There is a long list of useful equipment that content creators can use for filming better videos, but improving the lighting of your YouTube videos is one of the simplest and most effective ways to upgrade your overall video quality.
Depending on where you record, the type of content you film, and your budget, your method of creating the best lighting for YouTube videos will vary.
While not all YouTubers have a dedicated lighting kit, it should be one of your first investments after your choose your camera. Good lighting can make even a low-quality set look professional.
YouTube viewers have become very picky when exploring new channels, and cheap investments like proper lights and a dedicated microphone help you stand out from millions of others who do not take the extra care in producing their videos.
Here is what we found in searching for the best YouTube lighting kit for any budget.
YouTube Lighting Guide
If you are just starting out on YouTube, lighting may seem tricky. You may not have found the right ambience, or you are not quite sure where lighting should go to give you the best glow. It is important to keep in mind that there is a big difference in how the human eye sees light compared to what a camera lens picks up.
In some cases, a bright room may appear dull to the camera’s eye. This is why it is important to note where you want to highlight and shadow, as well as the type of mood you want to set with your lighting.
For most YouTubers and vloggers, you will likely want to keep things feeling bright, and cheery.
Here are some awesome lighting tips from Sean Cannel of Video Influencers.
You can learn more about making great content and building your audience on YouTube from Sean with this free webinar.
There are a variety of lighting sources that YouTubers should consider.
Every room will have some sort of light source and most beginners will be tempted just to use lights in ther filming room to illuminate their videos.
This will usually yield dissapointing results, especially if you have a single source of light in a room as many do. You can certainly improve things by using the three point lighting method which will reduce unwanted shadows, but this wil only work if you have multiple flexible lights at your disposal.
Using an umbrella is one of the most popular modifiers of lighting a film or photography space as they are cheap, portable and easy to set up.
These provide a broad light source that is easier for beginners to use because they are simple to use, and they tend not to provide as severe a light source as some other options
It uses a diffusion panel to soften lighting from the source, and provides a nice natural look.
Ring lights have many different uses. In general, these lights have become popular among YouTubers, and especially makeup vloggers who want to focus the light on their face.
These generate uniform, targetting lighting which can come directly from the direction of the camera that you are speaking into which all but eliminates shadows on your face and has a crisp professional feel.
If you happen to film your YouTube videos near a window, then you can always try taking advantage of a natural source of light. This will look good when you get the timing right, but you will lose any control over your lighting. If the sun moves behind a cloud, then your video will change lighting, and you will be restricted to recording videos during daytime only without investing in a good lighting kit for YouTube.
Who Should Purchase YouTube Lighting?
Anyone who wants to be seen as a professional vlogger on YouTube should have some kind of light setup, particularly if you need more lighting due to a dull space. If you are constantly shooting outside during the day, you may not need lighting as much.
You may also be able to purchase small desk lamps to highlight what you are doing or just use a bright overhead light if you are doing unpacking tutorials.
However, if you want to be taken seriously, then everyone needs to be able to see what you are doing and be impressed by your space. It is part of the reason that some vloggers do better over others. Lighting is especially true if you are doing costume, makeup, and beauty tutorials as you will want people to be able to see what you are doing frame by frame.
Important Lighting Features
There are a few things that YouTubers and vloggers look for when they are picking out a new lighting setup. These include the following:
Video Light Quality
There are four different types of bulbs or lamps that you will find with lighting setups. These include incandescent (tungsten), fluorescent, halogen (or quartz), and Hydrargyrum Medium Arc-length Iodide lighting or HMI.
Number of Lights
If you want to have the best setup, you may choose to go with multiple lights. More complicated setups may allow you to have multiple light stands that you can control and turn on or off as you need.
When possible, using three lights to brighten up your filming area will maximize your results.
YouTube Lighting Features
There are a number of features included with most lighting kits. For example, you may find kits with adjustable beam speed, which is great if you want to have very focused points of light or change to a wider lighting mode. Stand height and portability are also two other features to look for when picking out a rig.
