Basic shooting with a smartphone

byIJNetJun 9, 2022 in Mobile Journalism
Man holding his phone

Anyone with a smartphone can film a video and upload it online, but following these tips can help your videos stand out among the rest: 


  • Keep the same framing – landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) – throughout the video. This creates cohesiveness in viewing, especially if the intended audience is watching your video on a smartphone. 
  • Avoid areas that would provide poor quality audio when filming, as audio is the hardest part of a video to edit. Wind, busy streets, or other distracting ambient noises are some examples. 
  • Make sure your light source – natural or otherwise – is located behind the smartphone. Having your subject with the light behind them will silhouette the subject, making it difficult to see their face. 
  • Follow the rule of thirds: Videos are more interesting if your subject is in the leftmost or rightmost third of your image. Turning on the camera grid on your smartphone can help frame your subject accordingly. 
  • Treat videos as a series of stills. Pause three or four seconds on each shot before moving on to the next, allowing your audience to fully take in the image as the video progresses.
  • Treat a video as a sequence, with each shot naturally leading to the next. This helps tell a story visually in an order that is easy for viewers to follow. 

With these tips in mind, your videos will improve quality and be more appealing to viewers, resulting in more engaging content for your audience. 

IJNet's parent organization, ICFJ, partnered with the Meta Journalism Project and Seen on its Facebook Video Storytellers-Africa program.