How to Set Up Three-Point Lighting for YouTube

A Youtuber using three point lighting in video

One of the relatively biggest challenges of creating YouTube videos is setting up good lighting. This is can be a pain in the neck if you are a beginner because you haven’t yet been able to differentiate between how your eyes and camera lens perceive light. A camera usually needs more light in order to produce high-quality images.

Why Lighting is the Key to Great YouTube Videos

Lighting is extremely important in making great YouTube videos because it makes your video clearer and creates a visual mood, sense of meaning, and atmosphere for the audience. It enhances the dynamics of your footage. Whether it is blocking the speaker or dressing a video, every step of video creation impacts the lighting setup. Good lighting informs your audience where to look.

How to get Great Video Lighting

Luckily, getting great video lighting is not that hard if you can master the tricks. For instance, you want to ensure your face is evenly lit ad doesn’t have annoying shadows. To do this, you might have to adjust the location or position of your lighting source.

If you are operating on a strict budget, consider shooting your YouTube videos with a window in front of you (behind the camera), to allow light to shine on your face.

Natural light is usually the great light source you can have when you are just starting.

Preparing for a Video Shoot

Time to get ready to shoot a few YouTube videos.

Hiring a professional crew is too expensive. They will bring everything needed to shoot the view, including cameras, sound recording, and lighting tools, and record the video. This means you are more likely to get quality video and sound regardless of your shooting environment.

But the best part is, you don’t have to edit or handle it in any way the video files.

The only negative thing about hiring a pro is the cost. You will likely need to pay the crew at an hourly rate, which means you need to maximize the available time properly.

However, if you are on low-budget, the recommended way to go is DIY video shooting. All you need is a kit list containing all the required equipment such as a microphone, camera, lighting, and video editing software.

Next, you need to decide on the style of shooting. You can choose one or a fusion of these styles – the talking head, the double-act, or the interview.

Three-Point Lighting

Three-point lighting is one of the most popular and commonly used lighting techniques used in video production. It involves lights a subject in a scene with light from sources from three positions.

As a result, the three lights have their purpose for the YouTube videos you create.

These Three Lights Include:

Key lighting: It focuses on the main subject in the scene, and it usually illuminates the subject to reduce shadows and make the object or person stand out among other subjects, environment, or objects in the scene.

Fill Lighting: More often, the key lighting will create shadows, which must be removed in order to make the person or object in the scene stand out clearly. This is where fill light comes in. So fill lighting is typically used to ‘fill in’ the dark areas.

Backlighting: It offers a direct contrast between the subject and the background.

Three-point lighting is considered the standard form of lighting in video and film production and even still photography.

Set Up Three-Point Lighting: How to Get Started

Here is a 5-step guide on how to set up your three-point lighting for YouTube videos.

Step 1: Begin in the dark

Starting in the dark allows you to seal off or identify outside light sources that might interfere with your three lighting sources.

If it is a DIY shooting, make sure you find a room with no windows and switch off all the lights.

Step 2: Switch on the key light

Of the three lights, the key light is the first to turn on. Depending on where you are (the subject is) facing, try to position your key light to the left or right of your camera at an angle of 45 degrees.

The key light is usually the brightest and thus will provide most of your lighting needs.

Step 3: Switch on the fill light

Next, you want to turn on the fill light. This light should always be less bright compared to key light because its purpose is to fill in the shadows left behind by key light.

Position the key light on the opposite of the subject.

Step 4: Add the back light

It is now the time to turn on the final light – the backlight. As I have mentioned above, the backlight helps with separating your subject or object from the background of the scene by forming a sharp edge around the figure.

In practice, you want to put the black light behind your subject so that the light shines on the back of the subject.

Step 5: Get the perfect style and balance

Once you have turned on all three lights, you will want to adjust to achieve the right style, balance, and look.

An important thing to keep in mind is that once you adjust one light, you will have to adjust the other two because it will change the values of the rest other light sources.

Best 3 Point Lighting System – Led Video Lighting Kit Dimmable 5600K USB 70 Led Video Light

Want the best 3-point lighting system for your video production? The Led Video Lighting Kit Dimmable 5600K USB 70 Led Video Light might be a great option.

It comes with an adjustable tripod stand as well as color filters. The lighting system is powered by a USB port, which you can easily plug into your wall charger, desktop PC, laptop, or even a power bank.

Note that the package doesn’t come with those charging devices.


  • Adjustable angle and brightness
  • 70 pcs energy-saving LED bulbs that drive down your production cost
  • USB power input
  • Color filters
  • Cable control brightness levels

Choosing your Light Color Temperature

Most LED bulbs will indicate color temperature on their package. This way, you will know how cool or warm the color of the light they produce is.

2700K to 3000K: Considered soft or warm white range and is ideal for home studio.

3500K to 4500K: This is a neutral white light that offers a perfect balance between soft and warm color light.

Over 5000K: This is also known as daylight range and is suited for areas with high detail visibility.

How to Fix/Avoid Glare

The best way to remove or avoid glare during shooting is by using CPL or circular polarizing filter to cut down any visible glare. You can also ask the subject to adjust the positioning of their glass for the proper angle.

Manny Foster

Manny Foster helps us with writing. He is very skilled at writing about how to YouTube, podcasting, blog set up, blogging in general, SEO, and product reviews. He brings years of expertise to the company and we are glad he is on the team.

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