Three Point Lighting Basics

For professional-looking video, be sure to follow the principals of three point lighting:


Three Point Lighting

A. Key Light

The dominant light source

  • the sun
  • a window
  • an actual light fixture

Offset the Key Light 15 to 45 degrees to the side (to the left or right) of the camera. From a side view, raise the Key Light above the camera, so that it hits your subject from about 15 to 45 degrees higher than the camera angle


B. Fill Light

  • softens and extends the illumination provided by the key light
  • makes more of the subject visible
  • removes heavy shadows

From the top view, a Fill Light should come from a generally opposite angle than the Key - if the Key is on the left, the Fill should be on the right - but don't make all of your lighting 100% symmetrical! The Fill can be raised to the subject's height, but should be lower than the Key.

At most, Fill Lights can be about half as bright as your Key (a Key-to-Fill ratio of 2:1)


C. Back light (Rim Light)

  • creates a bright line around the edge of your subject
  • separates subject from the background