YouTube Studio Lighting Setup

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Hey there, fellow content creators and online business owners! I’m Meredith, and today we’re diving into a topic that might ruffle a few feathers in the professional videography world – YouTube studio lighting. Trust me; you don’t need to be a professional videographer to make your videos look pro. In this installment of the “Crush It on Camera” series, we’ll unravel the secrets to lighting that will make you look, sound, and feel fantastic on camera.

Watch the Video: YouTube Studio Lighting Setup | CRUSH IT ON CAMERA

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Embracing the ‘Crush It on Camera’ Philosophy

If you’re putting yourself on camera, you probably want to look flattering, right? Now there’s a reason why the tagline for my Crush it on Camera guide is to create professional-looking videos that grow your audience with ease, and not create professional videos that grow your audience with ease. This is one of the things that I absolutely love about what I do in my channel and my business. I teach people who aren’t professional videographers create pro-looking content to grow their business and their personal brand. It’s about building your brand and connecting with your audience authentically.

Simplicity Over Complexity

As a self-proclaimed video gear nerd, I’m here to tell you that a 3-point lighting system in your YouTube studio isn’t necessary for YouTube success. All you really need is lighting that washes over you and highlights you while separating you from your background. And in the Crush it on Camera guide, I have several examples of setups with your windows and your lights. You can position things the way that it works best for the space that you’re recording in. The space I like call your “YouTubicle.” So if you’re looking for ideas and inspiration on things like that, make sure you download the Crush it on Camera guide.

Related: Crush it on Camera: Talking Head & Video Podcast Setup

Sunlight: Nature’s Best Gift for Videos

Believe it or not, the sun is one of the best sources for talking head videos. Its natural and flattering appearance on camera creates an engaging vibe. Now the only downside with sunlight is that it moves, and sometimes clouds get in the way. But I like the comfortable, not being in a professionally lit studio. I take my chances with the sunlight streaming in through my window, with partially closed blinds. I have a lamp on my table, and then my Elgato key light. The key light is right above my face, right behind my camera. This creates a lighting environment that I really like. It feels warm and approachable.

Setting the Stage: A ‘Set It and Forget It’ YouTubicle

So let’s talk about making your video creation process a breeze. I’m a firm believer in the ‘set it and forget it’ philosophy. Your YouTube studio lighting setup should be comfortable, warm, and approachable. It’s the kind of environment that makes hitting the record button a no-brainer. This allows you to create and publish more content. Don’t let the time of day dictate your recording schedule – let your lighting work for you.

The Unanimous Rule: Turn Off Overhead Lights

Here’s a tip that both professional and non-professional videographers agree on – turn off overhead lights. Whether it’s recessed lighting or any form of downward shine, it’s the least flattering and should be avoided at all costs. Even if it’s not directly on you, and is only on things in the background, it still doesn’t look good on camera.

Creating a Warm Hug with Lighting

Ever heard of the ‘warm hug’ lighting concept? Imagine lighting yourself from two sides, like you’re ready to give someone a big hug. In my setup, I’ve got an Elgato key light clamped to my desk with an Elgato Master Mount on one side. The window is on the other side, creating that “hug” of light from each side. Your space might be different, so check out the Crush It on Camera guide for diagram ideas tailored to you.

Background Lighting for Visual Appeal

Making your videos visually interesting goes beyond just lighting yourself. Let your camera focus on you, the subject, while using tools like Elgato light strips to add color to your background. It’s a personal preference, but it does wonders in separating you from the background and adding that warm hug type of lighting.

Related: Isn’t it Time to Create YouTube Videos with Your Fancy Camera?


So now that you’ve created a warm hug with your lighting, you might be wondering, how do you sound amazing on camera, or how do you actually record your videos? And how do you record your videos to where it’s easy to edit them? And it’s all in my Crush it on Camera series. But when it comes to making any video content on your YouTube channel to actually grow your audience, building a library of binge worthy videos is the most powerful way to do that. And I have a video explaining exactly how to become bingeable on YouTube so that you can attract new viewers and subscribers with every video you publish.