How to Set Up Lighting For Video with Natural Light

Here’s how to set up lighting for video when all you’ve got is natural light. When most people think about using light for their video, they’re thinking about using expensive, fancy lighting equipment and soft boxes. You really don’t need to use any of that stuff. You can make beautiful, gorgeous video – by using natural light.

When you’re setting up for shooting in natural light, the first thing you need to consider is your location. Obviously you need a room that has a lot of natural light – and in the room I’m using for this video, I have two large windows. One window is off to the left side of my face and the other is facing me directly head on. So I have two points of light. And in addition I have a plain wall as a background – and I’ve separated myself from the wall by about three feet.

Between the light from the two windows in front of me and the reflected light from the wall behind me, I’m surrounded by a very soft light. And for this shoot it happened to be a cloudy day, so the light coming in from the windows is very diffuse.

The first mistake that most people make when they’re shooting themselves – and they’re trying to light themselves – they back up against the wall. When I’m right against the wall I create a shadow – and we really want to get rid of that shadow. The best way for me to do that is to move away from the wall – by at least three feet. Once you give yourself three to four feet of separation you’ll see that you no longer cast a shadow on the wall – no matter what you do.

If you want to bring even more light to your face – you can use a handy reflector. By placing the reflector so that it bounces back light onto the darker side of your face – your face will become very evenly lit.

The other giant mistake that a lot of people make when they’re trying to shoot in natural light: They place the light behind them. What it does is place your face in a pretty dark shadow. Don’t do this!

If you’re inspired to go and shoot some videos using natural light, I’d love to see them. You can share your videos in a safe place to get positive feedback by joining my Video Creators Lab group on Facebook at