iPhone Photography Techniques: Using a Tripod for Video

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The secret behind shooting great iPhone (or any) video starts by using sound photography techniques which include: using a tripod, shot composition, lighting, exposure, and focusing.

There is only one thing you will have if you don’t start applying these principles: poor iPhone video, and we don’t want that. We want you to shoot professional looking video.

Shooting appealing visuals can be challenging if you don’t pay close attention to all aspects of the image, and the smallest thing will affect your video quality… especially unnecessary shake.

You should always try to shoot video like a pro and use a tripod.


On Assignment: Amani Channel and News Photographer Mario Page

If you think that you don’t need a tripod, do this next time you’re shooting video handheld: pick an object off in the distance, zoom in, and try to keep the shot steady. If you can shoot 10 seconds of perfectly still video, I’ll give you a hundred bucks, seriously.

Using a tripod will make your productions easier. It will insure that your shot is perfectly still, and your video won’t jar your viewers. A tripod will save your shoulder, arm, or wrist if you are shooting a lengthy speech or presentation. A tripod will also allow you to self-shoot, if you want to record yourself speaking on camera.

Shooting iPhone Video with a Tripod

Here is the basic recipe for using a tripod:
1. Extend the legs to the desired height (make sure legs are locked)
2. Attach the camera to the tripod via the quick release plate
3. Loosen tilt and pan locks and frame the shot using rule of thirds
4. Once desired shot is framed, lock tilt and pan locks

Basic Movement
Pan: Horizontal movement
Tilt: Verticle movement
Make sure all movement is smooth, with a clear start and end to the move.

Camera: A smarphone, DSLR, camcorder or prosumer camera.

Fluid Tripod
Budget – $60 Promaster 7100 (good for smartphones and cameras up to 11 lbs)
Modest Budget – $140 Ravelli Fluid Head Tripod (DSLRs and cameras up to 27lbs)-
Professional/Prosumer – $600 Manfrotto 501 This tripod is the standard for professionals who shoot on DSLRs and any video camera that weighs up to 18 lbs. If you’re serious about your videography this is the one to get.

Tripod Adapter $12

If you have any shooting techniques that you use when shooting videos, or questions, leave your message below.

About Amani Channel

Amani Channel is a former news reporter, a vlogger, an award winning video producer, and an adjunct professor. He also helps organizations and companies create visual stories through VisualEyeMedia.

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  1. How can I shoot a professional looking self video with an I phone?

    Thank you

    • Amani Channel says:

      You need a tripod adaptor, tripod, and an audio adaptor so that you can plug in a mic. There is a smartphone gear tab that explains it in more detail, and next week, I’ll post a video that shows my set up. You’ll also need some lights. We’ll be sharing more iPhone shooting tips, so stay tuned. Thanks Debrenia!


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