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How to Film Yourself with a Phone: 15 Pro Tips

If you know anything about us, you’d know we love videos. They work great for producing candid content. And audiences love such content.

But for filming videos, you don’t really need a high-end production studio. Use the powerhouse of content that’s in your pocket (aka your smartphone) to create stunning videos. Although it’s easy, not everyone knows how to make the most of their phone while recording a video.

That’s why we’re here to help.

Learn how to film yourself with a phone

If you’re wondering how to film yourself with a phone, here we’ve rounded up 15 tips to help you get going.

How to Film Yourself with a Phone: 15 Pro Tips

1. Pick the right spot

Choosing the right spot for filming your video using a phone is essential to experience quality results. Ensure that the place where you’re filming yourself is well-lit (more on this in the next tip) and has minimal background noise or echo. Try using a room that has a carpet or soft furnishings.

  • You must also turn off the fan and air conditioner to have a distraction and noise-free setup.
  • Hey, on that note – make sure that the email and messaging alerts from your phone and computer are turned off/muted.
  • Also, the background should look good and must complement your brand and messaging.
  • Bring in some good wall art or plants to make the backdrop look aesthetically pleasing. But it shouldn’t be too busy or cluttered either.

Here’s an excellent example of a stunning yet clutter-free background from one of the videos by Rachel Aust:

2. Prioritize lighting

High-quality videos shot on the phone have a lot to with the lighting. So, when you’re figuring out how to film yourself with a phone, focus on the lighting.

Try and shoot in daylight and position yourself in front of a window. However, don’t have your back facing the window as backlighting can result in silhouette. Likewise, say no to overhead lighting.

If you’re shooting in the evening/night or there isn’t enough natural light, you can opt for ring lights. Alternatively, you can go for a three-point lighting setup for sufficient front light.

You can place two lamps at 45-degree angles from your face and keep your smartphone in the center for a natural light effect.

Find out more on lighting your face here:

A word of caution: When it comes to lighting your face for self-taped videos, never use your phone’s flashlight, as it can drastically reduce the quality of your video.

3. Take care of the sound

Although video content is more specific with its prime focus on lighting, your appearance, and how you speak, the sound is also crucial in making it a success. Remember, if your sound’s not as impressive as your video looks, it won’t leave the right impact on the viewers.

To cut on the background sound and amplify your voice, consider opting for a microphone with a noise-canceling feature. You’ll love the results.

4. Pick the right clothing

If you think your clothing has nothing to do with how to film yourself with a phone, you can never be more wrong. Choosing the right type of clothes can significantly improve your video quality. So, go for solid patterns to avoid the moiré effect. As for colors, don’t wear something too bright or too dull.

Above all, pick something that you’re comfortable wearing. It adds to your confidence like nothing else.

5. Use the camera on the back

It’s a no-brainer that the camera on the back of a phone usually delivers better quality footage than the one on the front. So, if you’re keen on producing a top-notch video with your phone, use the camera on the back of your smartphone.

6. Plan your video

As you are learning how to film yourself with a phone, don’t forget to plan everything. Remember, taking the unplanned route may leave you with unsatisfactory results. So, chalk out what you have to say and take the cues during the shooting.

That said, don’t read from a script. The more you look at the script, the poorly you connect to your viewers. The least you can do is to make your video fun without sounding monotonous.

So, learn the key points and talk naturally to the camera. Aim for creating conversational videos – similar to those by James Charles.

7. Zoom it not

As much as you may want to use your phone’s zoom feature, please don’t. Digital zoom doesn’t enlarge the picture optically, which means what you get is pixels. And, a lot of them.

So, do us a favor as you learn how to film yourself with a phone – use the zoom feature only if your phone comes loaded with optical zoom or a telephoto lens.

8. Keep it steady

One of the common mistakes people make while using a phone to film a video is holding it with just one hand. That’s one easy way to end up with shaky footage.

To avoid that, you can rest it on a shelf or a tripod and fix it with an adapter clip to keep it steady. If you don’t have such accessories handy, you can tape your phone onto a step ladder.

