of your face on a screen you need something that will be the most flattering. A ring light makes it easy to produce a professional look that you really can’t get wrong.
  • Evenly distributed light – The fact that the light source is evenly distributed around the camera means that there are no harsh shadows that fall on your face. Ring lights are commonly used in portrait photography because of the ability to produce soft light for faces.
  • Nice eye sparkle – another fun side effect is the circular light sparkle that appears in your subject’s eyes. Take a look at some fashion magazines and you’ll quickly identify the ring light photos.
  • Easy to set up and use – it’s one light that you place on a camera lens. It really doesn’t get any more simple than that!

My product pick for ring lighting

Neewer Ring Light Kit

Number of stars: 4.6 out of 5 for 5,099 customer ratings.

Umbrella lighting

Photography umbrellas are an inexpensive method of lighting a scene. Umbrellas are easy to set up and beginner proof as they create a soft light that you can’t go wrong with!

Photography umbrellas are classed as lighting modifiers. They take a point source of light – a light bulb – and spread it over a larger area. This is very similar to the softbox effect of the three-point lighting set up, above.

Softboxes are a little easier to control where the light falls but umbrellas are less expensive and easier to set up.

My product pick for umbrella lighting

LimoStudio Photography Photo Portrait Studio 660W Day Light Umbrella

Number of stars: 4.5 out of 5 for 5,079 customer ratings

LED panels

There is a range of good reasons to use LED lighting for your vlogging adventures. LED panels are inexpensive and really powerful! They can light an entire scene with ease. The thing I love about them is that you don’t need to worry about them heating up to the point of them being hazardous to handle.

LEDs can also change color to suit the feeling you are going for. Want a warmer feeling – you can use a yellower light. Need a cool and refreshing look – use a whiter light. You can also find dimmable panels that can be turned down so you do not saturate your image and make it too clinical and gross.

The things that you should look for when it comes to choosing your panel are:

  • Cost – more expensive doesn’t mean better!
  • Is it dimmable?
  • Can you change the color tone?
  • Size – can you carry it easily when traveling?

You should balance these features for what you want and your specific use case. That said, for me, this is one of the best you can purchase:

My product pick for LED panels

NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Digital Camera / Camcorder Video Light

Number of stars: 4.5 out of 5 for 5,079 customer ratings

Natural lighting

The last but probably most important lighting source is the SUN! It is my number one light source through all of my videos. Over the years of creative videos, however, there are some tricks to using the sun and other natural light as your only light source:

Don’t use direct sun

Direct sun is a really harsh light. It casts hard shadows on your face and can also make you squint. Ok, sometimes you just can’t avoid it – especially when vlogging and capturing the real moment of your life. I often come to edit in the evening and wish I’d taken a little bit of time to find a better spot to film – colour correction just adds a load of time to the editing process…

You also need to stay away from using dappled light if in direct sunlight. A couple of times I have used shadows and ended up with a sun strip right across my face. A massive pain to correct in post-production.

Use reflected light

The best way to use natural light is to find a nice big white wall or matte surface and use the light that reflects off of the wall. This architectural bounced light is what I try to find if I am vlogging in a city.

This will help you avoid harsh lines and shadows on your face.

Use golden hour lighting

The hour just after or just before sunrise is known as the Golden Hour.

If you like to shoot vlogs in the morning, this is number one of the natural light photography tips. The name comes from the golden cast of the light that warms the color saturation of your images that are shot during the golden hour.

You only have a short shooting window, so plan so you can make the most of this perfect recording time!

The final word

Vlog lighting is not a necessity and there are many other components that will improve your vlog before you jump on the lighting. However, being aware of your options and using lighting for stationary vlogs in a studio is a fantastic way of improving your production value!