Lighting for the Camera – How is it Different From The Stage?

The camera has been a part of live events for some time, but in the post-2020 world more and more events rely on the recordings and live streams to make events happen. In this video, David shares how to think about lighting for the camera and the different types of events and what approaches to take.

The way your lighting looks on live stream matters! 2020 really switched up the way live events are shown and magnified the entire spectrum of possibilities for these events.

Reality is, these days, even if you don’t have cameras in your show you still need to optimize your lighting for recordings at least a little bit for those in the audience who may be filming with their phones.

Lighting and Live Shows

2020 initially had everything shut down and people began creating studios. Bands, churches, and other venues were creating live stream studios where they employed studio lighting techniques in the same way that film and tv work.

As time moved on and things began re-opening with reduced capacities we started to see that hybrid live events became incredibly popular. A hybrid live event is anywhere between a completely studio event and a completely live show.

Hybrid live events have their own unique set of challenges. Some hybrid live events utilize a small audience where it is okay to have the lighting be intrusive on the stage. This is because in a typical studio lighting set up you often have a primary light and fill lights. The key light (primary light) sits just a little bit off the cameras lens which creates a nice contrast to the face of the person on stage.

Fill lighting is then often brought in from the side or the back to warm up the look a bit and give some separation from the backdrop.

Light Source

Oftentimes you use umbrellas or soft boxes or just big sheets of white silk to create a very large white source of light that sits completely at eye level or just slightly above. This is in major contrast to stage lighting where you will generally want to keep the lighting up and away from the audience because it will look better on the eye when on camera.


Lighting for the camera and making it look good is a combined effort of many different things. One step of exposure is taking your camera app and snapping a quick photo of your lighting. You want to have it come out looking relatively great without having to tweak or edit anything in the photo.

The next step to check exposure is by snapping a quick photo of yourself with your lighting in the background. Sometimes, especially is there is a lot of darkness around the stage the image of a person can tend to get blown out.

Another thing to consider is if people are moving around a lot on the stage. You will see that if there is a lot of movement, a photo will cause things to look blown out in the image.

Taking time to double check these things and ensuring that you get the proper exposure consistent with your camera and lighting is really key.

Color Temperature

The color white has different tunes to it that in lighting we call “color temperature”. You will notice with stage lighting as well as LED lighting in your home that some lightbulbs will be more orange, and some will be more bluish. The tint of the white towards a cool or a warmer temperature has a large effect on your overall ambiance.

Matching your color temperature with any lights that are lighting people on stage is incredibly important. Making sure they are matched ensures that your lighting will look great still on camera.


There is a lot that goes into making your live or hybrid event look amazing on camera. Exposure and color temperature are just a couple of the important things to check for that we will discuss as the month goes on! Remembering to keep an eye on these two features will make your show the best possible every time.

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