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Lighting Up your Stream: The Ultimate Stream Lighting Guide

Title Picture for the ultimate Stream Lighting Guide.

Today is all about stream lighting, so fasten your seatbelts and get ready to be enlightened. Lighting is a key element that can make your stream look professional. Don’t think it’s just a minor detail because it really is damn important. If you get it wrong, your stream will look like crap. If you get it right, you’ll have viewers flocking to your channel like a bunch of goddamn pigeons.

One of the benefits of proper lighting is improved video quality. No more graininess or noise. Just a clear, polished look that’ll make you feel like a goddamn pro. And let’s be honest, when your stream looks good, you feel good. And if you feel good, it will reflect in your streaming content, making you much more entertaining. Good lighting can also help your viewers see what the hell is going on. No more viewers trying to make out the details in your stream, squinting their eyes in front of their monitor. Instead, good lighting makes it all crystal clear. And that, my friend, can be a game-changer, specifically if you’re “Just Chatting” or giving a tutorial.

And speaking of game-changers, good lighting can also increase engagement with your viewers. They will likely stick around and watch for longer when they see you clearly. And that means more loyal fans, more followers, and more love.
But the best part is that good lighting can help you get noticed by sponsors and partners. They want to see that you’re a pro and taking your stream seriously. And when you’ve got good lighting, you look like a goddamn pro.

So, my advice? Don’t skimp on the lighting. Invest in some good equipment, set it up right, and watch your stream soar to new heights. And when you soon bathe in the glow of your success, remember that it all started with a little thing called lighting.

Types of Stream Lighting Equipment

Various types of lighting for streamers, including ring light and key lights.

Listen up. If you want your lighting to be on point, you must know your equipment. And that means understanding the different types of lighting equipment out there. You don’t want to be that guy or gal still using a flashlight to light up their stream. So, let’s talk gear.

The first thing you need when on a budget is a light panel as a key light. Key light panels are the best thing you can get your hands on as a primary lighting solution for your stream. They are incredibly versatile and straightforward to handle. Most come with an extra mounting solution for your desk or monitor or an adjustable stand. Two of the most popular key light panels for streamers are the Elgato Key Light and the Elgato Key Light Mini. They offer outstanding mounting solutions and will help you elevate your stream to the next level of enlightenment.

Pros:

  • targeted, directional light
  • Adjustable and customizable
  • Ideal for smaller setups

Cons:

  • It can be expensive
  • Requires additional setup and equipment
  • Limited coverage area compared to larger lighting setups

The next light on the list is Ring lights. Ring lights are the perfect mix between key lights and softbox. They are more lightweight than Softboxes and easy to handle, like a light panel. They give off a very even light that will make you look like a movie star. If you are on a budget, Ring lights are very reasonably priced, and you could try to use one instead of a key light panel. No need to sell your soul to afford a good lighting solution.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Give off a soft, even light
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Limited adjustability
  • It can create circular catchlights in the eyes
  • It may not be bright enough for larger setups

Softboxes are more complicated and take up a lot of extra space. If you don’t have enough room in your streaming area, feel free to skip this part. If you go through the effort to find space and set up a softbox correctly, it can work true lighting magic, though. They give off a soft and diffuse light to wash out harsh shadows on your face. You can use Softboxes as a key light or a fill light. Most Softboxes come together with a stand and are highly adjustable. If you tweak around a bit, the light of one or two softboxes will make you look like you were sent from heaven.

Pros:

  • Give off a soft, diffused light
  • Adjustable to get the exact look you want
  • Can create a professional-level look

Cons:

  • More advanced and may require more setup time
  • It can be more expensive than other options
  • It may take up more space

If you are more on life’s fun and colorful side, Govee hexa or triangles might do the trick for you. They are an excellent choice for high-tech fanatics or if you are looking for a highly adaptable solution. Govee panels are small, flexible, and can be controlled through a mobile app. You can achieve elegant lighting effects if you connect enough panels together. We don’t recommend using Govee LEDs as standalone lighting. Still, combined with any other solution above, they will catch some eyes for you.

Pros:

  • Small and flexible, it can be used in a variety of setups
  • It can create sweet lighting effects
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • It may not be bright enough for larger setups
  • It can be difficult to adjust
  • It may not give off as much light as other options

Thousands of other lighting options exist, so don’t worry if none of the above tickle your fancy. You can get creative with LED strip lights, string lights, paper lanterns, or even candles (although we don’t recommend that last one for obvious reasons). The point is that there’s no universal solution for lighting, and you need to find what works for you and your stream. So, experiment with different gear, try different setups, and see what looks good. And most importantly, have a blast. Because what else is the goddamn point?