There are a number of lighting accessories included with most kits. Some of the most important include barndoors, scrims, mounting accessories, gets, reflectors, umbrellas, and softboxes.
Reflectors and Diffusers
You can use a reflector to change the direction of the light. You want to look at size, shape, surface, color, and rigidity to determine what type of light source you want to have as you change your setup.
Top Pick for YouTube lighting
Great ring light for vloggers
Solid Softbox kit
Cheap lighting kit
Cheap single light source
YouTube Lighting Reviews
The quality of ideo lighting for the price of the LimoStudio Photo Portrait Studio Kit is excellent. If you are looking for a low-budget option and want to get a good-quality lighting setup for YouTube video, this comes with everything you need for under $100.
The LimoStudio Photo Portrait Studio comes with lighting and accessories so you can create multiple points of light with easy set-up/ take down and portability.
In addition to the lights, the umbrellas, and the stands, you also get heflpful carrying bags.
The lighting quality of this kit is ideal for stationary indoor filming because you can create three-point lighting setups as well as close-up portrait lighting.
The lights are 45W CFL Bulbs with 6000L and 1820 Lumen, which provides extremely bright lighting. You can use the reflector umbrella to change the source and diffuse lighting to set up the perfect ambience.
Neewer Ring Light 14-inch LED
The Neewer Ring Light 14-inch LED is an excellent choice for YouTubers filming with an iPhone or a DSLR camera.It is a bright light that only takes up a small amount of space to set up and produces excellent videos of one subject speaking into a camera.
As with most ring lights, the Neewer Ring Light is designed to surround your camera with light to put intense focus on the subjec. The kit comes with a hot shoe adapter that makes for easy mounting of most DSLR cameras, as well as a smartphone holder and tripod head.
While the components of this particular ring light aren't as high end as professional kits, we recommend this because it is an excellent value given the quality of light, and general utility that it adds to any YouTuber's equipment toolbox.
The only thing to warn for anyone considering a ring light is that these lights are not designed to adequately light up larger sets, and even struggle if more than one person is on camera unless everyone being filmed is very close together.
However, if you are a YouTuber speaking to a camera, this is an excellent lighting choice.
LimoStudio 700W Photography Softbox Lighting Kit
For an affordable softbox lighting kit, we suggest the LimoStudio 700W Photography Softbox Lighting Kit. Like the Umbrella kit reviewed earlier, this is a cheap solution for YouTube lighting that can provide the benefits of directed light that a Softbox creates.
This lighting kit is capable of making even the darkest rooms look like legitimate studio without any natural light aiding its cause. These are not quite professoinal level lights from LimoStudios, but they are ideal for beginners because they are affordable and easy to move from place to place.
When you are setting these up, just be mindful of how you are using the space as they can be knocked over relatively easily, and might require a power extension cord depending on your room.
ESDDI 20”x29” Soft Box Photography Lighting Kit
If you are looking for a low budget YouTube lighting option that has essential pieces, then ESDDI has an ideal lighting kit for you. This kit includes a softbox light holder with 110” cable integrated umbrella and a nylon white screen. This provides a crisp white light that improves video quality for well under $100.
The kit also includes a flash strobe light stand, studio lighting bulbs, and daylight pure white light. If you are advertising products, doing video tutorials, or want industrial lighting, this is a good pick for the money.
The light quality is not as strong as other setups on this list, but this is a good affordable option for a fairly comprehensive softbox lighting kit for beginners.
LimoStudio Photography White Photo Umbrella Light
Lighting up your YouTube videos deosn't have to be expensive, and a good cheap lighting option we recommend is the LimoStudio Photography White Photo Umbrella light. This is the more simplified version of LimoStudio’s 3-piece kit we mentioned earlier, and a good pick if budget is your top concern.
This includes a 33-inch diameter white umbrella reflector with a 45W CFL bulb and single head bulb socket. It provides a single light source that is suitable for smaller setups.
If you plan to have a very intimate setting and want only one light, this is a valuable low-budget option to achieve improved video lighting without too much fuss.