Videography Basics – Tips for Killer Videos

Videography Basics – Tips for Killer Videos

Mark Raffan

Do you have an idea for a video project, but aren’t sure if you have the skills to make it happen?

With advances in technology, anyone can become a videographer. And it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. For instance, smartphones can shoot videos, and you can find many free editing apps. It’s even possible to film a movie or TV show from a smartphone—and many successfully do.

You can use video to shoot a vlog, product demo, live event, and more. Whatever you’re filming, it’s possible to produce compelling videos that people can’t help but watch. Here are some tips on videography basics to help you feel confident and get the camera rolling.


  • Choose your equipment

Great news for beginners: there are high-quality, affordable digital cameras out there. Of course, there are higher-end choices as well. But if you’re just starting, you don’t have to go broke learning to be a videographer. You can even practice with devices you already have, like your smartphone. If you’re using your smartphone, keep these things in mind:

  • Film horizontally (shoot in landscape mode): Avoid holding your phone like you’re taking a selfie or switching from vertical to horizontal.
  • Turn on gridlines: it will help you keep your phone level.
  • Use the back camera (not selfie mode) for better quality video.
  • If your budget allows, consider using a tripod mounting system and external microphone.


  • Plan your shoot

Before starting, think about what type of shots you want to capture, and make a list of them. You’ll want to think about the best time of day to shoot and the venues you want to shoot at. You might also want to include moving shots. But keep in mind that too much movement could be distracting.

If you’re covering an event or going live, you’ll need to be as prepared as possible. For example, charge more than your camera batteries—charge your cell phone, and pack a charger. You should also map your location in advance, get a schedule, and know the timeline for the event.


  • Set up your shot

Framing and composition are as crucial in videography as they are in photography. Even if you use high-end equipment, if you’re composition is weak, you’ll look like an amateur.

Good videography involves more than just pointing at something and shooting: it includes arranging your visual elements and letting them tell a story. Compositional rules, like the Rule of Thirds, apply in videography as well as photography. You can also use the foreground and background to create depth in a scene. Revisiting basic photo composition techniques can be helpful since some are similar for videography.


  • Use good lighting

If you want your videos to look professional, it’s essential to use lighting. When planning, determine the types of lights that you’ll need and where you’ll place them. If you’re on a budget and need to work with existing lighting (like sunshine and lamps), think about how you can make them work for your set up.


  • Editing your videos

Think like an editor when you’re shooting: always film more material than you’ll think you need—capture several angles and shots. This way you’ll have options to choose from later, and there’s no worry of running out of film like in the past. It can save you time down the road. It can also give you enough good choices, so you don’t end up settling for inferior shots.

When you do edit, there are plenty of paid and free options for simple video editing software.


You want to create videos that suck your audience in and tell compelling stories—whether it’s a live event or a vlog. A part of revealing the best of your brand and producing striking footage is following some basics. Putting these tips into practice will help you improve, and eventually, employ more sophisticated techniques.


Mark Raffan

Mark Raffan

Mark is a serial entrepreneur and lover of marketing and influence. Mark built the #1 negotiation podcast in the world and is an expert negotiation, influence, and persuasion coach that has coached executives and their teams in some of the largest companies in the world.