July, 12, 2022

Quick Tip 3: How to Light on a Budget?


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If you have no money for lights or only have access to one light, you can still create great looking footage. Just keep reading to find out how. There’s even a bonus tip at the end.

one point lighting.

One point lighting is a simple method but can create great looking footage. The most affordable form of one point lighting is just using the sun. It’s best to place it on the left or right side of someone’s face and then add a bounce (white piece of cardboard) to fill in the shadows. This will create a soft and pleasing image; especially if you have something to diffuse the sunlight even further like some sheer curtains.


how to fake a 3 point lighting setup.

By using the sun and a white bounce we can add a light behind our subject and create what looks like a 3 point lighting setup. 


Here are 3 steps on how to fake a 3 point lighting setup:


1. Place your subject next to a window. 


2. Add a white bounce to fill in the shadows on the opposite side of the sunlight.


3. Place a light behind the subject to create a rim light.

Final Result:


That’s all it takes to create a dynamic image that looks professional. Well, sort of. Now you need to understand composition, contrast, depth, etc that take years of practice to create pleasing images.


the sun is missing.

If you’ve searched far and wide and can’t find the sun, don’t worry you can still light the scene with just one light (If the sun is missing, you actually should be very worried). Lighting with one light is a challenge but with a few tricks it is still very possible to get a great looking, natural and pleasing image.

The key to light an entire area and your subject with just one light is to use a powerful light and diffuse it well. This can be done with a video centric light such as the Amaran 100d (amazon link) or you can just use a flood light if you have one lying around (amazon link). This is if you’re really on a budget because video centric lights will have good color to not spoil your image with green or magenta hues. 

The Amaran 100d has 95+ CRI which means it has excellent color reproduction and your image will look as it should with good skin tones and colors.


bonus tip.

Regardless of how great or powerful your light is, you need diffusion. The bonus tip is, the bigger the diffusion the softer the image.

In this shot what we did is put on a Aputure Lantern (Amazon link) and then put a large circle diffuser (Amazon link) in front of it to soften the light more and spread it out as much as possible. A budget diffusion option is to use a shower curtain or white bed sheets. This would work even better than the circle filter because it would be larger! (We had tight space limitations.)

This creates soft lighting and does a good job of lighting the background and the subject. Using a white bounce on the opposite side of the light will help even out and flatten the skin even more. You can also add negative fill, black cardboard, if you want a moodier image. Lastly, if you wanted to brighten the background you could raise your ISO in camera and lower the light’s intensity or lift the shadows in the edit.

So whether you’re on a budget, have space limitations or maybe you just forgot your gear at home and only access to one light: you can create a pleasing image using just the sun or one light.

hire us.

You know can do this yourself but you don’t want to spend the money on the gear needed and you don’t want to spend years learning about composition, lighting, sound, and more. 

If you want to skip all the hassle and hire the professionals to get a pleasing image for your interviews, commercials or events, we are here to help!

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