Today’s smartphones can be truly amazing for those who enjoy convenience and good image quality. Features like 4K resolution, image stabilization and HDR allow you to record Hollywood-worthy videos (or nearly so) using just the small device.
But most of the time, what makes a video really good is the people behind the camera, not the tools it has. With that in mind, here are some simple tips that can help you take advantage of mobility to capture better images with your smartphone.
1. Clean the lens
This tip may seem ridiculous, but you would be amazed to know how much dirt and grease build up on your smartphone’s camera lens.
2. Attention to audio
Bad audio can end up with a good video recording, and the fact that your device can record a decent voice in a quiet environment does not mean that it will do just as well in loud, open environments.
If you’re going to record people talking, get closer to them to avoid ambient noises – like wind, for example. Also, be sure not to cover the smartphone’s microphone when recording a video.
3. Horizontal film
If you want people to watch your life-size video on a computer monitor or TV, keep your smartphone horizontal while recording. Shooting with the phone upright may look great when you’re looking at your smartphone screen, but as soon as you play the video anywhere else, the result will be an image in the middle of the screen with black bands on both sides.
When in landscape orientation, try to find a horizontal line and keep the frame level. Use the skyline or line of a building as a reference to try to keep everything level; Surely the visual result will be much more pleasant.
Use both hands
To record smoother, more stable video, use both hands to hold the smartphone. For even more stability, try to keep your elbows on the side of your body. Firming your feet firmly and moving your entire upper body – not just the camera – can also result in smoother motion.
While this does not completely eliminate small involuntary movements (or shaking hands), it will at least prevent common sudden bumps of footage made with just one hand holding the device.
5. Appeal to classic compositions
Often striking images that leave lasting impressions make use of compositional rules that are designed to attract the viewer’s eye to a particular part of the scene.
A good way to start is by understanding the rule of thirds. Basically, it divides the screen into three vertical and horizontal thirds to get a total of nine squares. The four corners of the center square are considered good places to put something interesting, or if you’re shooting a person, position their head over one of these points.
Some smartphones allow you to enable framing grids in the camera application itself, but this does not always work in video mode. However, you can quickly switch to the “photo” option while arranging the video frame to get a better sense of the space.
6. Use the light to your advantage
Light is a very important part of getting a good image. However, she may be your friend or foe during a shoot. You need to know how to work with the available light and use it to your advantage. Outdoors, for example, try to find a position where the sun is evenly illuminating the scene you want to record.
If some parts of the scene are too light or too dark, get in the habit of changing your position until you find another angle that still allows the desired framing, but where the light is best.
7. Manual adjustment
Not all camera applications allow you to manually adjust exposure and focus, but try pressing and holding some area of the device screen to activate AE / AF (autoexposure / autofocus) lock mode.
This will prevent the focus of the image from shifting as you record. Setting focus manually can be a great option when shooting close-ups and highlighting specific details.
8. Friend Accessories
So far, all the tips required only your smartphone, but there are some great accessories available on the market that can turn your phone into an amazing camcorder.
Some examples are: tripod for smartphones, motorized stabilizer, analog filters, attachable lenses, external microphone, among others.
9. Know what you can (or can’t) do
If you want to make the best videos possible with your smartphone, before you get down to earth you need to know its limitations. Check things like the amount of memory available on the device and the battery life ; This way, you won’t waste time choosing photos and videos to delete and free up space just in time to record something super interesting. Knowing your device battery well can also help you know when to walk around with a portable charger.
Also keep in mind that smartphones do not have zoom lenses and all digital zoom features reduce the quality of an image. Therefore, you should get as close as possible to your target so that it fills the frame without distortion.
10. Editing and Sharing
No need to waste hours editing your videos. Often, just cutting the beginning and end of a recording and arranging the images taken in a logical order is enough for a good result.
In most cases, you can make these small changes to your smartphone’s native application itself, but there’s no shortage of video editing apps that open up more possibilities to enhance your images.
Another tip is to share your recordings, as there is no better way to get feedback on where you are getting it right and where you still need to improve. Show the videos to your friends and wait for comments (constructive, of course) to further refine your techniques.