Shoot quality videos and photos with your Smartphone

Videos and photos are excellent tools for increasing organizational reach on social media and engaging employees and others in innovative ways, according to FAS Media Manager Veronica Trevino. In her research, she found that video is the most preferred content on social media. In one survey, 81 percent of people preferred video content compared to a 31 percent preference for text posts. Content paired with an image can attract 94 percent more views on average than content without visuals.

Although shooting videos and selfies with your Smartphone for social media and other types of engagement is not difficult, there are ways to help ensure a quality product. These suggestions and tips can apply to personal or professional use. For sharing to your unit accounts, please follow your unit procedures for posting or requesting posting of messages to your social media channels.

Strategize first, Trevino says. Consider your goals, such as awareness, education, or engagement. Ask yourself what story you are telling. Decide what platforms you are using, whether your video or photo can be shared more than once over more than one platform and how your video or photo will be promoted. Plan the location for shooting, create a storyboard or script and amend as needed. For professional purposes, follow your local office processes for approval.

Next you will need to make decisions about the actual shooting. Trevino offers these tips:

  • The majority of people watch social media video on their mobile device, so position the phone vertically.
  • “Bite size” videos are best. If you have a great deal of information to share, create a series of short videos for it. A general best practice is to keep videos under one minute; however, research shows 15- to 30-second videos have higher view completion rates. You should also be aware of platform video length requirements. This article includes helpful tips and information around video length.
  • Find a quiet place to shoot. Microphones pick up even a little background noise. A place where other people or environmental noises cannot be heard is best.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Use natural light when possible. Avoid shadows or harsh light, and do not film in front of a bright light or window.
  • Use plain language. For example, if the video is being narrated or includes an interview, use simple, conversational speech.

As for selfies, Trevino says they can serve as a marketing tool. As with videos, strategizing first is important. Sometimes selfies work well as part of a campaign such as #ProtectTexasTogether. In other instances, they can be saved and used when there is a strategic reason for doing so.

Trevino has these recommendations for taking selfies:

  • Be sure your camera lens is clean.
  • Shoot your head and shoulders. The best framing is just above your chest to slightly above your head, with some space around your body on both sides.
  • Ensure you are in focus by touching the focal point on the screen, your face.
  • Be aware of the background. For example, be sure nothing appears to be protruding from your head, like a pole or tree branches behind you.
  • As with videos, pay attention to lighting, including avoiding direct sunlight.

Getting a perfect video or selfie on the first try is unlikely.

“If you mess up, it’s okay to stop and try again,” Trevino said. “If you are shooting video, just keep the camera rolling. If you are taking a selfie, it’s okay to take several photos and have fun doing that.”

Smartphone graphic
April 5, 2021