Whether you’re streaming games on Twitch, vlogging your daily life, doing make-up tutorials, or just making some let’s plays, it’s important that your videos are properly lit. Problem is, there’s so many options when it comes to choosing a lighting solution. Fortunately for you, we’ve spent a lot of time putting together this comprehensive guide to the best lighting for streaming and YouTube videos.
The following article has a section you can jump to for any type of content creation you may be pursuing. While most types of lights can be used for any and all videos, there are specialized options that are popular among each niche. By choosing the right light for your content type, you can get the most value for your money and the best end result.
At the end of the article we’ve got a very helpful section to help you understand the different factors at play for the various pieces of lighting equipment we recommended. We will weigh the pros and cons of each one, and teach you about what we took into consideration when recommending lights.
- 1 The Best Lighting For Streaming
- 2 The Best Lighting For Beauty Guru YouTube Videos
- 3 The Best Lighting For Vlogging
- 4 Understanding Your Different Lighting Choices
The Best Lighting For Streaming
The good news is that as a streamer, you have a great deal of control over your recording environment. You’ll have all the time in the world to set up your lighting perfectly and make it as elaborate as possible.
Because of that, we think that a Softbox or umbrella lighting kit is the best lighting for streamers. Softbox lighting kits are relatively cheap, are incredibly versatile in terms of lighting configurations and different looks, and are easy to assemble and put away when not in use.
These softbox lighting kits will allow you to carefully light your foreground and background to your personal preferences, as well as make sure your environment is properly lit for green-screen or backdrop work!
Our recommendation from our guide to the top 5 best Softbox lighting kits is this excellent kit from Neewer. They’ve always impressed us with their high quality consumer grade film equipment, and have earned several spots on this list.
This was an easy recommendation not only because of the high quality of the lights, but because of how great the included accessories are. The two umbrella and softbox lights can be configured in any positions you want, and you’ll save a bunch of money with the included green screen. Having a green screen for streaming is very important, as overlaying yourself on your game footage without an ugly square will greatly improve your production value.
Note: Ring lights like the ones we recommend for beauty gurus and Vloggers below are also very popular among streamers, and make your face look really pretty to reel in those donations.
The Best Lighting For Beauty Guru YouTube Videos
Lighting is important for all YouTube videos, but none more so than those created by beauty gurus. If you want to be taken seriously, you’re going to not only need high quality video footage, but you’re going to need a light that makes you look beautiful.
This is a very easy recommendation for us. If you’re a YouTube beauty guru, you’re going to want to invest in a high-quality Ring Light. The light we’ve chosen to recommend here is quite expensive at around $280. For our favorite cheaper ring lights, scroll down to the Vlogger’s section, or check out our lengthy guide to the best ring lights for YouTube video production.
In short, ring lights are very flattering on your face, they’re affordable, and they’re easy to set up and position.
The Diva Super Nova is the definitive “industry standard” when it comes to ring lights for beauty gurus. It is so well designed and popular that many ring lights of different brands are sometimes referred to as “diva lights” similar to what xerox did with copy machines.
This ring light has all the essential accessories including diffusion cloths, multiple mounts, and a sturdy stand. This light is incredibly reliable, and the 1-year manufacturers warranty is very easy to claim. This 500W ring features a 5500k Daylight bulb which is dimmable down to 20%. Out of all the ring lights we reviewed, this was by far the best.
Some of what we said might just have sounded like mumbo jumbo to you. To learn a lot more about why ring lights are great for beauty videos, as well as read the full review for the Diva Super Nova, it’s all found in this guide.
The Best Lighting For Vlogging
We’ve got a couple of recommendations for YouTube vloggers. Depending on what type of vlogging you do, you may need some of these lights more than others. We’ve found three different lights that are all at very reasonable price points. We chose to recommend these because, at their affordable prices, you will be able to get all three even with a fairly low budget. Having a well rounded kit will keep your quality high and consistent regardless of what you end up shooting.
When vlogging, you’re either going to be pointing the camera at whatever you’re doing, or at your own face. Typically you’ll be lighting foreign environments rather than a controlled studio, unless you’re a desk vlogger. We’ve got great recommendations in both cases.
The Best Ring Light For Vlogging
Just like beauty gurus, if you’re a YouTuber who regularly vlogs at their desk, a proper ring light can also be the right choice for you.
In our guide to the best ring lights (Where you can read the full review), this was our value pick for the best bang for your buck ring light. It’s loaded with tons of features, accessories, and is a kick-ass ring light at only $100.
The key difference here, is that rather than with the beauty gurus, we are recommending you go with a cheaper model so you can diversify your kit. You’re not making a living off of how amazing your make-up looks, and vlogs have the potential to encompass a much wider variety of shooting situations, so your investment will have greater returns if you save money in your budget for the following lights.
The Best Lens Mounted Ring Light For Vlogging
The aforementioned ring lights will give your desk/studio footage an excellent look, but what if you want the same look on the go?
There’s three dimming settings and six different adapters to attach to any SLR lens. What we like about this one is that the unobtrusive design is perfect for vloggers who hold their camera facing towards them, or on a gorilla-pod.
The Best Camera Mounted Light For Vlogging
While the lens-mounted ring light will give you a great facial glow on your subject (or yourself), it leaves something to be desired in terms of versatility. For proper lighting in the most possible shooting situations you’ll want a proper array of LED’s you can mount onto your camera.
Our Favorite is the Neewer CN-160 dimmable LED light panel. It’s by far the most popular consumer-grade camera mounted light on Amazon, and has astounding reviews. At nearly $25, it is affordable to every single YouTuber out there and will give you a huge increase in image quality.
The light is dimmable, the battery life is surprisingly long, and it comes with filters that allow you to diffuse your light or change the color temperature. While this is one of our recommendations for vloggers, we believe that every YouTuber shooting with a DSLR should own one of these lights.
This excellent review from YouTuber Toblarone DeMoss shows a perfect example of what exactly this light is capable of. The difference that this tiny device can make is astounding.
Understanding Your Different Lighting Choices
Finally, here is some valuable information that applies to any type of light you may purchase. Use this information to make informed purchases and to understand some of the methodology behind picking the right lights.
One factor you should be considering it the color temperature of the bulbs used. In essence, Color Temperature a number expressed in Kelvin typically ranging between 1000-10000, indicating what color of light is emitted. Higher numbers represent bluish light, while lower numbers represent warmer orange-ish hues.
Typically you want to adjust your camera’s white balance so that you have a neutral image, so you can alter the look to your liking in post. But you may want a slightly warmer or colder picture based on personal preference. In addition to adjusting your camera settings, a few of our recommendations also come with color filters that can help you change your color temperature.
Light Settings / Dimmability
Some lights also may feature light settings or dim functionality. As mentioned earlier in the light type section, the option to dim your light is great because you wont have to be under or over exposed. However, dimming can also be achieved with cheap fixes like filters, so if you don’t think you need it, passing on the dimmability can be a smart move for your wallet.
Portability And Versatility
Portability can end up being one of the most important factors when choosing your light, as the amount of portability required varies greatly between different content creators. If your videos are purely run and gun out in public, a camera mounted light is likely your only option.
If you shoot primarily seated at desks, but travel around often, you’ll probably want a ring light that can be dismantled and quickly set up in whatever hotel you’re shooting in.
If you do sketch comedy or shoot in a personal studio, you’ll want to be able to utilize a three point lighting setup, so you’ll want to purchase a kit that has multiple softbox or umbrella lights.