Behind the Blog: How I light my videos


I feel a bit sheepish writing this post because I’m still learning so much about video editing and production. I’ve come a long, long way from where I started, though, and in case you are on this journey as well I thought I’d share a bit about how I light my set up for filming videos!

I never intended to be the one on camera when I had the idea to create hair tutorials but I couldn’t find any quality tutorials on YouTube so I decided to film them myself! I started by filming on my desktop computer. I didn’t know how to edit anything so I had to do it in 1 take without messing up. Talk about pressure!

Pretty quickly I upgraded to filming on an actual camera that I could prop up on my bathroom sink . During this time I still didn’t know how to edit so I continued to just do my best in one take. I then taught myself how to cut out clips that were mistakes, and learning that skill made my filming experience so much easier!

Years and years have passed and now I’m pretty pleased with my set up! I’ve learned so much about lighting, audio, and how to edit, simply by googling. I’ve never taking a class or had any formal training regarding being on camera or editing videos. Occasionally I’m asked how I learned and my honest answer is that I taught myself by googling everything. 

My ring light was the first “pro” light I bought. I actually got some larger soft box lights first and those didn’t really do the job. I filmed many videos for years by only using the ring light, but I added a few high quality light stands to my set up at the end of last year and it makes a huge difference.

After seeing another videographer I worked with set up a light like this, I knew I had to get one. You can control how much white versus yellow light is cast, and how bright or dim it is. This is great for fill light or used in front of the subject for filming.

My ideal set up now is a bright, sunny day to fill up the room with as much natural light as possible. Then I’ll place the ring light right in front of me with the camera facing straight through the ring. I’ll create fill light from the sides with the light stands and usually twist them all the way to white.

I need a longer extension cord, but I also set my monitor on a chair and plug it into my camera. That way I can see what is happening on the camera instead of just using the camera screen itself. This is KEY to making sure I’m in focus since I’m doing all of this myself!

I edit my videos in Adobe Premiere Pro. I’m still learning so much about how to edit videos and if time allowed I would love to spend more time learning about how to make my videos even better!

The next part of video making I want to tackle is improved audio quality. Right now I’m using a Rode boom mic on my camera but I’m still fighting a hum or buzz in the background. I really enjoy the challenge of creating and filming videos, though the editing part can be a little draining. I’m glad I’ve learned how to pause or restart in the middle of filming so it’s easy to pick up from one sentence to another, but editing is always going to be my least favorite part of the job!

My camera is Nikon D5300 and I use a Nikon prime lens (35mm) for almost everything.

In this photo, the rug is old and I can’t remember where I bought it (sorry!). The vanity is out of stock, but here is a pretty option! The art is from World Market. The fake plants are from various places from Target to IKEA.

You can watch my videos by clicking over to my YouTube channel! Is there anything else you’d like to see over there? I’m always open to hearing suggestions about what kind of videos I can make!

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Comments (21)

  1. Posted February 5, 2019

    Wow, your setup is amazing, Kate! Everything looks so professional. Thanks for sharing what equipment you use and how you use them! 🙂 ❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Jackie Shaver says
    Posted February 5, 2019

    Thank you for sharing all you do with us! Just wondering, we don’t have a Sephora close (2 hrs away) and there are several products that you like that you can’t get at Ulta. I know I could order them but I always like to see it in person first. Could you maybe do a comparable of the products you like and something from ulta they might compare to? Or maybe there is just no comparison lol. Just a thought!

    • Kate says
      Posted February 5, 2019

      If you let me know what brands you are thinking about I can try to give you some specific feedback!

      • Jackie Shaver says
        Posted February 5, 2019

        A few that I can think of of hand is the Tatcha silk canvas primer, the Bobbi Brown face base primer, the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation or the Laura Mercier secret brightening powder for under eyes. And again thank you for any tips!

  3. Allie says
    Posted February 5, 2019

    This is so helpful, thank you so much! I’ve had such a problem making sure my camera is focused when I take photos of myself and didn’t know what to do- now I do!
    Have a great day!

  4. Posted February 5, 2019

    This is so cool! Thank you for sharing!

  5. kate says
    Posted February 5, 2019

    wow that’s very professional looking, I am just learning about how lighting makes all the difference

  6. Devon says
    Posted February 5, 2019

    I would really like to see more tutorials for updos and half up. I’m looking for something that will be classy and polished for a wedding or formal event. These are the tutorials that I tend to refer back to over and over. A few years ago you took some pictures of celebrities and did your own version of the look, and I really liked it.

  7. Rachel says
    Posted February 5, 2019

    Hey Kate, it’s so fun to see how far you’ve come technically since I started following you in the bathroom recording days 🙂 I’ve had to learn some video for work too and have the same mic that also often hums. From what I’ve read, it might be caused by the audio range the camera can capture or another thought is, could it be picking up noise from your ring light? I found that Tyler has some great video and tech training at

  8. Michele says
    Posted February 5, 2019

    I’d love to see a video about choosing and applying cream blush. It seems like something I’d like using, but it also seems like something I’d use and end up looking like a football player who used pink grease paint😂

  9. Kate says
    Posted February 5, 2019

    Thanks! That was very interesting!

  10. Lisa says
    Posted February 6, 2019

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks for sharing your set up. It’s great to see how much you have grown in upgrading your videos. My husband and I are videographers and always love seeing what people use. Another great audio option is the Zoom H4N. I love that you are self taught! Keep producing awesome content!

  11. Beverly says
    Posted February 6, 2019

    Wow!! Thanks so much Kate!! This is so helpful for us newbies!! I love all your videos! Keep up the great work, you’ve been a huge inspiration in deciding to start my blog.

  12. Sherry says
    Posted February 6, 2019

    I absolutely love this sort of content….behind the scenes stuff !!
    Have a beautiful week…..the weather is teasing us !!!!

  13. Julie says
    Posted February 7, 2019

    Great post. Love to see behind the scenes. Very interesting! I only follow a handful of people (including your sister) and have been following your various social media channels for years. Thanks for all the educational & entertaining content!! 🙂

  14. Michelle says
    Posted March 18, 2019

    Hi! Thanks so much for sharing! I had a question about your lighting. I have also purchased that exact ring light, but had to return it because less than five hours of use and it went out on me…while I was working with a client. 🙈 Has this happened to you? Sadly, I sent it back for a refund. I was so worried it would happen again during a session. Just curious what your experience has been.

  15. Lora says
    Posted March 19, 2019

    Thanks for sharing! So helpful!

  16. Sara Erwin says
    Posted September 25, 2019

    Hi Kate,

    Love the setup. I just purchased the Nikon 5600 because of your recommendation. Love your video quality and all your videos. Gorgeous. Just curious if you could share any camera settings that you use or are familiar with? How do you get it set up so well?


  17. Amy Potts says
    Posted February 12, 2020

    Can you share information about your couch? I am obsessed with retro vibe couches (I looove retro) and need a new couch!

    • Kate says
      Posted February 12, 2020

      I found it at Home Goods a few years ago! But I’d look at Article or West Elm for similar styles!

  18. Lesley M Roth says
    Posted June 19, 2020

    Hi, Kate. Thank you so much for this info. Are you still using the same equipment and set up now– a bit of a year later? Curious about lighting. Does your current set up still work? Did you or would you tweak anything? I am wanting to up my game and am looking for good evaluations/tips. Thank you!