Guest Blog: Ten Top Tips for Smartphone Filming by Marissa Holden

With video once again being widely touted as one of the biggest social media growth trends for 2019, now’s the time to conquer those fears and use it to become more visible to potential clients.

The good news is that in this age of smartphones with fantastic quality cameras, getting good quality content out there without breaking the business budget is perfectly achievable.

All you need to do is buy some bits of basic kit, and follow a few simple tips. After all, a badly produced video will turn off those potential clients in just a few moments if you get it wrong.

1.     LOCATION

So first think “Where is the best place to shoot the video?’, and in deciding, think about whether there’s any background noise that will be heard, whether the light is good in that particular room, and which background you’ll stand in front of.

Avoid having backgrounds that don’t fit what your business does – ie if you are a jewellery business, don’t have a background of kitchen and cooking utensils. The background should not distract from what you’re saying, so tidy it up and take away any pictures that could be distracting.

2.     TRIPOD

One of the things I see a lot is wobbly or shaky footage, which can look really unprofessional. Even if you’re out and about doing a Facebook Live, use a selfie stick or tripod. You can buy relatively cheap ones on Amazon – just make sure it fits your particular version of phone, and make sure it’s high, or long enough, for your purposes.

3.     FRAMING

Framing is simply where you are in the screen. For a simple ‘Piece to Camera’ when you’re talking directly to the lens, you ideally want to be either right in the middle of the shot, or to one side of the shot, if you’re going to put titles on the other side. Have a small gap above your head, and try and take footage from around the waist up. The camera lens should be around your eye level so you don’t look either up into it or down into it, as you’re more likely to get a double chin!

If you’re doing something more detailed and showing people how to do something – for example making a cake - you would want a much wider shot so that you can get everything in.


In filming, a variety of shots are used for different effects. When you’re confident using your camera, do use them to help tell a story, and edit them together afterwards.

4.     LIGHTING

You may not have professional continuous lighting, so use what you have -  natural light - or the lights in your house. Choose one of your lightest rooms to film, and if you’re using the natural light make sure it’s falling on your face on both sides. Avoid filming into a window, as you’ll be back lit. You want the light to be on your face so YOU stand out as much as possible – we want the focus on you and your amazing content.

If you don’t have a particularly light room to use, experiment with the lights you have to help make you stand out. Be aware that lights have colour temperatures, so some will look orangey, some blue, some green and you could either look ill or like you’re like on TOWIE. Film in different lights, and play around with them to see what works best for you.

5.     AUDIO

Good sounding audio will set you apart from videos that use the inbuilt phone microphone. The latter will pick up your voice, but it will also pick up anything else going on in the room, which again could distract from the fabulous things you’re saying.

It’s easy to find inexpensive microphones on Amazon that you can plug into your phone and record your voice. Lavalier microphones are the small devices that clip onto your top, and the BOYA BY M1 is only around £15. It’s great as it has a long lead so every time you forget you’re wearing it and dash off to the loo you won’t yank it out of the tripod.

6.     CLOTHES

Wear clothes that you suit, and that you’d normally wear for work. You want them to concentrate on your content, not anything out of the ordinary you might be wearing, so this isn’t the time for your favourite saucy T-shirt. Oh, and wear make-up. HD and UHD cameras discover all our wrinkles and shadows!

7.     CONTENT

Make sure the content is relevant to your target audience, has a strong opening and tease what they’ll find out at the end so they keep watching.

Don’t make it a certain length for the sake of it, just make sure it’s interesting and relevant the whole way through.

8.     ENTHUSIASM

The camera dulls you. Seriously. So, give an extra 10%. You, but 10 % more of you. You might feel a bit over the top, but we need that little bit extra.

9.     SMILE AND BE YOU!

When you walk into a room of people you don’t know and someone smiles at you, you go and talk to them, don’t you? If you smile on camera, you’ll appear warm, and people will be more attracted to what you’re saying, and more likely to listen. It lights up the footage when people smile as we see the real you, which is basically what people want to work out.

10. PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE

If you don’t like your first, second, third or fourth take, don’t worry – it’s a recording, so just do it again until you’re happy. Practising will make you more confident in what you’re saying, how you’re saying it and your delivery will improve. If you’ve written a script, record the audio on your phone and listen back to it so check you like the way you’ve spoken it, and it will also help you remember what you want to say on camera.

That’s an overview of some of the things you need to think about when filming yourself on your smartphone. I cover this, and other tips during regular Presenting to Camera workshops. I also offer bespoke media training workshops to corporate businesses. Please get in touch to find out more.

Marissa in her own words:

“I create carefully crafted video stories to help you sell your business to new clients. I developed my storytelling, interviewing and editing skills during 14 years as a Broadcast Journalist for the BBC and Sky News. Two years ago, I set up video production company, Holden Media Pro to tell good news stories about people, their businesses, products and brands. While mentally it's far away from hard news, the storytelling skills are the same. Add to that creative uses of cameras, light, audio and graphics mean that I craft compelling and honest video content that helps sell people and their businesses to customers. And I love it.”

You can contact Marissa via

Email: marissa@holdenmediapro.co.uk

Mobile: 07919 212571

Website: http://www.holdenmediapro.co.uk

Twitter: @holdenmediapro