How to inexpensively take your lighting for social media to the next level
Lighting isn’t something that many of us take into consideration for our social media. Sure, if we’re posting photographs of our clients to social media, they’re already lit anyway, but if we’re shooting images or videos that are just for social media, it’s usually ignored. Because, well, it’s just social media, right?
Well, there’s a lot you can do in terms of lighting for social media that’s fairly simple to achieve. You can do it with some relatively inexpensive gear and it’s pretty easy to set up, too. In this video, Mark Wallace walks us through a number of different types of lights and lighting setups to show how we can get the most out of our setups for social media.
Here’s the list of topics Mark covers, along with the timestamps.
- 0:42 Six things to consider when buying a light
- 2:05 Three lighting systems to choose from
- 5:17 The Nanlite Halo 16 Ring Light
- 7:22 The Nanlite Mira 26B LED light
- 8:24 Controlling reflections and shaping light
- 13:12 Comparing lights and shooting an Instagram story
- 16:53 Comparing lights for food and product shots
- 17:34 A sample Instagram story
- 18:06 Choosing the best light for the job
Mark shows off three different lighting kits in the video. The NanLite Mira 26B Dual Flex Arm light, the NanLite Halo 16 Bi-Color LED Ring Light and the NanLite LumiPad 11 Dimmable Bi-Color LED panel – all of which are relatively inexpensive. You don’t have to use these exact products, though. The principles explained in the vide holds true for the same types of lights regardless of who makes them. Mark also shows the differences that the type of light can make to your shot.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the ring light for people, except as a fill. Using the pair of lights on the Mira26B, though, looks much better to me. As well as lighting a person, Mark also shows how to we can light other subjects for social media, including food. Sure, food’s a bit of a social media trope but it’s also true. And here is where I think the ring light really starts to shine (pun unintended).
I don’t do much in the way of food, but I do photograph a lot of other small items on my tabletop for social media. Mostly small products. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Litra Pro, although now that Litra’s been bought out by Logitech, I’m not sure what’s happening with the Litra product range these days. But, that’s also resulted in massive discounts on their products on Amazon. Another excellent small light that I love is the DigitalFoto Tree Frog.
Whatever brand or type of light you go for, lighting is definitely worth thinking about when it comes to social media, especially if you’re shooting video in a regular space for Instagram Stories, TikTok, etc.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.