By Rachel Kiley
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Creating content for YouTube can be a fun and lucrative endeavor, but in a competitive marketplace, professional-looking videos can give you the edge you need to stand out amid the noise. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to get the right lighting setup for YouTube.
There are many different types of lights to choose from, and learning about those before diving into the specifics of brands and individual items might help narrow things down based on your needs. But if you’re looking for a place to start, we’ve gone over some of the most popular lighting setups for YouTubers and picked the best ones for a variety of situations.
Best Basic Vlogging Lighting: Ring Lights
For many vloggers just starting out, a ring light is a hassle-free option that will cover most of your needs, especially if you’re planning on keeping things simple and just talking to your camera in a controlled indoor environment.
The Westcott 18-inch Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit comes with a tripod and a carrying case for easy setup and storage. The color temperature range of 3200-5600K and dimmability give you complete control over the look of your image and will help match shots even if you’re shooting at different times of the day. It can be plugged into an outlet or run-off batteries, providing flexibility for your particular setup. It also includes a built-in diffuser to keep your lighting smooth and free of unwanted shadows.
Best Area Lighting: Softbox Lights
If your YouTube videos require lighting a larger area than just the space directly in front of your camera, or revolve around product reviews, unboxings, puzzles, or other scenarios where you need to show something off or move around within a room without changing your setup, a softbox lighting kit is probably your best bet.
The Neewer 700W Photography Softbox Lighting Kit is a great lighting solution, especially for those on a budget. True to their name, the softboxes produce a soft, even light that is perfect for video, and having two separate lights gives you more control over lighting an entire space as well as different types of objects. The kit includes two softboxes, two light stands, two lamps, and a carrying case.
And if you’re planning on doing interviews or creating skits, just grab an extra light and look into 3-point lighting to make your videos really look like the real deal.
Price: $90.99 (usually $111.99)
Best On-the-Go Lighting: LED Panel Lights
A proper lighting setup with tripods and multiple lights isn’t always plausible, but fortunately, LED panels that attach to the camera have come a long way in recent years.
The Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro is a great option for anyone planning to shoot video on-the-go, outside of a controlled environment, and without the time to figure out a more in-depth setup. It offers adjustable color temperature and dimmability can be mounted on a variety of compatible cameras or a separate tripod and can be controlled via Bluetooth with an app on your phone. The built-in rechargeable battery lasts up to 2.5 hours when the light is at full power, giving you ample recording time.
And if you’re looking for something even more portable, at less than half the price, the Panel Mini won’t disappoint.
Best Budget Smartphone Lighting: Smaller Ring Lights
If you aren’t ready to commit to a proper lighting setup just yet but want to experiment with creating YouTube videos on a budget first, snagging a small ring light meant specifically for smartphones isn’t a bad idea.
Apexel’s 10-inch LED Ring Light provides three different temperature modes for you to play around with, and will still definitely still improve your video quality. It comes with a tripod and built-in phone holder, meaning you won’t have to seek out additional accessories for the light. And coming in under $50, it’s an affordable option for creators looking to grow their audiences before expanding their setup.
Price: $42.99 (usually $49.99)