Although I’ve been doing videography for a long time, I sometimes forget tips and tricks that I’ve learned. Experience and creativity are something that you can’t read in a book, but even if you have all the experience in the world, I’ve discovered that it is still a good idea to refresh yourself on the basics. It helps me improve my work because I understand things better and have a different perspective every time I revisit them.
I’ve been refreshing myself a lot lately instead of actually shooting because of the birth of my new son, and it has inspired me to blog what I’m learning. It always helps me solidify what I’ve learned if I write it down so here are my top five simple lighting tips that can help anyone from a blogger making videos for Instagram to a professional!
1. Use light to make still shots move: As a wedding videographer this is something I know I’ll use a lot! Video is all about movement, but sometimes what you want to show is stationary. Instead of throwing on a cheesy filter in your editing program, walk in front of the light source, or move it, while you’re recording for a more realistic effect.
2. Focus on the shadows: I’m not sure where I read this but it totally shifted my perspective on how to create an interesting lighting set up! “If you want to create interesting light, you have to create interesting shadows.” Photos and videos are 2D but the world is 3D. Shadows are what help create a sense of depth in your videos and photos.
3. Look for matching exposure for the subject and the background: Most people know the basic tip of shooting in the shade for better, more even light. (aka. Soft shadows!) A common mistake that I know I’ve made before though is not paying attention to the background. If the subject is in the shade but the background is in sunlight, the background will be blown out. For best results, try to position the shot so that the background is also in the shade.
4. Balance your color temperature: When I shoot a wedding, I am often moving from place to place and don’t have much control over the lighting, or color temperature for that matter. White balancing in each new area can be very effective, but if moving from one spot to another in the same shot, balancing between the two locations can sometimes work as well.
5. Use reflectors! Reflectors are an awesome, inexpensive way to control the lighting when you have little control. I do a lot of interview shots and often times I don’t have many location choices. Reflectors can be a great way to get great lighting wherever you are without having to cart around a ton of equipment.