If everything else fails, you can always create a phone tripod. For some inspiration, check out this video by CNET on three easy ways to make DIY phone tripods.

9. Give attention to framing

Mind your composition when you self-shoot a video. Don’t fill up the entire frame with your face. Keep it at a decent distance.

The perfect framing would be from your chest to slightly above your head. Also, ensure that the camera is at your eye level – not too low (nobody wants to see those double chins or flaring nostrils) or too high (seriously, why do people do that?) Ideally, position yourself in the center of the frame to maintain symmetry.

10. Don’t look into the screen

While recording your video, look into the lens rather than the screen. When you look into the camera lens, it gives a perception that you’re looking into your viewers’ eyes. Just like Tanis Parenteau does here:

 

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A post shared by Tanis • Actor | Producer (@tanisparenteau)

11. Remember the rule of thirds

While learning how to film yourself with a phone, keep the rule of thirds in mind. This cardinal rule states that to make the subject look great, it should be on the thirds of your frame – particularly where the lines intersect.

So, mentally divide the screen into three sections (vertical and horizontal grids), or use a camera app that shows gridlines and line up your face within one of the vertical ‘third’ lines.

12. Landscape or Portrait: Choose your format

By all means, avoid the vertical video syndrome. Nobody loves those sidebars. So, if you don’t want people to tune out, shoot your videos in the landscape (horizontal) mode. Plus, horizontal videos go well on almost all social media platforms.

An exception to the rule: If you’re shooting a video to post it as a social media story (Instagram Stories, Tik Tok, etc.), there’s nothing wrong with vertical videos. As these platforms are vertically locked, you can surely go for the portrait (vertical) mode while filming with a phone. It will do more justice in that case.

13. Mind your “body language!”

Okay, so another important thing when you’re learning how to film yourself with a phone is: minding your body language. Maintain good posture while keeping your back straight whether you’re standing or sitting.

Don’t talk with your arms folded in front of your body. And, please don’t fidget or fiddle with pen/paper, as it can distract your audience.

To project positivity, use open hand gestures. Doing this will show that you want to share something interesting with your audience. But again, don’t go overboard with the gestures, as overexpression could be distracting too.

This video by Pick Up Limes is a perfect example of using positive body language in your videos:

14. Try Slow-Motion & Time-Lapse

A good video shot with a phone isn’t just about excellent communication. It’s also about capitalizing on your phone’s features to create content that’s loved. Two of these features that are there in almost every smartphone nowadays are slow-motion and time-lapse.

While slow-motion helps you capture interesting footage that needs second-by-second detailing, the time-lapse effect accelerates the speed to create much faster moving footage. Both work great at creating compelling videos using just your phone. However, use them only when they fit the context.

15. Perform a test run

Before you shoot your video using a phone, do a practice run to ensure everything’s in place. Record for a minute to check the lighting, background, sound, your body language, looks, and pretty much all that’s been discussed so far. Trust us; this can avoid hours and hours of retakes and redos.

Learn the ropes from Kayla Capone Kasper as she tells you how a test run can definitely prevent you from ending up like this:

Go for a test run while filming a video on your phone Well, we said test runs are a savior!

Bonus Tip: Edit it before you publish it

Make excellent video content a brand standard using a video editing tool. Try Wave.video’s drag-and-drop video editor to level up your video footage.

From basic trimming to adding music, subtitles, and even recording a voice over for your video, Wave.video lets you polish your raw phone video with several fantastic features.

Step Up Your Video Editing Game

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And the best part? Our handy tool comes with a relatively shallow learning curve – no practice or technical know-how needed to make the most of it.

Go ahead, edit your self-shot videos and power them for that stellar video content your customers would love to see more.

And, that’s a wrap!

Hopefully, these best practices would have helped you learn how to film yourself with a phone. Go on, strike out on your own and create more professional-looking videos, just using your phone.

We’ll keep you in the loop!

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