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5 tips for taking better iPhone videos

May 09, 2017 by Jamie Burke

One of the things we love about our smartphones is being able to capture and share moments almost the minute they happen. But, making the most of your memories can be tricky—especially if technology isn’t exactly your “thing.” With our tips on taking the best iPhone videos, your next tour will be positively cinematic.

woman holding an iphone taking a photo in fiesole italy

Hold your phone horizontally

This is the golden rule of phone videography. It’s tempting to keep your camera in portrait mode (even I’m guilty of doing it in the heat of the moment) because that’s how you hold your iPhone 99% of the time. But you’ll capture a wider shot and avoid those pesky black bars by turning your phone sideways before you start filming.

Try a tripod

When you’re traveling light, packing extra equipment doesn’t seem too appealing. But, if you know you want to take a lot of videos on tour, a tripod might be essential. For under $20, a lightweight tripod can make your videos look like a million bucks.

If you don’t have a tripod, hold your phone steady with both hands. You’ll also want to keep your arms still; tuck your elbows into your side or rest them on something nearby for support. Holding your phone out with one arm (or worse, using your selfie stick) is a surefire way to make a video that’ll make your audience motion sick.

Get closer for close-ups

Time to learn a little photography lingo. To zoom in, the lens on your iPhone uses a digital zoom, which means it digitally enlarges and crops your image. If you have an iPhone 7 Plus, your phone is equipped with some optical zoom capabilities, which is an actual lens adjustment. Either way, the zoom feature isn’t a great way to take a close-up image—you’ll end up with a really pixelated picture. Just get closer to your subject for a better shot!

Look for natural light

Another not-always-handy feature on your phone? The flash, which can sometimes cast your subject in a too-bright glow, or make your background appear too dark. Natural light is best. Just make sure you frame your subject near, but not in right front of, your light source—whether that’s a window or bright, direct sunlight.

Mix it up

Taking a documentary-style video is great, but you might want to experiment with other movie-making methods, too! One of my favorites is Boomerang, an app that lets you create short, looped videos. It’s a fun way to capture moments like clinking glasses at a wine tasting or a friend jumping into the ocean for snorkeling. You can also share your videos right to Facebook and Instagram from the app.

Another thing to experiment with? Slow-motion or time-lapse videos. Both are available right from your iPhone’s Camera menu with just a swipe.

Ready to use these tips on tour? Start exploring our tours to plan your next trip!

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About the author | Jamie Burke
Always on the lookout for the next best meal ever, Jamie loves exploring the world—and all the great food in it. When she's not working to inspire new travelers, you'll find her biking around Boston, eating at her favorite sushi place, or hanging out at home with her family (and cat).

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