It’s almost impossible to ever have good videos with bad lighting. How film makers apply light upon the subject or make use of the natural light that is available can make or break the final output.
In essence, visual experiences are reactions to light. Everything we see is made possible through light. Great videographers are those who are aware of lighting challenges and opportunities and make the most of them.
Some videographers have the luxury and capacity to control light with the use of various camera equipment and set-ups. But light sets can be both extremely expensive and time consuming. Not everyone has access to the kind of money and equipment for a great lighting set-up.
But we don’t always need expensive and high-end light equipment to get the treatment we want. We can make the most of the natural light that is available. Here are seven natural lighting hacks that every videographer can try out.
1. 10am-2pm are best for indoor shoots
Maybe you’re planning an indoor shoot instead of an outdoor. If that’s the case, the times of sunrise and setting aren’t the best times. It’s instead somewhere between 10AM and 2PM when the sun is highest. If you’re planning for indoor shoots, do your best to schedule them around this time.
2. Get subject to face light source
Rarely is shooting against the light ever a good idea- especially when you want your subject to have clear details. Get your subject to face the light source when you’re shooting, which is is usually a window or door.
3. Use reflectors
Light equipment can set you back thousands of dollars. But when shooting with a lot of natural light available, you can also opt to use a reflector. Reflectors cost nothing more than $35. If you don’t have access to one or aren’t willing to put out a buck, you can also opt to use white cloth or have light bounce off a white wall.
4. Shoot in sunrise or sunset
Sunrises and sunsets are great moments to catch the right kind of light for dramatic and soft shots. And the wonderful thing is that no one has to pay to shoot during these times! All you need is to be outside at the right time of day. Sunrises are also proven to last longer. So if you need more time to complete your shot list, we recommend shooting as the sun is coming up.
5. Diffuse the light
When natural light gets too bright, shadows start to appear on a subjects face which almost never looks good. But the beauty about light is that you can control it’s glare by defusing it. One inexpensive way you can do this is again to use a thin piece of cloth. Do this by getting it between your subject and light source. It will cast a soft and even amount of light on your subject.
6. Avoid reflective backdrops
Putting your subject against shiny backgrounds like cars or even bodies of water will often cause flashes that can be an eyesore on camera. Avoid having these kind of reflective objects as background to your shots.
7. Use low focal length for low light
The focal length is the distance between the lens and the image sensor. When both are closer to each other, it allows the camera to capture more light. So when shooting in low light, use lenses with focal lengths of 2.0-2.8 to allow for more light to be captured. It also gives you a shallow depth of field which is a big favorite when shooting film or even photo.