The Lighting Setup for your stream

An Illustration of the Three-point stream lighting setup.

Placement plays a critical role when it comes to lighting. Propper placement will reduce ugly shadows and boost the overall quality of your video content. There are multiple well-known and proven lighting setups for all kinds of lights. It strongly depends on your lighting goals and how much money you want to throw at it.

We recommend using at least two light sources: a key light and a fill light. The key light should be the brightest and placed at an angle in front of you. The fill light directly opposes the key light to cancel out harsh shadows. The fill light doesn’t have to be as bright as the key light. You can easily achieve that with two panel lights or with a panel light and a ring light or softbox. The distance and angle of your lights leave room for experimentation. We recommend playing around a bit to find the sweet spots.

If you like to use a green screen, consider using an additional light for the background. The light should illuminate the whole green screen to remove any shadows. This will create a sense of depth behind you and help to separate you from the green screen. You can learn all about green screens for streaming in one of our other article.

Here are some common setups you can try out:

  •  The butterfly setup is simple and effective. All you need is a single key light placed directly in front of you. Placing the light above eye level will create a slight shadow under your nose that looks just like a butterfly, hence the name. You can achieve this setup with a panel light, a ring light, or a simple desk lamp. We recommend this when you are on a budget or like simplicity.

  • An Illustration of the Two-point lighting setup for streamers. This setup is about creating a natural-looking light with depth and dimension. It features a key light placed at an angle in front of the subject and a fill light that softens shadows and balances out the lighting.

  • An Illustration of the Three-point lighting setup for streamers. If you’re serious about your lighting game, try this classic setup used in photography and film. It consists of a key light as the primary light source, a fill light to soften shadows, and a backlight that adds depth and separation from the background.

  • An Illustration of the High-key lighting setup for streamers. Need to create a cheerful and upbeat atmosphere for your stream? This setup uses bright, even lighting to do just that. Position at least two lights in front of you at a 45-degree angle to create an even, diffused light, and use a fill light or reflector to soften shadows and create balance.

 

Beyond these basic setups, the lighting world is your oyster. So let your imagination run free, place colorful highlights with some LED strips of Govee lights, highlight background objects with clever spotlight placement, change colors, and create shadows to fit every mood you can think of. How many lights and where you place them will depend on your specific goals, taste, and your general streaming space. Start with one light and play around with simple setups, and from there, add the next light and experiment. Get creative. Lighting is an art in the end.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Lighting in Your Stream

Common mistakes when lighting up your stream.

When setting up lighting for your stream, it’s important to avoid missteps that can muck up the look of your content. Here are some slip-ups to be mindful of:

First and foremost, poor placement of lights can produce unsightly shadows or flatten out your subject’s features. You want to station your lights in a manner that generates a natural-looking light and accentuates your subject’s finest attributes.
Another misstep is going overboard with too much lighting. While you want to produce an illuminating and uniform light, you want to avoid going too far and manufacturing an overly harsh or unnatural look. It’s better to utilize a few well-placed lights rather than deluge your scene with too much light.

Using lighting that creates harsh shadows or unsightly hues is another pitfall to sidestep. Instead, make sure you’re using soft, diffused lighting that creates a natural and flattering look. Additionally, be cautious with the color temperature of your lights – you don’t want to create an excessively cool or warm look.

Lastly, failing to contemplate the background and its interaction with the lighting can result in a distracting or unsatisfying look. Ensure your lighting works harmoniously with your background to construct a cohesive and visually pleasing scene.
By steering clear of these common mistakes, you can construct a lighting setup that elevates the quality of your stream and leaves you looking like a bona fide pro.

Conclusion

Well, my friend. We reached the end of our discussion. To summarize, we covered all the basics, from different kinds of lighting solutions over placement to common mistakes you must avoid. Lighting is crucial for your stream, and it can substantially increase the viewability of your content. Good light will enhance the mood and make you look more professional. It will lighten up your viewers and improve the overall viewing experience. This guide should help you to use lighting to its fullest potential. Lighting is a powerful tool that you should utilize for your stream. Take your time with it and explore different setups, angles, and placements. I am sure your viewers will appreciate the improved quality of your content. Dare to be imaginative and experiment with new ideas. And above all, enjoy the process. Streaming is about expressing yourself and sharing your passions with the world.

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