How Should You Light Your Face When Streaming?

streaming light setup

Stream lighting is an essential part of the whole streaming process.

Most viewers will pay attention to your lighting, whether they notice it or not.

Beginners and amateurs mostly overlook lighting, but the most famous streamers know its importance. A successful streamer makes his videos look professional all the time, and an essential part of that image is the lighting. 

Here’s everything you’ll need to know to light your streaming so that you can have a professional image. 

The Basics of Lighting

The basics of lighting are easy to understand. You have a primary source of light and a lower one to fill the shadows. The main source is called the Key Light, and the other one is called the Fill Light. 

There are more types of lighting, but for streaming, you only need to know these two. 

Key Light 

As mentioned before, the Key Light is your primary source of light. The best way to use this kind of lighting is to position the light source behind the camera. 

Some streamers use a ring light around the webcam, but you can achieve this with a desk lamp. 

Fill Light 

If you only use a Key Light, you’ll find that your image is full of shadows and glare. Here’s when Fill Lights come into play. 

A Fill Light’s purpose is to fill in the shadows and lower the glares by positioning the light in a way that softens the Key Light’s light.

You can use a desk lamp for this too. Just try to get one with lower power than the Key Light. 

Light Position for Streaming

streamer with his light setup

Lighting streaming is not as hard as lighting a movie or a professional shot.

However, it does require you to know the essential positioning of lights for videos. 

Here are the ways you can position your lights so you can get a better image:

3-Point Lighting

3-Point lighting is the most basic lighting position you can use. It requires three sources of light, a Key Light and two Fill Lights. You will place the lights at three different angles so that you can achieve a balanced shot. 

The Key Light must sit behind the camera, lighting you up directly or from a side of the camera. Then you can add the Fill Lights. You should place the first one under the Key Light to soften the shadows and glare. 

The third light is positioned behind you so that it creates a contrast between you and the background. 

Loop Lighting

All you need is a Key Light placed by the side of the camera and slightly above your eye level. 

If you notice any shadows, you add a Fill Light at a different angle. 

Back Lighting

The primary purpose of the Loop Lighting and the 3-Point lighting is to light you up. But if you have a background that you want others to pay attention to, use background lighting.

To achieve this, you’ll need another set of lights pointing directly at your background. 

What Type of Light is the Best for Lighting Your Face While Streaming?

face light setup

When choosing the best lighting for your streaming, you need to take into consideration your surroundings. 

Suppose you have a lot of natural light because of multiple windows. In that case, you’ll need an entirely different lighting setup than a windowless basement. 

To light your face, you’ll need to decide what type of lighting you like the most. You can choose a daylight approach and have neutral lighting, or you can play with the lights and have cold or warm lighting. 

You can even choose to have multiple light colors for different parts of the shot. It all depends on your taste. However, for the best face lighting results, you can use two light sources placed on both sides of the camera and a background light to separate you from the background. 

Should You Use More Than One Light?

You have the option of only using a Key Light, but by doing this, you’d end up with a lot of shadows in your image.

Add a Fill Light if you can afford it or think it will help your final take.

Although using a Key Light and a Fill Light is usually enough, it will depend on how you like your image to look. If you want to highlight your background or a specific area of your shot, we recommend an additional light source. 

The only thing to consider for this is not to make your third light as powerful as your Key Light or Fill light.

Popular Light Setups for Streaming

popular streamer

An essential part of composing the perfect image is to set up your camera to get the best possible results with the lights you’ll use. 

By properly setting up your camera, you will improve your image without any additional cost. 

To do this, you only need to follow the next steps: 

  1. Place your lights in the exact position you’ll be using them during the stream.
  2. Turn your monitor on as it also produces light. 
  3. Go to your webcam settings.
  4. Disable anything that has the word “auto” in it.
  5. Next, manually adjust the temperature to the point you feel comfortable.

If you already know about camera settings, then it will be easy. If not, it will take you some trial and error to get to the perfect setting.

What Do Famous Streamers Use? 

The best lighting setups for streaming are the ones that offer you quality at the best price. 

We know that proper lighting is essential for good streaming. Here we have the best lighting kits possible for beginners and advanced streamers. 

Most of these kits are used by the best and most popular streamers.

