How to Harness Dynamic High-Quality Lighting

How to Harness Dynamic High-Quality Lighting

In this industry, we’re always working hard to reach our target audience on social media, whether it be with short-form video content, an interaction-boosting text post or photos in a brand-new eye-catching outfit. But in an age when fresh content is constantly filling fans’ feeds, and modern tech has put 4K cameras in our pockets, it can be difficult to set ourselves apart from the competition. A single hit post can make all the difference in getting more eyes on your content and directing more traffic to your pages, so it’s important to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

One of the most helpful lessons I’ve learned in my time as a content creator is that lighting can make or break a post, photo set or video. Here are five tips to help you turn heads with dynamic, high-quality lighting.

You don’t want to over- or underexpose yourself, as it can make editing more difficult. No one wants to have to redo work due to lighting issues, or even scrap a project.

Start With the Basics

The first step in starting to build your lighting toolbox is ensuring that you and your area are well lit. When I set up for a photo shoot, I start out with my base lights.

Like many creators, I progressed from room lights to the ultra-bright, tried-and-true ring light. Years later, I have two that I still utilize in my live shows, videos and photo shoots. They create a halo of light in the eye, and the white light takes your photos to the next level, making your skin and important details pop. Another “base” lighting tool is the softbox. These are most often used in pairs. Unlike the ring light, they create a more directional light, which is incredibly useful when playing with shadows.

Think Ahead

When setting up lighting, it’s always important to find a happy medium. You don’t want to over- or underexpose yourself, as it can make editing more difficult. No one wants to have to redo work due to lighting issues, or even scrap a project. I always find that the best way to achieve that perfect balance is by lighting myself specifically for my camera, set and the outfit I’m shooting in on that day. Start off by taking a few test shots or videos and adjust accordingly. That way you can fix any shadows or blown-out areas and come away with the best final product, while saving yourself any heartache.

Turn Up the Heat or Keep It Cool

The “temperature” of your lighting has a huge impact on the mood of your content. Doing a 1970s-style photoshoot with oranges, browns and wood textures? Use warm lighting to keep things inviting and easy on the eyes. Doing an icy winter photo shoot? Make the white in your photos pop with cool lighting. Need something neutral? Meet in the middle! There are studio light filters and editing tools to help you adjust the temperature of your photos and videos, and doing so can take your content to the next level.

Play With Color

One of my favorite ways to add depth and character to my sets is by having fun with different colors. I achieve that with a few different types of lights.

  • RGB light strips: Incredibly popular in the camming world, and readily available online and in-store. They’re easily programmable and can be used along the tops and bottoms of walls, or under furniture to create an “underglow” effect.
  • Light orbs or cubes: These shapes full of light can add a pop of color to a background, act as a fun, glowy prop and create fun shadows.
  • RGB flood lights: Usually controllable with an app or remote, and can be angled to fill a scene with color. One of my personal favorite tools to create moody lighting or complement a cosplay or themed shoot.
  • Sunset lamps: While relatively new, these fun, vibrant lamps are an incredibly eye-catching and colorful way to bathe yourself or your set in light.
  • LED/neon signs: Not just for decor, these fun lights can add both personality and a nice glow effect to the background of your content.
  • RGB wall panels: Better known in the gaming sphere, these wall-mounted panels come in fun shapes and sizes, and can be programmed to light up in response to music or even your voice, making them fun for live shows and videos.

Keep Doing Your Research

There are always new techniques to discover when it comes to lighting. With the wealth of knowledge we have at our fingertips, there are countless tutorials and articles showcasing all of the latest ways you can play with light. You can apply color theory, or use studio lighting methods like “bisexual lighting” — the simultaneous use of pink, purple and blue lights — to elevate your next photo shoot.

Lighting skills are an essential part of content creation and unique, fun lighting can be the key to catching the eyes of future fans in the sea of photos and videos on social media. Try new things to wow your followers, boost your interaction and keep your competition on their toes.

Oppaibby (aka Luna Grae) is an award-winning content creator and streamer with a background in marketing and set design. She can be found at @oppaibby on all social media or contacted at oppaibby@gmail.com. Links to her other pages can be found at oppaibby.com.


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