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How to Shoot Professional Video with Smartphone

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

If you're anything of a film buff, you may remember when the movie Tangerine came out in 2015—and that it was filmed entirely on an iPhone 7. While the camera was just an iPhone, a lot of production work still went into creating a film that looked professional. It is entirely possible to record a video on your smartphone and have it look great, but it's trickier than you think. Make sure you follow these three tips on how to film a professional video using your smartphone for the best results.

How to shoot professional video with a smart phone

1) Use the rear camera

Smart phones have different cameras. When filming with your smart phone, make sure to use the rear camera rather than the front-facing one. Some rear cameras have two lenses, so make sure you choose the regular lens (not the wide angle). Rear cameras on phones have higher megapixels, which means they are better quality. For example, the new iPhone 14 has a rear camera with 48-megapixel lens versus the front-facing lens that is only 12 megapixels. Another thing to be aware of is that the front facing camera is an ultra-wide angle lens. This means it will distort your features. That's why you might find that you look different when you take a selfie! You will get a more natural look when filming with the rear camera.

2) Hold your phone horizontally and keep steady

The next thing to make sure is to hold your phone horizontally. The horizontal view will give you the correct aspect ratio. The aspect ratio should depend on the platform you plan to put your video on, but in general 16:9 horizontal framing is standard. This is best for YouTube, Commercials, and Websites. Only film vertically (9:16) if creating an Instagram Reel or TikTok.

Next, keep your shot steady. People think handheld footage looks "real" but in actuality no one in the audience wants to get seasick while trying to watch shaky footage. When filming on your smartphone, use a tripod or prop up your phone on a table. There are table-top and full-sized tripods that you can clip your phone into easily, or if you are low-budget you can use a stack of heavy books or boxes.

3) Have good lighting and audio

You need to have good lighting and quality audio, which we have a few simple tips for. Having bright, even lighting is key. For example, bright lighting prevents the video from looking grainy. Even the best cameras need the right amount of light to capture the best looking footage. We covered this topic a few weeks ago with our post about how to make a video look more professional. You can use natural lighting, or use a ring light stand that has a clip-in for your phone.

Finally, make sure you have good audio. Bad audio is distracting. While filming it may seem like the audio will be loud and clear, but when you playback the video it can sound jumbled and overwhelming. That's because the camera audio picks up all of the ambient background noises your brain naturally tunes out. The good news is that are some easy, cheap ways to get clear audio. For a full list, read about it here.

Want to leave it to the professionals? Hiring a videographer means you will have access to high-quality equipment and a professional who knows how to capture clear, steady footage with great sound. Schedule a free call with Angela Wolf Video to learn more.


Do you have a specific video question? Schedule a free video analysis call at


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