How To Take PERFECT Cell Phone Videos

cell phone video

Most of us use our cell phones as our video cameras. What’s better than being able to whip out your smart phone for a quick video of your child eating spaghetti or taking his first step or capturing the look on your daughters face when she’s introduced to the ocean for the first time?

How you film those cell phone videos can make all the difference in how you capture and remember those priceless one-of-a-kind moments.

When I’m editing a “Year In The Life” family documentary- I always take note of 5 must haves,  for  perfect cell phone videos. Whether I’m editing your videos or you’re editing them yourself- these 5 tips will help tell your story better.


Every shot is a choice and framing your shot correctly is what makes the difference between usable video and video you’ll end up trashing. When filming little ones, kneel to their height before you start filming. You’ll want them to be at eye level so if you’re asking them a question they will look directly at the camera when answering.  Keep in mind that while centering the person speaking is often our first instinct, try framing your subject just to the right or left of center- this makes for a more interesting shot and the background will remind you of where you were and why it’s special.


You ever notice how on blogs the pictures tell the story? The same is true of video. You’ll want to film some of the area around you either before or after  you film your cutie pie. I often aim my camera toward the clear sky or the bright sun then pan downward stopping on my child/subject. In the example below our video starts with the sky, pans downward to the ocean, and stops on my daughter. This reminds me it was a beautiful, clear, sunny day at the beach- and one of my favorite days of the summer. With a location shot you can capture the “feel” and energy of the day you wish to remember.


Despite my best efforts I take so much video that I often can’t re-call the exact age of my little ones. So I like to start every video saying the age of my kids and what’s happening so I can create a title card in the edit that reminds me of the event, date, or age of my kids when the video was filmed. It’s a tiny thing, and most of us do it without even thinking of it- but if you don’t its a great habit to get in to. Just don’t over narrate- they won’t have those tiny voices forever- it’s okay to film them talking for a while without narrating for them!

5 tips for perfect cell phone videos

4. Length

Have you ever clicked on to a video on your phone, just to click off about 1 minute later? Sometimes we film more than we need. Unless you’re waiting for your child to say a very specific word or phrase, it’s okay to film just 30 seconds of their soccer game, or 45 seconds of your little one opening gifts. Sometimes less is more and the more you film long video clips the less room you have on your phone for spontaneous filming!

5. Hand Signals

This is, to me, one of the most important video tips. If you are filming your kids have them wave hello or goodbye to the camera. When you’re editing that footage together you likely won’t use a clip that doesn’t meet the above criteria, however a cute wave or an I Love You signal is a great way to capture the spirit of the moment without saying a word. It will open your video perfectly and close your video perfectly!

Keeping these 5 tips in your memory will result in easy to edit home videos that you can enjoy & share forever.  Watch some of our favorite videos on the portfolio page of our website:




Filled Under : Video Tutorials , Vignettes