How To

Tips for Lighting a Video Shoot with What You Have

Moira West


If you look back on video clips you’ve shot and asked yourself, “why do my clips always come out so dark,” it may be the area where you’re shooting is darker than you think. Luckily, there are a few simple tricks that’ll help you add or take away light the next time you have a video shoot. Take a look at our video tutorial below, and then read on for more details.

  1. Look for windows and natural light. Unless you’ve got a lot of lighting experience, when you first start out, shoot during daylight hours. If you’re shooting outside, try to shoot at “golden hour” (just before sunrise or sunset) or pick a day that’s overcast, but not too dark. In either case, you won’t have to combat direct sunlight, which can be too harsh.
    If you’re indoors, look for windows that face north, since they’ll give a gentle light that still illuminates the area where you’re shooting.
  2. Block out bright light. If the light coming through your windows is too bright, pull down the shades. Cheap, sheer curtains can let enough light through, while blocking out any harsh direct sunlight. If you’re outside, take a light-colored umbrella or a sheet (and an assistant) to soften the sunlight.
  3. Turn on the lights. If it’s still too dark inside, flip on the overhead lights for added illumination. And if those overheads aren’t enough, start moving in other lamps in to lighten up your shoot. A well-placed floor lamp can sub in for the sun in a pinch.

Lighting your own video shoot doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Just let the sun (or a couple floor lamps) do the work for you. And once you have those video clips saved on your camera or mobile device, share the result with us in the comments below, or reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to let us know how it went.