tipstricksThese days most of us have traded in our traditional cameras and camcorders for smartphones. We take photos and videos on our iPhones and Android devices and share them with friends on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and beyond.

But shooting great video on your phone can be tricky – too many of us look back at our footage only to find that it’s too dark, too shaky, or poorly framed. We’ve put together a list of three quick tips that will help you shoot awesome, high quality video on your smartphone.

Make sure you have plenty of light

Because mobile camera lenses are tiny it’s important to shoot in conditions with as much light as possible if you want the picture to look as good as possible.  Shooting outdoors during the day will give you the best quality shot, but if you’re inside try opening the curtains to let in natural light or turn on as many lights as possible.

It’s also important to note that you should position yourself so that the light source is behind you and your subject is in front of you so the light will shine on them.  If the light is behind your subject then it can make them look like a dark silhouette on a bright background.

If you have to shoot in a dark location or at night, just try to position yourself so that as much light as possible is shining on your subject.

Well-lit footage will have brighter colors, sharper lines and a much higher quality look.

Beware of Vertical Video Syndrome

This is one of the biggest things to keep in mind when shooting video on a smartphone. Just because you hold your phone vertically when you talk on it doesn’t mean you need to hold it vertically when you shoot videos. Horizontally-shot video not only looks better on playback, but it lets you capture so much more of the scene. But don’t take our word for it – watch this PSA from Mario and Fafa of Glove and Boots:

Keep the camera (aka your smartphone) steady

You don’t want your viewers to suffer from motion sickness, which is why it’s important to concentrate on keeping your smartphone steady while you’re shooting video. Many people hold their arm straight out in front of them when shooting video with their phone. This lends to some really shaky footage. The best way to steady things is to hold your phone with two hands instead of one and steadying your arms against your body. Magisto does have built-in image stabilization, but you’ll always get the best results when your footage starts out looking as great as possible.