If you have a passion for photography – or any other subject for that matter – one way you can tell the world about is through vlogging. Vlogging is short for video blogging and the internet is awash with people talking about a whole range of subjects, so why not join them? This simple guide outlines the very basic considerations to help you get started.
1 You’re going to need a plan
Before you start, you need to make a few key decisions. What your vlog is going to be about is an obvious one, but then also consider how frequently you plan to record a vlog, how long it will be, the target audience you want to reach and what tone you’ll adopt; serious, light-hearted, somewhere in between? Write down a plan for the first four vlogs and the key elements you’ll cover, then keep adding to the list as you record each one.
2 Think about location
If you’re just starting out, we’d recommend you shoot indoors during the day. Use a room where there’s no direct sunlight at the time of recording and consider what’s in the background – you may need to do some tidying up to make it less cluttered. Consider using reflectors to even up the lighting and – if you can’t shoot during the day – it might be worth buying an LED light to provide some consistent illumination. A solid tripod is also a must-buy – no handheld selfie-style videos allowed!
3 Camera requirements
A vlog can be shot on a smartphone, but imagine if you get a call right in the middle of recording – not ideal! We’d recommend you use a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a vari-angle LCD that can be flipped out so you can see yourself as you record. Lens choice is an important consideration, too. If you’re working in a small space, try to avoid the temptation to go too wide – you wouldn’t use a wide-angle lens to shoot a portrait, right? Stick around the 50mm focal length equivalent, ideally. As you record the vlog, you will naturally move around, so if your camera has face or eye detection autofocus, make sure it’s switched on as it will track you as you move. Finally, make sure your camera has an audio input socket for a separate microphone, which leads us on to…
4 Don’t use your camera’s internal microphone
Your camera will have an internal microphone, but we’d advise you not to use it. That’s because internal microphones are omnidirectional, meaning they pick up all sound at equal levels. So if someone slams a door in your house while you’re recording, or a dog barks outside, the chances are it will pick up. Instead, consider investing in a shotgun mic or a lapel (lavalier) mic. These mics are unidirectional, which means they mainly pick up sounds from one direction. A shotgun mic sits on your camera, while a lapel mic will clip to your clothing; both plug into the camera’s audio input socket and will record far better sound.
5 Polish up those editing skills
If you’ve never shot video before, you will need to learn some basic editing skills to prepare your vlog. PCs and Macs both come with basic video editing software as standard, which is ample to start with. As you get into vlogging, you may want to create more advanced effects, which will require software like Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro.
One way to make your editing easier is to record your vlog in sections, rather than try to do it all in one go. Break your content down into manageable 2-3 minute chunks and consider spots where you can drop images into your vlog so it isn’t just you on camera. Also, if you make a mistake, simply pause for a couple of seconds and then start again; that makes it easier to cut the error out during editing.
6 Start promoting it
When you’ve created your vlog, don’t be shy about it! Get it posted up on video sharing platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo and don’t forget to tell people about your efforts using social media channels. If you have your own website, you can use the embed code from the video sharing platform to put it on your own site.
Don’t expect overnight success, but if you persevere and your vlogs are engaging, you could build up an army of dedicated followers. Good luck!