Last week, we held a workshop on lighting with household lamps to help improve interview-style shooting at home. Take a look below for basic three point lighting tips and how to apply these same tips when using lamps you have laying around your house!
THREE POINT LIGHTING
Your key light is the main light that will illuminate your subject. It should be the closest and brightest light in your arsenal and should be positioned to illuminate one side of your subject’s face.
The fill light fills in the other side of your subject and should be a little farther away and about half the brightness. This light is important to fill in some shadows that your key light creates.
To separate your subject from the background, it is important to use a backlight. This light should be pointed down on your subject from behind and illuminate the back of their head/shoulders.
In addition to the three point system, you should also make sure to light the background behind your subject for best results!
LIGHTING WITH HOUSEHOLD LAMPS
Light kits can be bulky, expensive, and hard to get your hands on. Luckily we have a few handy tricks up our sleeves to help you light on a budget. Remember that cameras are less sensitive to light than our eyes so always do a test record to see how it looks.
**We also have a portable light kit if you’d like to try it out!**
Use brighter or more powerful lights for your fill light. Use dimmer lamps or maybe a lamp with a shade for your fill light.
Filter and Diffusion
If your lights are too bright, try moving them farther away from your subject or using a shade or other material that lets less light through (like thin paper or a white sheet). Be careful not to put anything too close to catch on fire!
If you’re working with less than three lights, try utilizing a reflector to bounce light back onto your subject. White poster board is my favorite cheap alternative to fancy reflectors.
If working with natural light, position your subject so the natural light acts as their key light. Use a reflector (white poster board, etc.) to bounce light on to the other side of their face as their fill light.
Fluorescent lighting overhead can be hard to control but try your shot with and without the light to see how it looks. If the light is emanating from a specific point instead of general floodlighting, see how that can be utilized as a backlight or a background light.
The best way to find the right light is to just try it out! If you can, test your lighting prior to the shoot so you know what you have available going into it and ALWAYS look for where the outlets are! Extension cords are a staple too so you can move freely around the room. Above all else, have fun with it!
For more tips and visual representations of three point lighting, check out this video from Five Minute Film School. They did a great job explaining everything!