Outdoor Lighting Techniques & Tips for Video Production

Outdoor Lighting Techniques & Tips for Video Production

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Outdoor lighting is something that can always change.  The sun is always moving, there are clouds, possibly rain…all of these things will affect your camera settings.  To properly shoot outside, you’ll need to arm yourself with reflectors and diffusion panels, items that will substitute for a lighting kit as you manipulate and bounce sunlight around (We talked about diffusion in this video).  Anyway, properly lighting outside doesn’t have to be a total pain, as you’ll find out here.

Always know where the sun is.  The instinct is to use the sun as your key light, which you shouldn’t fight at all despite the fact that the sun will likely get in your subject’s eyes.  To reduce the amount of light going into said eyes, place a diffusion panel between the sun and your subject’s face.

You can use reflectors/bounce boards to create back-lighting by bouncing the direct light off of their surfaces and onto the back of the subject.  You can also use them to balance the shadows on your talent’s face.

The basic reflector types you can buy come in gold, silver, or white.  Use the white reflector when you want to create a more natural light.  Gold and silver create a more intense look with the corresponding tint.  This allows you to add some color temperature if you think it’s needed.

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Hey I’m Stephen Schweickart and today on this episode of the Reel Rebel I’m going to brighten your day with some Outdoor Lighting skillz!

Trust me when I say this, the sun just isn’t enough! You can get OKAY results with it, but I’m going to teach you how to take your production to the next level! The WILD outdoors are a constantly changing environment full of shooting surprises. Meaning, the sun is constantly moving throughout the day, changing your lighting from one hour to the next, DUH! Clouds, rain, or anything else that can block the sun will also effect your camera settings. DOUBLE DUH!

You will need to accessorize for your outdoor shoot with reflectors and diffusion panels… And we know your no lighting diffusion dummy because you watched this video right here– (lean-into camera) or you’re about to shortly, (over-exaggerated wink)

The look you want to achieve was decided long ago. Now, the first step in shot composition is ALWAYS KNOW WHERE THE SUN IS… Your instinct is to have the sun as your “key light,” don’t fight it, just remember that the sun can be very bright and your talent will probably be squinting the entire time. Place a diffusion panel (holding a diffusion panel) between the sun and above your talent’s face which will diffuse the light so they can un-squint their eyes.

Diffusion panels are just the beginning. You can add to your desired look by using reflectors or bounce boards. They can be used to create backlighting by bouncing light behind your talent. You can also use it to fill in the shadows of your talent’s face. There are multiple types of reflectors you can purchase. The basic three options are gold, silver, or white. Use the white reflector if you want to bounce light with a more natural color. The gold or silver reflectors bounce a more intense light with a corresponding tint. This allows you to add some color temperature, if you think it’s needed.

Try as many things as your little heart desires to create your ideal outdoor lighting setup. There is no limit to what you can do with outdoor lighting BUT there is only one- way to improve your video production skillz, click the subscribe button below.


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