The Standard 3-Point Lighting Technique

Once you’re creating regular live video content, it’s time to take your content onto the next level and make it look even better than it already does.

The Three Point Lighting Technique is a standard method used in video, photography and computer-generated imagery.

It’s really simple, and is the basis for all forms of lighting, and will really help give your videos a more professional feel once you’re comfortable in front of the camera and making regular live content.

As you’d probably guessed by now, the technique uses 3 lights, the key light, fill light and back light.

You’re going to need three lights to make it fully work, but the principles are still important even if you only use one or two lights.

As a rule:

  • If you only have one light, it becomes the key.
  • If you have 2 lights, one is the key and the other is either the fill or the backlight.

Key Light

This is the main light. It’s the strongest / brightest lamp you have available.  You need to place it to one side of where you’ll be sitting to provide lighting to one side of your face, and causing a slight shadow to the other side.

Fill Light

This is your 2nd light and is put on the opposite side of the key light.  This will then FILL the shadow area on your face.  If you can use a slightly less bright light as your fill light, you could even place a thin piece of fabric over it to soften the light a little, or if you don’t have this or the lamp is likely to get hot, then move the lamp further away from where you’re sitting.

Back Light

The back light is exactly as you’d imagine.  You place this at the back of the scene and it lights from the rear rather than providing direct light on you.  This will help make it feel like the visual has a 3D look rather than just flat like an eternity white screen video for example.

Have fun with your lighting, and try different things to suit other occasions, i.e. green and orange filters to make it feel spooky for halloween etc. etc.

If you’ve any questions, as always, drop me a line on [email protected]