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iPhone Video tips: Video Composition 101

Posted by Ali Schwanke on May 23, 2017
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Anyone can be a videographer nowadays with the cameras on their iPhones, but not everyone knows how to capture great footage. From headroom to leading lines, there are a few concepts that can help you turn your iPhone videos into masterpieces. We’ll give you an overview of these tricks of the trade plus a few standard iPhone video tips to help you out. 

One of the biggest tips we can give for capturing great iPhone footage is to have a plan for what you’re capturing and to know how to make it visually appealing. Knowing the basics when it comes to capturing an image or video is key and we’ll dive into the techniques so you can apply them to your next iPhone video!  

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iPhone video tips Rule of Thirds on imageThe Rule of Thirds. The rule of thirds states that you should mentally divide the frame (what you see on your screen) into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. What you get is like a tic-tac-toe board or grid overlaying your screen.

When you shoot your video, you should place your subject elements along those lines. Where the lines intersect will be the best place for your subject. That means that centering your subject in the frame will create a less interesting composition. In most cases, you will have control over where you are with your camera.


iPhone video tips heardroom on imageHeadroom. Just like it sounds, headroom is the space that is above your subject and to the top of the frame. We’ve all seen the pictures where Uncle Jimmy’s forehead is cut off or all you see is his eyebrows and nothing else in the frame.

You can create adequate headroom when framing your shot by using your Rule of Thirds grid and place your subject no higher than the upper third line.

Pro tip: If you’re framing a shot with people in it, avoid placing the edge of your frame at one of the body’s natural cutoff lines like the neck, elbows, waist, knees, and ankles.


iPhone video tips lead space on image

Lead Space. Also known as nose room or look space, is the space in front of your subject. Make sure you leave room in the direction your subject is looking.

Viewer’s eyes will naturally track toward that empty space if they see the subject facing that way. Without lead space, a sense of direction and purpose isn’t conveyed and the shot can relay a sense of confusion instead of clear storytelling.



iPhone video tips leading lines on imageLeading lines. Leading lines refers to a technique of composition where the viewers' attention is drawn to lines that lead to the main subject of the image or scene. Leading lines pave a path for your viewers to follow toward your subject.

An easy example of leading lines are roads and the horizon. Your eye is quickly drawn to the horizon because the road leads you to look there. Leading lines are all around us in cities and in nature. Find them and arrange them in your shot so that they help guide your viewer where to look.


iPhone video tips background on imageBackground. To keep your subject as the main focus of the shots, make sure the background you’re shooting against isn’t distracting. If it overpowers the main focus, the viewer can’t follow the story easily. 

If you’re shooting in an area where changing the background isn’t possible, you might be able to put the background out of focus by decreasing the depth of field in your shot. 


iPhone video tips angles on imageAngles. It’s all about the angles, seriously. Try to change point and/or angle of view after every shot. Try not to shoot everything at eye-level, you run the risk of boring your viewers. When you switch up the angle of your shot, it’ll engage your viewers to keep watching for what happens next.

If you’re shooting someone working at their computer, you can take five different shots just while they’re sitting there.

  • Take one shot from over their shoulder
  • A close-up of their hands and fingers using the keyboard
  • A shot from over the person’s other shoulder
  • A low angle shot looking up at them
  • A facial shot 



There are also some fundamental aspects that you want to make sure to remember when you’re filming video on your iPhone.

Phone capabilities. There’s nothing worse than being two minutes into an interview and realizing you’re out of phone storage. iCloud, GooglePhotos, and Dropbox are great ways to offload current content so that you have plenty of room on your device.

Also, remember to check your battery. Running your camera app is a great way to run down your battery in record time, so be sure to have a full charge and bring your charger or an external battery pack with you just in case.

Video 101. Remember to use tripods, be aware of your lighting, and try not to use your camera’s zoom feature. For more iPhone video tips, check out this post



Your video composition is going to look fantastic now that you know how to use the Rule of Thirds and appropriate spacing. Don’t forget to check yourself before you wreck yourself when it comes to your background and shot angles. Before you know it you’ll be the next Martin Scorsese.

Looking for more ways to level-up your video marketing? Download our social video strategy ebook today!

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