How 4 Lighting Styles Affect the Mood of Your Video

Posted by Katie Fagan on Dec 1, 2016 12:37:00 PM


If you thought lighting for your video was just an “on/off” switch to make your subject or scene visible to the viewer, think again!

Lighting, when used strategically, can be an effective storytelling tact to help you enhance the mood of your message. Below, Maxwell returns for his advice on four prime ways you can use lighting to help better communicate your story.



1. Natural/Available Light

Natural or available light is when you use the lighting that the set provides. In other words, if it’s a sunny day and you’re out shooting in the park, your shot will appear sunny, bright, and unfiltered. Similarly, if you’re shooting in windowless room, the available light will likely be dim and perhaps shadowy.


Natural or available light lends more authenticity to the actual scene you’re capturing because it isn’t doctored-up or filtered.

2. Flat Light

Unlike natural or available light, flat lighting a room requires additional lighting equipment to create a uniform, well-lit glow. Think bright light, no shadows, and no contrast.


It eliminates any unwanted drama and provides an even, easily viewable subject and scene.

3. Hard Light

Hard light is basically the opposite of flat light. There’s shadows, deep contrast, and darker light.


The shadows created by hard light help add an air of mystery or intensity, firing up the drama.

4. Beauty Style Light

If you’re looking to highlight the natural good looks of your subject, beauty style lighting is what you’re after. Beauty style is created by using bright light that is then diffused to soften the overall look.


It eliminates any harsh or unflattering lighting to enhance your subject’s best features.

The best way to establish which lighting will work best for your video? Experiment. Take a few shots in different lighting and see how it changes the mood of the scene.

Topics: video, lighting