Lighting for Artists – painting // filming // color temp

lighting for artists

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Lighting for Artists

Lighting plays an important role in the colors we use, how our artwork is viewed, and so much more. In this video I will share all my knowledge about lighting, my favorite equipment, and demonstrate how I use lighting in my studio.

Below is a list of equipment that I use, and budget alternatives.

Lighting Equipment I Use in my Studio

Dracast Kala Series LED1000 Bi-Color Panel Light

As I mentioned in the video, these play a huge role in my studio. I have two, and I mainly bounce the light off the ceiling and walls.

They can be positioned in many ways, and there are lots of accessories (Barn doors, soft boxes, and diffusors) to make the light softer or help bounce it.

You can purchase battery packs for them which makes them portable too!

BenQ e-Reading LED Desk Lamp

My desk lamp has become a very important piece of equipment. I honestly never imagined wanting or needing a desk lamp when I got the Dracast studio lights. I thought everything was fine before. But as soon as I turned this lamp on, I realized it was a game-changer.

Having the ability to position it in any way I need, change the color temperature, and dim it as needed is a huge improvement to my workflow. It has made filming and photographing my work much easier as well.

BenQ sent me this lamp and I’ve been using it for a few months now, and each week I fall more in love with it. Thank you, BenQ!

You can purchase it from their website or amazon.

WILLED Dimmable Touch Light Bar

This is the light bar I showed at the beginning of my video. I use it for tons of random office tasks and even in the shed!

It has a magnetic “base” that I keep near my charger for super easy charging and so that I don’t lose it.

It’s a great little workhorse light, and I love the fact that it’s so simple. It gets really bright, or I can dim it really low.

And I admit I’ve dropped it quite a few times, and it STILL works!

Budget Lighting Alternatives

Under £200: Neewer 2 Pack Dimmable Bi-color 480 LED Video Light Kit

This is probably the closest I can find to my Dracast studio lights. These have similar features and functionality compared to mine, at a fraction of the price.

I’ve used other Neewer products and found them to be quite good. I’m not sure about the build quality or lifespan, but definitely worth some research if you want a really nice kit!

Under £100: RICO240B 46cm (18″) Bi-Colour LED Ring Light

Ring lights are extremely useful for artists who make videos. A camera or phone can be mounted in the center of a ring using a standard shoe mount, and then filming yourself with almost perfect lighting becomes super easy. I used to have one before my international move and loved it!

When filming artwork, I recommend using the dimmable and color changing features to make sure your artwork is presented accurately.

Under £20: TESECU 48 LED Desk Lamp Dual-Head Table Lamp Eye-Care Desk Light

Not only is this light small and portable, but it offers color temperature and dimmable options. This a good style of light for general office tasks and for people who move around in their space a lot.

Further Recommendations

There are thousands if not millions of lights out there for artists. Depending on what you search for, you’ll get a lot of variety.

When I search, I always look for:

  • Dimmable
  • Color Temperature change
  • Mains Powered vs. USB powered (I prefer mains, or rechargeable with minimum 2000mAh)
  • Clip-on Options

When I first started on this journey, I would buy cheap stuff at thrift stores or hardware stores. Fore instance, under-cabinet lights can be clipped anywhere near a canvas or desk. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be very affordable. I used them for the first year or two of my journey.

Studio Filming Equipment

What I Use to Film my Art Videos:

Manfrotto 244 Variable Friction Arm with Bracket

The most magical piece of equipment I have for filming my videos (besides my camera) is this articulating arm. It can be positioned in seemingly infinite ways, and there are plenty of accessories.

You’ll also need: Manfrotto 035 Ftc Super Clamp to attach it to your desk. I also recommend metal plates between the clamp and the desk, especially if your desk is not solid wood.

Neewer Smartphone Rig Filmmaker Grip Tripod Mount

This thing is perfect for phone filming, which I do about half the time. It has a standard 1/4 inch thread screw for standard tripod mounts, as well as a 1/4 inch hole on the top and bottom so it can be used along with other equipment.

I’ve been using it for about three years, and it has withstood countless plein air filming adventures!

JOBY JB01561-BWW GorillaPod 5K Video PRO Kit

I have used many flexible tripods / arms in the past, and NONE have ever been as sturdy and reliable as the GorillaPod. This tripod can be moved into any position. I often wrap it around my chair arm, tree branches, and other weird things to get the perfect filming angle.

I know there are cheaper options out there, but you get what you pay for (I know from experience).

I highly recommend this to anyone looking for an extremely versatile tripod to film art videos.

Make sure you get one strong enough to hold whatever size camera you own.

K&F Concept Camera Tripod Boom Arm

If you already own a tripod, this add-on allows for overhead filming. I frequently use it both in the studio and outside. It is very easy to install and position the camera as needed.

Phot-R Multi-Function Spring Clamp

For unique or tricky angles, I use this clip-on mount, especially for my GoPro (because it’s lightweight). Works especially well clipped to nearby shelves.

Cameras for Filming Art Videos

These are the cameras I use, and can highly recommend. However there are tons of options out there, and it’s very important that you do your research based on your needs.

Sony ZV-1 Camera

Known as the “best vlogging camera” on the market, this little point and shoot is perfect for an artist. I use it for almost everything. Recording myself (hello flip screen!), recording the painting process, taking photos of finished work, plein air painting…you get the idea.

Bonus: I accidentally submerged this camera in a frozen pond and it still works months later.

Canon 6D Mark II Camera

This is my big boy. I use this camera for all of my photography, taking final images of artwork, and vlogging. I have several lenses as well (remember, I used to be a professional photographer, it has taken me years to accumulate my gear!).

Lenses I use:

Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Mobile Phone

More than half of my footage is captured with my phone. I specifically chose this phone because of the amazing cameras/video quality. Cannot recommend more!!


I’ve been using this camera since around 2016, and it has survived so many trips and tumbles thanks to the protective case. It’s great for plein air videos, studio vlog timelapses, and unique angles.

There are tons of accessories that can help mount it for whatever you need.

Rode VideoMicro Compact On Camera Microphone

Super easy plug-and-play microphone for cameras. Improves sound quality a LOT. With the added windscreen it will help record in noisy or windy places too.

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I'm an independent artist living in Scotland. Always chasing the light, and painting the beautiful highlands.

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