Terry O’Deen owns and operates Sunset Lighting Company, a full-service equipment rental house in North Carolina that provides tools for filmmakers, social media influencers, and bloggers. In the following article, Terry O’Deen discusses the importance of lighting for content creators, and how these influencers utilize these specific techniques to create viral posts.
According to Forbes, there are about 50 million people who consider themselves social media influencers. They range in age and expertise but one thing that they all use? Great lighting.
Terry O’Deen on Why Lighting Matters
Terry O’Deen of Sunset Lighting Company says that lighting can make or break content creators because it is all about how things look visually. Most people are quickly scrolling through social media and do not spend more than a few seconds looking at posts, so an influencer’s content has to grab someone’s attention from the get-go.
Some of the most common lighting problems include:
- Looking washed out
- Being too dark
- Too much/too little contrast
Terry O’Deen explains that social media influencers are trying to share content with their followers. Whether its unique recipes, make-up techniques, or just chatting about life in front of the camera, lighting can be advantageously used to highlight the subject of interest.
Best Lighting Choices
How can content creators and influencers avoid bad lighting choices? Below are some of the best tips to keep in mind.
LED Ring Lights
Terry O’Deen of Sunset Lighting Company says that one of the best lights to invest in are LED ring lights. They can be large enough to place on a stand in the room or they can be small enough to clip onto a smartphone or laptop. Either way, it will depend on the creator’s needs. The variety of options are great, especially since not everyone has the space for larger lighting.
Terry O’Deen of Sunset Lighting Company says that ring lights are so popular because they create uniform lighting all around. Anything within the circle is illuminated, so there is less likelihood of struggling to light up certain parts of your face or an outfit. They are often called “glamour lights” because they were used in professional photography for models and tv personalities.
Do Not Fight the Light
Terry O’Deen says that one thing to always remember with lighting: shoot in the same direction of the light, not against it. Shooting against light will result in backlighting, which makes the subject dark and nearly impossible to see.
Shooting with the light will illuminate the subject and make details pop out. If there is no way to shoot with the light, then additional room lighting needs to be used to add additional brightness to whatever is being shot or filmed.
Terry O’Deen of Sunset Lighting Company says that timing is everything, and is especially important for shooting outdoors. The best time of the day is called the Golden Hour, when the sun is right on the horizon and creates some of the most beautiful lighting. This time of day is either right after sunrise or before sunset.
People love the dimness of sunsets and sunrises because it creates a soft, warm glow. When shooting in the middle of the day, the sun is at its strongest, so the lighting can be very harsh, and can create unwanted glare. If shooting during this time is necessary, try to utilize shade of some kind so the content does not look washed out.
Terry O’Deen says that influencers can still take advantage of sunsets by sitting near a door or a window. Just be sure the light is shining on the subject, and not being backlit.
Take Advantage of Technology
Most smartphones nowadays have excellent cameras that allow users to adjust brightness, warmth, add a filter, along with a myriad of other options. If a photo did not turn out the way it was supposed to, use technology to adjust it to your liking say Terry O’Deen.
In addition to a phone’s photo editing app, there are also other apps that can be downloaded. Photo edits can also be made to improve everything from shadows to contrast to brightness and depth.
Lastly, think about the angle. The magic number is 45 degrees because this creates “Rembrandt lighting,” which produces natural and flattering light on the subject. Lighting from above is also a great angle because it most closely imitates how the sun lights subjects.
Content creators should definitely avoid lighting from below a subject. This can create weird angles and often makes a person look sinister. With that being said, if the point is to make something look a certain way with shadows, then it makes sense to play around with the lighting.