  • Mountdog Softbox Lighting Kit: This lighting kit is best for those with plenty of space for their streaming studio. The equipment is easy to install, and it is user-friendly, which is perfect for beginners. 
  • Elgato Key Light: Elgato is an excellent choice for more advanced and experienced streamers. It allows you to maintain a quality-video and consistency with your camera lighting. Elgato also comes with an app that allows you to change settings even during the streaming without creating any significant inconveniences. 
  • Fovitec Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit: It is one of the best softbox lighting kits on the market. The price is higher than other options, but the quality is excellent. Fovitec is energy efficient and will reduce your streaming’s energy consumption, which is vital for many streamers out there. It is an excellent choice for small and medium areas, and you can control and customize it easily. 
  • Led Ring Light 6” with Tripod stand: The Led Ring Light is the best light for streaming gameplays. It offers you over ten brightening levels, which is perfect for streaming while looking at a monitor. It is an extremely cheap option and a high-quality one, but it won’t illuminate large areas. The Led Ring also lacks a lot of customization options. 
  • Aputure 120D Mark 2: This is the most robust option you can find, but it comes with many features. With the remote control, you’ll be able to adjust brightness and temperature. It is also easy to install, and it’s safer than previous models of the same brand. However, it is a bit more expensive than other options. 

Settings You Should Check on Your Streaming Software

gaming streamer

You have your lights and your camera set up. Now it’s time to adjust the settings in your streaming software to get the best possible quality. 

These are the most common streaming settings you need to pay attention to: 

Simple Output Mode

The simple output mode will allow you to change the encoding settings and the video and audio bitrates. 

Pay attention to your combined audio and video rates, and make sure they are less than half your internet speed, or you will have buffer problems. 

Advanced Output Mode

If you select the advanced output mode, you can adjust more items in your streaming software. 

With this setting, you can add audio tracks, rescale your output, modify your encoder, adjust the rate control, and many more options.

Hotkeys

You can use Hotkeys to switch between scenes during your broadcast. All you need to do to set the hotkeys up is go to your software menu and select Hotkeys. 

Once done, you only need to assign a hotkey to each scene you want to use. 

Why Should You Prioritize Framing When You Set Up The Streaming Light?

The impact of the light you set up largely depends on your position in relation to the lens. You should know the portion of the lens that needs to be lit up. 

Here are certain aspects you need to consider when you adjust the light and framing:

  • Firstly, make sure that the camera position is above the nose line. The lighting would be best when you try to avoid illuminating the areas under your chin or nose. 
  • Don’t position yourself too close to the camera. A distance of two to three feet would ensure that you have adequate headroom.
  • It’s easier to light center shots. Try to position the frame at the center, rather than at the sides. If you have an object in the background, you should follow the central alignment. 
  • If you want the frame to cover your entire body, make sure to have adequate room on the sides, top, and bottom. You need to make this adjustment, depending on the extent of movements you’ll be doing. For wide frames, it’s recommended to go for entirely lit environments.

Finding The Right Color Along With Lighting

When you add a light source to the frame, decide the color that the viewers should see. If you’re familiar with soft bulbs at home, you’d find labels like ‘daylight’ and ‘tungsten’ on them. Decide whether you want the light to be warm or cool.

If the camera overplays with additional tungsten light, the video would have an orange or yellow tinge. To give you an idea, below are the different color options.

With incandescent or tungsten, you have warm indoor lighting. With indoor lighting, you can associate the orange or yellow color to a greater extent. People find this type of lighting gentle and soothing.

With the daylight color, you have more of a bluish tinge. This is a much cooler color in the spectrum that you can use. It’s similar to the light emitted by the sun during noon.

Keep in mind that the computer screen emits blue light. If you’re positioned in front of the computer while streaming the video, your face will already be lit in blue to a certain extent. If you’re sitting close to a window during the day, you need to adjust the color accordingly.

As a rule of thumb, you need to have the right kind of lights to suit the environment you’re in. Use the camera in a way to balance the lighting. If you notice an orangish or bluish tinge on your face, use a different source of light. Also, you may shift the color in the other direction to make the necessary adjustment.

Remember, the equipment you’re using affects the lighting significantly. Your body also can also be a deciding factor when choosing the right lighting for your face. For instance, people with more oil skin cause the light to reflect. You’ll need to set up your lighting equipment accordingly.

Conclusion

Ultimately, what matters the most is your content. If you cannot afford fancy lighting systems and software, then go for functionality and use a couple of desk lamps. 

Pay attention to the shadows, and understand your surroundings before streaming. You can play with the light colors as much as you want to show your mood or personality.

Always keep in mind that light is an essential part of your professional image. It doesn’t matter if you use your phone’s lamp or a Softbox lighting kit. What matters is that you do your best to make it look good.

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