Teach Me How to YouTube: Lighting & Camera FAQ (Pt. 3)

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Tips to Improve Your YouTube VideosBy far the most frequent questions I got when I announced this series were about my camera and lighting. The shortest answer I can give you is just mess around with it. I can't give 100% solid advice for everyone because I don't know your specific lighting conditions, how much sunlight you get each day, your skin tone, your room size, etc. What I can do is tell you what I do and how I figured it out (and I'm constantly making adjustments every day -- that's important.)

The first thing I did was buy a good camera. My camera isn't great, but it's definitely good. You don't need the best if you're just shooting YouTube videos and the occasional picture for your blog. Save that money to invest in high quality lenses, better lighting, and a fancy pants computer to edit on. I use the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5. It's a nice piece of equipment that takes stunning photos, shoots in AVCHD, and has a tiltable screen -- all very necessary for this line of work.

Make sure when you're playing around with your camera you start with a basic understanding of things like ISO, (how sensitive your lens is to light), aperture (the amount of light your camera lets in), and shutter speed (how long the shutter is open when taking still photos.) Knowing these basic terms will help when you're Googling things like, "Why are my pictures so grainy?" Hint: Lower the ISO. Or, "Why am I getting sqiggly lines in my photos?" Try adjusting your shutter speed. Etc.

I really recommend manually white balancing your camera for optimum lighting conditions. This can be done really easily on most cameras and I'm sure there's a billion and five tutorials floating around on YouTube. Basically, this will help your colors appear as true as possible. Lighting should be used sparingly as you don't want to wash yourself out - this holds true for everyone, but especially if you have a darker skin tone. I went from three umbrella lights (WHY) to one and a floor lamp and I still think I look washed out at times.

Of course, sunlight is your friend. Don't turn your back to it. Literally. Face a window and use any additional lights as accents. They shouldn't be your main light source unless you're filming at night.

Hopefully this video answers all of your questions, but in case it didn't - feel free to comment here or on the video and let me know what else you'd like me to cover. Happy shooting!

sincerely me