You’ve chosen and signed up to your preferred streaming platform, and you’re almost ready to start making money on cam. What’s next? Getting an HD webcam is important, but even the highest HD webcam will look like shit without proper lighting.
Here is your Lighting 101 guide for beginner camgirls!
TIP 1: Location, Location, Location
We recommend a traditional three-point light system for best results.
A large and bright source of general light to fill out the room.
- Most often, the room’s overhead light will do the trick. If the overhead light isn’t bright enough for your space, you can always replace the light-bulb with LED or fluorescent studio-quality bulbs found in your nearest home improvement store section.
- Depending on the size of your camming space, you may want to invest in a row of three main lights.
Another large and bright source of light to illuminate you and your camming space.
- A light stand with a reflector, umbrella, or softbox is always a good choice.
- Depending on the warmth of the light bulbs and reflector color, you may need to add warmer or cooler extra support lights to even out the white balance tones of your broadcast.
A dimmer source of light placed behind or overhead to minimize shadows.
- Depending on the camming space you have to work with, you can replace the back light by simply increasing the number of main and support lights. Place them at varying heights around the front and sides of yourself to achieve maximum 180º illumination of your work space.
A note on natural light: If you set up with your back to a window you will be dark as the camera tries to filter all that window brightness behind you. But natural light on a balcony or outdoors is a good idea. To use natural light as a main light, position big windows in front of the camming space (i.e. behind the camera). Just add two side/back lights to minimize shadows.
TIP 2: Pick the best lights for your space.
Here are some good brands and bundle deals to invest in on payday.
- White, the standard:
Can’t go wrong with this basic reflector that evenly scatters and diffuses the light.
- Silver, intermediate use:
For intensifying light. This reflector may create shadows and a spotlight effect if used without adding more sources to the three-point lighting system.
- Gold, advanced use:
Use this reflector for adding or changing color temperature.
- Quickly becoming the new standard. A softbox like this one can give the same even light diffusion as white umbrella reflectors without losing as much light. Can also be used with a grid attachment for portrait photography lighting.
- Light strength is your best asset, far more important than reflectors or even high-end webcam equipment. Watts matter more than volts!
- Fluorescent and LED bulbs will save you cash on the energy bill and last longer. Be careful not to break coiled florescent bulbs- they contain mercury, which is a neurotoxin. (If you do break one, immediately dispose of the remains and ventilate the space.)
- Temperature of the bulb will affect the way all your colors show up on the computer screen. “Cooler” light has a higher K than “warmer” light. The standard temperature for the bright white bulbs found in all photography kits is 5000K-5500K, like this one.
TIP 3: Let your personality shine!
Exposure & Gain
- Exposure and gain can greatly affect quality. More light for your camera to pick up often results in a smoother broadcast feed. Play around with high levels of exposure by compensating with low gain for the best live stream experience.
White Balance and Saturation
- White balance and saturation can be used for further personalization of your live stream look. Keep in mind that gold reflector will change the warmth of the light appearance or, inversely, you can buy low K LED bulbs to add natural warm tones to the stream appearance.
As you get familiar with your camera settings and new lighting setup, you’ll be better able to personalize the appearance of your stream. Don’t be afraid to experiment and let your personality shine through.
7 thoughts on “Essential Lighting Guide for Beginner Camgirls”
For some pro lights for my man cave – I found good deals on ebay. Presumably shipped from China, I got a few a load of lights, softbox etc for £50. Green screen also.
Thank you so much for all of this information! I just bought a nice lighting kit off of amazon, and Christmas lights to put on the wall behind me for back light. I didn’t realize they Christmas lights were twinkle lights though! Will this affect the focus or quality of my stream? Or should I just ditch them and cam without the backlight until I can afford a replacement?
Are the Christmas (aka string lights) regular or LED? If the bulbs are regular or “old” Christmas style lamps, be careful what you place them on as those types of lamps do heat up and could potentially burn through any fabric and even start a fire if left on 24/7. If they are LED, depending on the distance from the camera, it definitely should not affect anything. MORE light is never a problem, quite the opposite!
I have all of the studio lights you’ve listed above… When I’m sitting up its great but when I back away or lay down It gets so dark….. what am I doing wrong?? I have logitech 920 pro cam…..
I know what you mean! That used to be a big problem for me until I realized that it’s the computer screen angle issue because of your changing eye-level. Try angling your screen forward towards yourself when you lay down and the darkness will magically disappear! (or, at least, it should)
The wording on this is a little confusing to me. Do you have a diagram of where the placement of the lights should be? We’re saying one behind the cam, one to the side to bounce light onto you, and one behind you? Thanks for the clarification!
I described the standard “3-point lighting system” – you can search that as a keyword to find visual examples of how to set up your lights. Personally, I pay little attention to the back light and mostly focus on having at least one powerful light on each side of the cam space (ideally four, two low and two up above) and one main light in front of me with an overhead ceiling room lamp as a fill light.