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.