My Lighting Setup for My Canon DSLR Videos

I answer a common question I get a lot.


I get this question a lot, “Dave your lighting looks great what are you using?” I really haven’t made a video on this because I thought it was a no brain’er, but after I thought about it there is more to it that others can learn from.

First off I believe they are talking about this shot and not this one in my studio. If anyone is asking about the studio watch them here.

First off it is all natural lighting.

For the most part it is two perhaps three point lighting.

The key light is my large sliding door which faces west. Most of the time the sun is not hitting directly, it is bouncing off the hill in the open space. The color of the light changes  with amber to pure white snow, only a few weeks a year it is green.

The angle of light is very important I have found setting my tripod in the right location creates the best contrast ratio. If I look straight into the window watch what happens to the ratio, and more than that, watch what happens to the catch light pinpoints in my eyes which I think looks terrible.

Next up is my fill light. For about a year and half I used the silver side of 42 inch reflector. However lately I think gold works better. I like the catch light in my eyes, just one eye, I wish it was two.

I don’t like it being in the floor, see what it does to my shirt.

Fast moving clouds can be a pain, I always look to see how fast I need to go in the after noon in the summer.

Possible the third light is behind me not sure it adds anything.

I am amazed how the light is always different. Time of day, time of year, I can’t recreate it.

Color if the room has changed since I started this, I painted almost an 18% gray.

The CRI index is high with natural light, not sure what that means but low noise in the shadows.

Color of my desk, translucent allows light up through it. Color of the carpet. Light from the monitor too. Color of my t-shirts play a role too.

I do have led lights but when I add them I get a noisy image.

Camera settings also have a ton as well to do with lighting. Lighting auto optimizer is off, when I first started and knew little about lighting I had this on low to fill in the shadows. Now I have used thus camera for a long time I have it disabled. If had it on strong it would give less control in post.

Another huge one is picture style contrast. I don’t like going all the way to -4, for me -3 works best.

Then I add contrast in post with levels because it is fast to get the right ratio. Next I will use curves to get more control.

I use the T2i with the cheap 50mm 1.8. I focus using the EOS software.

I used to use the digital target but most of the time I am at f2.3 and ISO of 100, shutter at 1/50.

I used to white balance all the time but from experience I can tell you that with this much natural light, with nothing else mixed in, AWB rocks 99% of the time.

Rendering also plays in to this not so much over all with lighting but over all quality I do much testing here as well but I will save that for another video since that has way more parameters to test with.

Hey if like all these videos that I do, now up to 160, please consider making a donation on my site to keep me motivated or buying something from my gear page. Perhaps some day I will create a training product to.

I like to try new things, and one I have still have yet to test is putting a diffusion paper on the sliding glass door to see how that would works as a soft box.