Master outdoor video lighting with these simple tips

It’s one thing to shoot video and record audio indoors. But what happens when you need to start filming in outdoor locations? Moving your whole production outside can feel a little bit daunting, particularly regarding lighting. Without making an effort, your footage could quickly look flat and dull.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Filmmaker Aidin Robbins does most of his shoots outdoors, and in this video for Adorama, he shares a range of simple lighting setups for creating interesting footage outdoors.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to lighting for the solo filmmaker is not being able to carry large amounts of equipment. Even small indie film productions generally have a crew for this. So you will have to get creative instead.

One thing to remember is that natural light is your friend. You want to be able to understand it well enough that you can manipulate it and enhance it to your advantage. You’ll unlikely be able to out-power the sun with anything you can carry, so work with it instead. You can use it as a kicker or backlight to significant effect.

The time of day, angle of light, and weather will all significantly impact how the light appears in your footage. You can plan accordingly using apps such as Windy or Photo Pills.

You can also use a five-in-one reflector to modify the natural light in the scene. You can use it as a diffuser or as a fill light to bounce light into the shadows.


Aidin says he likes to use small, portable battery-powered lights for remote locations outside. You don’t have to worry about power; they are small, light, and generally relatively weather resistant. Anything similar to the Godox Knowled C5R will work just fine. Portable tube lights, or DIYP’s favorite, the KYU-6, will work easily.

You can use these lights as either practical lights, where they are visible and part of the scene, or as hidden lights, where you see the light given off from them and not the light source itself.

Aidin uses these ideas to show some creative ways to make your outdoor footage more interesting. It’s all very doable and not at all daunting or complicated.

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