Shoot great video with your phone

Learn how to shoot great video with your smartphone.

The average consumer takes pictures and shoots video on their smartphone, not an expensive camera. Whether it’s a iPhone or Android, this is what people have with them and “a good picture is the one you take.” Most people know the basics when it comes to still photography, but when it comes to shooting video, it seems all rules go out the window. Here are some basic tips to start with when shooting with your phone.

smartphone video1. Use a tripod (if possible)

The newest iPhones have built-in optical image stabilization, which makes shooting decent handheld footage fairly easy. But no matter how steady your hands are, nothing beats using a good old-fashioned tripod.


shoot horizontal2. Shoot horizontal, not upright

In order to watch your video at full size on a monitor or TV screen, keep your smartphone horizontal when you are recording. Shooting a video clip with your phone upright doesn’t seem like an issue at the time because you’re watching it on a device with a vertical screen, but as soon as you want to play the video anywhere else, your clip will be fighting for space with two black bars on either side of the screen.

3. Concentrate on keeping it smooth and steady

Your smartphone is small and light, so it can float while your walking or talking. The key thing is to use both hands, and lock your elbows into your body for extra stability. 

video one-third rule4. Think about composition (a little bit)

This is a tip for any type of photography. Good shots have one thing in common. Your eye is drawn to a subject matter in the picture. Place objects one-third in from the sides, with people’s eyes one-third down from the top.

available light5. Don’t shoot into the light

The bad news is you wont see faces and you’ll get a silhouetted image. The good news is you might get a nice, but unexpected silhouette.

Light can make your whole shot wonderful and it can make the worst video to look at. Working with available light is the trick. No FLASH, unless your in a cave – and even then I would try. If you want to shoot better video, you need to know how to work with the available light and use it to your advantage.¬†If some parts of the shot are looking too bright or too dark, get into the habit of changing your position and finding another angle which allows you to still achieve the shot you wanted, but you’ve got the light working for you not against you.


6. Record 3 seconds beforehand after the action and shots should be 5 seconds minimum

If you’re going to edit your videos then this is a hard fastened rule. You need extra time on both sides to to edits and transitions. If you’re just shooting and showing the video to friends then don’t worry so much.

7. Manually set exposure and focus (more advanced, but a good tip)

Not all smartphone apps do this, but try pressing and holding on an area of the screen to activate the AE/AF Lock function. With a smartphone, the most important is the AE (Auto Exposure) Lock because you don’t want the smartphone to keep changing the exposure while you’re filming.¬†Manually setting the focus is great when you want to get close to an object, and you need to tell the camera to focus on a particular area.

free camera appIf you want to get a nice camera app for free get this one for iOS and this one for Android.

microphone8. Get your microphone close to your subject (which means the phone

A general rule for clear audio is to get your microphone as close to your subject as possible. But that means you ned to get the phone close which may or may not be an option. Microphones on cameras pretty much suck so don’t expect a miracle.

If your’e really into getting the audio you can buy some inexpensive microphones that will do a better job. Check them out on Amazon.

s9. Share your videos

Show people what your’e doing with video. See their reactions. Have fun!


Some examples of good video and a comparison of iPhone and Android – Believe me each phone shoots good video.

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