5 Tips For Shooting Better Beauty Content

Author: Sean O’Reilly, Producer at Boom Natives

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 8.56.43 AMI recently attended YouTube’s Beauty Workshop to share video production techniques with beauty and make-up gurus from around Australia. Based on the tips I shared on the day I have narrowed it down to 5 tips to help you get the most out of your gear to create better looking Beauty and Make Up videos.

Whether you’re shooting your YouTube beauty & make up videos with your MacBook, a cheap & nasty point-and-shoot or a DSLR, there are so many steps you can take to jack up the production value of your video.

An important thing to first understand is that production value isn’t necessarily linked to the cash you spend on your gear – it’s linked to your knowledge of production and your drive to want to make your videos look better.

No-budget can look big-budget.

Having higher production value means that you can stand apart from the vast mediocrity of bedroom YouTube production. In my opinion, the better a video looks, the more likely I’ll be to stick with it to the end.


#1 – Lighting

Lighting, especially for beauty & make up channels, is probably one of the most important things to get right. That’s because light can make you look good or like you’ve had a big night.

It’s fair enough to assume the majority of beauty and make up videos are shot in bedrooms. Not an ideal lighting setup, as you’ve probably got a mismatching colour balance between your bedroom light (which might I add casts ugly shadows down your face), and the outdoor colour from your window. But there’s a couple of ways to work around it.

You can sit in front of your window and let the even outdoor light fill your face, you can use a secondary light, such as a lamp, to fill in the shadows from your main bedroom light, or you can buy a basic soft-box lighting kit – which will provide even lighting across all of your facial features.

Although there’s loads of lighting advice out there, stick with what looks good on your camera’s LCD and your own judgment. Sometimes following lighting advice won’t apply to your situation, so most of all muck around with your light and exposure in your camera to get it just right.


#2 – Depth of Field

Another pointer is getting depth between the subject (you) and your background. Having depth (Depth of Field) makes your subject stand out. Beauty videos in general, especially tutorials, is between you and your audience. We don’t need to see your younger sister or pet dog in the background.

Take a look at this example.
Aperture Comparison
The background is totally blown out and out of focus, and we’re just concentrating on Ruby. And then the second image the background is very much in focus, as well as Ruby. I don’t want to look at Darling Harbour and you probably don’t either.

Unfortunately, your webcam and point-and-shoot cameras are going to give you the second look – with the subject and background both in focus. If you’re on a DSLR (depending on your lens), you’re going to have the ability to have only the subject in focus.

So how do you get Depth of Field on your DSLR? Aperture is what you’re controlling. The lower the aperture number, the more depth you’re going to be getting.


#3 – White Balance

White balance is basically the colours interpreted by your camera. Most point-and-shoot cameras wont allow you to control this, but DSLRs certainly do.

Not only can you control your white balance in camera during your shoot, but in the edit afterward.

White balance can give your video a totally different feel. The most deceiving part about white balance is you can find it hard to know your colours are off unless you attempt to change it.
White Balance ComparisonYou can make your subject look warm, tanned, or really under the weather.

Next time you shoot, have a muck around with it.


#4 – Video Quality

240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p.

I’m sure you all have seen these numbers on YouTube.The lower the number, the crapper the video quality. Always shoot, edit and upload in the highest quality you can.

Often your edited output is going to be a massive file size that will take ages to upload. Check out the more advanced compression settings in your editing software and you’ll keep the same high quality but in a lower-sized package.


#5 – Sound

Don’t forget about sound. It’s always neglected, but it’s actually the first thing people’s attention is drawn to in a video.

You can capture audio from your laptop, your DSLR or any other camera, but that’s definitely not to say you should. These internal microphones capture a full 360 degrees of sound. So the plane and annoying neighbor dog in the background will be forever scratched onto your audio track.

The alternative is buying an external microphone, which can easily click on top of your DSLR and plug into your microphone input. You can pick up a decent one for under $150.

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