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Beauty and Make Up Video Lighting Essentials

Last Updated 12th February 2016

Lights, camera, stability, sound and composition! No really, that’s it – those are essentially the 5 magic words to make it all happen. Let me explain, lighting is a powerful tool, so make sure you use it well. It’s a common misconception that an expensive camera is going to do the job, but trust me, even the most on fleek individual is going to look like a hot mess with subpar lighting.

You’re looking for something natural, you want your make up to pop, colours to burst and shimmers to shine. Large windows on sunny days are a beauty bloggers dream, but alas, we’re not all blessed with 365 days of summer sunshine. So here’s the solution – continuous lighting, 5500K to be specific. This mimics daylight. Since daylight is the most accurate and desirable render of colour, make sure your light is 5500K.

Start with lighting up the front of the face, I personally suggest a large ring light. A ring light ensures an even spread, lighting up the entire face, I like to call it the “wrap around effect”. Make sure you have a dimmable option to adjust the output, so you can control the strength to your desired brightness. The ring light should be diffused with a sock or a cover (which should be included with the light). This reduces harsh and unflattering shadows that the camera can pick up.

If you’re doing close ups of the face, the ring light will do the job, but if you’re looking for a wider frame, say to fit half body then you’ll want to invest in a pair of fill lights. Either 2 fluorescent soft boxes or 2 LED panels, this all depends on your budget. Just remember, make sure they are 5500K.  Ideally place each light to your left and right at an angle, so you eliminate shadows behind you.

Tripod or stand. Don’t forget one of these, they are very important for a steady and stable shot. You’ll need something to hold your camera into place. If you’re shooting with the ring light, make sure to position your camera in the centre, to optimise the spread of light. You can buy camera mounts for your light stand if you don’t want to use a separate tripod. Save some space by using a z mount. This sits onto of your light stand and hold both ring light and camera into place at the same time.

Background. Make sure it’s not too cluttered. The last thing you need is a distraction in the frame. You want your face to be centre of attention. If you’re at home, a quick tidy will go a long way. A plain wall or a neutral space would be ideal.

Sound quality can be an issue with a lot of videos, you can definitely get away with what your camera or phone pics up, but to get that crisp clear sound, I would recommend a shotgun microphone. These are mounted directly to the top of your DSLR camera using the hot shoe. Shooting with an iPhone or equivalent? You can buy lavalier mic and clip it onto your shirt. Another great way of picking up that ideal sound.

Finally we come to cameras, in this day and age, an iPhone will give you some pretty impressive shots, pop it onto the camera mount and you’re ready to go. If you’re after that completely professional finish and process, invest in a DSLR camera with a flip screen, so you can see what you’re filming, this makes it much easier if you’re filming on your own. The Canon 70D is a great example.


You’ll want to pair that with a 50mm f1.8 lens, it will give you a crisp sharp focus and a beautiful soft background effect. Keep in mind, this is a prime lens, so you won’t be able to zoom in. The frame is tight enough to get that half body composition with the light approximately 50-70cm away from your face. If you’re after something wider, you can move your camera back or use any lens that comes standard with your camera kit.

So there you have it, these are the most essential pieces of equipment for shooting beauty and make up. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us directly on our website or give us a quick call on 1300 449 767.


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