How to Set Up 3-Point Lighting

December 12, 2022
December 12, 2022 chase.bloomcreativ

How to Set Up 3-Point Lighting

In the video production world, lighting is everything. It can make or break the quality of the image. That’s why learning the basics of lighting can help improve your videos and photos to a more elevated/polished look. Throughout the years, we have filmed many talking head interviews and have quickly seen how lighting plays an important role in every cinematographers creative process. Don’t let bad lighting ruin your project for your next client. We have gathered that this lighting setup is the best when filming in studio, office or home. Here’s our guide to How to Set Up 3-Point Lighting like a pro.


Lighting can be organized in three simple areas. The key, fill, and backlight. Let’s dive into each so you can have a better understanding of why each is important. Take note that depending on what mood you’re going for, you don’t necessarily need all three. You can get away with a two light setup. But understanding the fundamentals of the three point light setup can elevate your image from boring to increasing the depth and details of your subject. We will get to gear later but let’s do some learning. The Key Light is the main light you want to position first. It is the light that is going to light the front of your subject – ideally you want to set this light 45 degrees to the right or left of the camera and just slightly above their head angled toward their face. This helps the light wrap around both sides of the face for a more even lighting. After the key is where you want it, it’s time to set up your supporting lights.


Your key light is looking great but you notice that the shadows are way too dark on your subject. This is where the Fill Light comes in. The purpose of the fill is to hence “fill” the shadows of your subject. When you use a fill light, you want to make sure that it isn’t creating any more harsh shadows. If you’re able to adjust the power of the light, diffuse it or use a gel – that will help soften the power to get a more even fill. Sometimes you can even use a reflector or white reflector to bounce light back up at the subject. If you’re on a budget, we have found that white poster boards from an arts and crafts store will work just fine! Normally you want to position your fill light on the opposite side of your key light where the shadows are.


Okay now your subject is lit pretty well but they still blend in with the background. Lastly, the Backlight will help create some depth – separating the subject from the background. You position your third light behind them at a 45 degree angle and raise it up above their head so it creates a highlight rim or halo around the subject. If you positioned it right, the backlight should be hitting the head, neck and shoulders of your subject. Take note of what the subject is wearing and if the image is too bright or too dark with the backlight. You can adjust it accordingly.


Now, you’re ready to start filming your talking head video! One tip with lighting that we use is that the closer your light is to the subject, the more softer. Try to position it as close to the subject without being in the frame. We recommend using some heavy duty light stands or c-stands for your lights. Then you can get some add-ons like a softbox, diffusers, panels, etc. to help. Below we have organized our gear list that we use to film interviews and do this three point light setup. Let us know if this blog and tutorial has helped you, we would love to hear about it!


Aperture Lights – Amaran 200x, Amaran 100x

Aperture Lanterns

Aperture Light Dome

Light Stands


Manfrotto Tripod

Sony a7Siii

Sony FX-3

Rode NTG4+

XLR Cables


To connect, check us out on Instagram @bloomcreativ or our website


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