How to get proper lighting when creating videos for YouTube or Instagram reels?

When you're creating short-form videos like Tik Tok and Instagram Reels, you want to ensure that the content you're creating is high quality. In today's article, we are going to show you how to get the best lighting for your Tik Toks and Instagram Reels.

The lighting of your video is an important part of the creation process, but very few creators understand how to do it properly. You can create super cinematic videos with just your smartphone and without investing in expensive equipment if you use the right lighting. This article explains seven lighting basics you should master if you want to create better videos. We'll cover the following tips:

Light The Subject Well

Let's begin with the simplest but most important tip of them all. You should ensure that your subject and the scene are well-lit when recording a video. It serves several purposes, including drawing the viewer's attention to the shot, establishing the mood, and providing enough visibility for the audience.

What is the best way to light the subject well? You can either use natural light or create a lighting setup that puts enough light on your subject. A test shot should always be taken after you have set up your frame to determine how it looks on camera.

You'll know if the camera sensor is capturing enough light once you take the test shot. Your frame will probably need some adjustments since cameras don't perceive light as our eyes do. You may have to change your camera settings to adjust the light. Changing the position of your subject or light source is another way to adjust the lighting.

Move the subject closer to a diffused natural light source like a window if there are too many harsh shadows.

Alternatively, if the subject is overexposed, you should move them farther away from the light source or dim it by using a blanket or curtain.

The first step to getting started is to understand how to use natural light effectively. If you can't plan your shoot in advance or at a well-lit time, consider investing in a pair of ring lights instead.

Steer Clear Of Overhead Lighting

Have you ever noticed how the shadows fall when the sun is directly overhead? Shooting video in overhead lighting results in harsh lighting and unflattering angles. Many rooms have ceiling lights, and novice video creators often use them as their only light source. The whole scene is often colored similarly and unflattering shadows are cast on the subject's face as a result.

Consider using adjustable lamps, LED lights, or ring lights that can be placed in front of your subject instead of overhead lighting. Using these to project light from the opposite direction will minimize shadows and can even be used as a supplement to overhead lighting.

Light and Camera Placement Can Enhance Shadows and Provide More Depth to Your Images

It's important to ensure that your frame is not underexposed, but then you can make your videos look super cinematic with the right use of shadows. To accomplish this, you want to place the camera and the light source at 45° angles on either side of your subject - think of the subject, the camera, and the light source as three triangles. In filmmaking, this is a very common lighting setup and technique.

Use A 3-Point Lighting Setup

Lighting setups like this are common in professional videos. Three lights are needed for a 3-point lighting setup - a key light, a fill light, and a backlight. This setup can be illustrated by imagining that your subject is at the center of a clock, and the camera is placed at 6. A key light will be located approximately at 4, a fill light at 8, and a backlight somewhere between 1 and 2.

Here's a closer look at each of these lights to better understand 3-point lighting.
  1. Key Light: Your key light is your primary source of light for the video. It gives depth and dimension to your subject and gives it exposure. Using this light, you can create amazing shadows by placing them 45 degrees in front of your subject.

  2. Fill Light: By using the fill light, the shadows created by the key light can be balanced out. If you want to achieve fill lighting, either use a less bright source of light or use reflectors such as fabric and walls to bounce light onto your subject.

  3. Back Light:The backlight is a light source placed behind the subject to make them stand out from the background. Mobile phone cameras without an aperture range can benefit from these since they are often placed opposite the fill light.

Avoid Mixing Color Temperatures

Using lights with different color temperatures, such as warm tungsten light and cool fluorescent light, can be quite tricky, even for experienced video creators. The best thing to do if you're just getting started is to avoid varying color temperatures. Camera sensors can be adversely affected by mixed lighting as they adjust the white balance of your frame. This can result in either very warm or yellow shots, or very pale or blue images, depending on how your sensors perceive it. Unless you have a better understanding of your camera's capabilities and how it captures light, stick to using light with a singular color temperature.

Use Soft Lighting From Diffused Light Sources

While harsh lighting is sometimes used in filmmaking to create dramatic effects, it's often easier and more flattering to use soft and diffused lighting if you're filming professional videos or just starting.

The difference between soft and hard lighting and the effects they create can be understood as follows:
  1. Soft Light: The light is evenly spread out, creating soft highlights and shadows, giving your frame and subject a less moody appearance. A cloudy day without direct sunlight is the perfect example of soft lighting. A diffuser or softbox can be used over your studio light source to achieve this indoors.

  2. Hard Light: If you want to create a dramatic effect in your videos, hard light is perfect. There are bright highlights and very dark shadows created by it. Although hard lighting is often used in filmmaking, it is not preferred for professional videos since it can be difficult to edit.

Pay Attention To The Catch Light

A catchlight is the reflection of a light source in a subject's eyes. It's a small detail, but it makes a big difference in the video since it makes the person seem alive and human.

When you're shooting indoors, you can position your lights so that your subject mimics the same look and feel. With a 3-point setup, this is easily accomplished.

Backgrounds DO matter!

The quality of the light is irrelevant if your background is crowded and cluttered. TikTok and Instagram Reels are best shot in a decluttered space with neutral walls (or ones that match your brand). We're not just talking about background or color, we're also talking about tidying things up! Your desk should be clean. It's amazing how much difference it makes!

Summing Up

Those are some super-easy but super-effective video lighting tips you can use without investing in a fancy camera or expensive lighting equipment to instantly make your videos look better and more cinematic. It's now possible to shoot cinematic videos and seamlessly edit them with an online editor.

When you've figured out the best lighting for Tik Toks and Instagram reels, shooting short-form videos is a lot of fun. Find a good spot with a window or use your ring light for more flexibility. Let's see what you create!

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