We’ve all seen the vloggers that have the latest-and-greatest gear, live in the McMansion, and have intricate lighting setups that make their face glow and their room bright and vibrant.
However, when you ask them for tips for starters, they never say that having the most expensive equipment is the key to success.
When you’re getting started, and you don’t have the sponsors, endorsements, ads, or following to generate an income from vlogging, you might not have the capital to invest in fancy vlogging gear.
Guess what? That’s ok!
Today, we’re going to talk vlogging on a budget. Let’s take a look at how all of you can-be vloggers out there can leverage your already existing equipment and lighting, and grab the essentials for little-to-no money.
Since the camera is the #1 most important vlogging tool, it’s an excellent place to start digging into budget-friendly options.
If you’re on a budget, overpaying for a camera could break your entire budget instantly.
You have two options here. First, you can browse some camera reviews and try to find a camera that fits snugly into your budget. Here’s a great list of vlogging cameras that you can get for under $500.
Or, you could just use the camera you already have — which includes your smartphone.
Nearly every smartphone on the market — Android or Apple — has a 1080p camera on it. Sure, it’s not going to be quite as good as an actual camera, but it will undoubtedly get the job done.
Get some filters, and a tripod and that phone camera is good-to-go for vlogging.
Don’t have money for filters or a tripod? Improvise.
Make a DIY phone tripod and download non-physical filters off of the app store. There are plenty of ways to jury-rig your vlogging camera setup at little-to-no cost to you.
Now, If you do a lot of action packed stunts like diving, climbing, paragliding, etc. then you’ll probably want to invest in a good GoPro(like) camera.
You want something that you can mount on yourself that’s weather resistant.
So, you may have to hold off on some of your more exciting content at first. If your channel is going to be heavily focused on the type of content, you may have to put forward a little more money at first to get the type of camera that you need.
Sure, your phone’s camera is probably good enough to record video, but, when it comes to sound, your phone’s microphone isn’t going to cut it.
The quality of built-in phone or camera microphones is usually very poor, and they will pick up wind, background noise, and other noise pollution that you probably don’t want littering the audio quality of your vlogs.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a mic. In fact, you can grab a high-quality mic for around $20.
Trust me, that $20 investment will take your videos to the next level, which is important in the hypercompetitive world of vlogging.
Quality lighting is arguably the most complicated part of the vlog filming equation. Lots of people attribute the quality of a film to the camera when they should be attributing it to lighting.
Great lighting will highlight you — the subject — in a way that feels natural without sacrificing the more delicate details in the background.
There are tons of different lighting setups that you can choose, and understanding lighting may take a little research on your part — here’s a great starting point.
But, what if you’re broke and you can’t afford lighting equipment?
Do you have a window? Then you have some great natural light that you can use in your videos.
You can definitely use windows as your lighting source, but it does restrict you some.
First, you’ll be restricted to recording video during the day so this may not work you the night owls out there.
Second, your videos lighting may not be consistent. This is especially true if you live somewhere that has variable weather.
Lastly, you’ll have to consider that your equipment (desk, camera, etc.) will have to be set up near a window to take advantage of its light.
When you’re starting out, you can definitely take advantage of all of the free editing software out there.
If you’re running OSS (Mac), you can use Apple iMovie, which is included on all Mac computers. DaVinci Resolve is another excellent option for those that want something a little more in-depth. Alternatively, you can check out this post from Tom’s Guide that highlights some of the best free editing software for Mac users.
If you’re running Windows, you can use DaVinci Resolve (my personal favorite), Lightworks, or Shotcut. Windows operating system doesn’t come with any (good) editing software built in, so you’ll probably have to download something.
The critical thing to remember when it comes to editing software is that you need to pick something that will do everything you need it to do.
It’s better to start with a more complex software if you’re going to start with a paid editing software. Learning to use editing software takes a while, and they’re all different.
Once you have some additional capital, you can consider upgrading to Adobe or Resolve Pro software.
You don’t have to have a booming savings account to start vlogging, and you can probably get all of the equipment that you need for around $20 (the microphone.)
The most important part is that you get started, and you start putting out quality content. Don’t let money stop you from achieving your dreams.
As you can see, being on a budget isn’t an excuse to put off your vlogging channel.
You can still put some awesome content with your phone, a $20 microphone, a window, and some free editing software
So get out there and start vlogging!
Also, check out my post on cheap vlogging cameras, If you don’t have a phone these can be a lifesaver.
Will has been a full-time content creator since 2014. He’s an audio, video, and tech hobbyist dedicated to reviewing products and giving you the best tips he knows to grow your audience.