Video 101: 5 Tips For Shooting Video on a DSLR Camera

Filming with a DSLR camera can be an easy and cost-effective way to incorporate video content into your blog.

Nowadays many established bloggers have crossed over into the world of Youtube and vlog, along with creating written content and imagery for their blogs. Therefore it's becoming almost mandatory to post high-quality videos, in addition to maintaining a blog and various social media platforms, if you are looking to increase and maintain a large online following. Whether your goal is to become a digital influencer, establish your brand and/or sell your products online, filming video content with a DSLR camera is an excellent way to provide your audience with a fresh form of content.

Most DSLR cameras are equipped with a function capable of shooting professional level footage. Even professionals use HD DSLR, like the Canon 5D Mark II, when shooting commercials. Capturing moving imagery with your DSLR camera is fairly easy and IFB has rounded up a few simple tips for beginners on how to get better quality video with your camera.


1. Use A Tripod

DSLR cameras are light compared to other video cameras, so having something to stabilize your camera is helpful when attempting to film a steady shot. Having your hands free, as well, makes adjusting the focus on your subject (or yourself, if you're vlogging) much easier.

If you don't have a tripod, find a flat and stable surface to rest the camera on. This is especially important when filming in low light. “Use a table, a wall or the floor (if this makes sense for your picture), or even your leg if you're sitting,” says one IFB Contributor. Read the full article HERE on IFB's tips for capturing imagery in low light.

If you're looking for an affordable tripod, IFB recommends the Slik Sprint Pro II or the Joby Gorillapod.


2. Check Your Lighting

Consider how your shot looks through the lens, before your start filming. Like photography be wary of spaces that are too dark or too bright, shadows on your subject, etc. Use the camera's white balance and test the settings out before you begin filming.

If you are in the market for a new camera and want to get into vlogging, consider investing in a DSLR camera with a flip screen. You'll be able to clearly check your lighting while filming yourself as the subject. A flip screen camera is especially handy if you plan on filming with natural light or near a window (a method most beginner vloggers choose to use, before investing in expensive lighting equipment), as mother nature's spotlight can change quickly at the drop of a hat.

Looking to invest in some lighting equipment for vlogging? IFB recommends the Diva Ring Light Nova (18″) when filming yourself or other individuals.


3. Avoid Zoom When Recording With Your DSLR Camera

Zooming in and out when recording can be distracting and jarring to your audience.

If you need to get a closer shot, it's better to pause recording and change positions, then resume filming. Alternatively, you can change positions when recording if your subject can't pause. Zooming too much can also cause graininess in your image and decreases the quality of your video.


4. Test Your Audio Before You Begin Recording

If you are planning on recording audio while filming, test your microphone before you begin. Some settings may have an echo, some people speak very softly, and sometimes your microphone isn't plugged in properly. Fixing a visual glitch is much easier than fixing an audio one – trust us on this one, it's better to be safe than sorry.

According to Mic Reviews, “The preamps built-in to DSLRs aren’t professional at all (since they were originally created strictly for photography and they ended up fitting video in later) and sometimes there are pre-determined settings for gain and other audio tweaks that don’t allow for a custom sound. ” Essentially, it's important to keep in mind that the built-in microphone in your DSLR camera probably isn't the best when it comes to capturing audio.

IFB recommends investing in a shotgun microphone (the best kind of mic to use alongside a DSLR camera), if your budget allows for it. Check out the Takstar SGC-598 Interview Microphone for Nikon/Canon Camera/DV Camcorder.


5. Framing Your Subject Correctly

When filming a subject, it's possible you may be moving around. Be careful you aren't chopping off the top of someone's head or only framing your subject in the center. Be considerate about how you want the end product to look ahead of time and apply it as the action is happening.


Do you have any filming tips for beginners? Anything you've learnt through trial-and-error when filming with your DSLR camera? Let us know in the comments below!

Is a DSLR camera out of your budget? Looking to shoot still imagery for your fashion blog? IFB has rounded up three of our favourite cameras that are cheaper than a DSLR and perfect for fashion bloggers. 


Editor's Note: This post was updated from a previous draft on July 14, 2017. This post may contain affiliate links, which come at no additional cost to our readers. 

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8 Responses

  1. snowblackblog

    Thanks for the tips! I am planning on starting a Youtube channel this fall but want to get a good video camera that is not expensive. Does anyone have any recomendations. My camera is a Canon 50D but does not film, and I want something automatic so that when I film myself I won’t need someone to control it for me. Any suggestions welcome 😉

  2. Jennie

    Hey guys,
    Thanks for the article.
    I am concerned about how to get the best sound when filming outside. The wind is always a big problem in Manhattan 😉
    If anyone has some advice, I will gladly read them.
    Also, when editing your video, what software do you use?
    Thanks a lot.

  3. Ling

    Great tips. I recently bought the Canon 650D and it has an automatic focus feature which is actually a nightmare because it actually jerks a lot. Manual focus is difficult too because you can’t really tell if you are in focus until you watch the video back on the computer. Perhaps it was the lens I was using… Also, the autofocus makes a lot of noise feedback so investing in a mic was a costly option – I haven’t bought one yet so I had to do voiceovers. I am a DSLR noob! 😛 (the DSLR vid is

    Saying that, I had much better results in terms of focusing and mic with my canon predecessor which is a Canon G12. And you can see vids I recorded on my other YT channel which is LipStalkerTV on YT. (Won’t link it up because I don’t want to be a link bomber :P)

  4. Tara

    @Jenne – thanks for the suggestion cause I’m looking for something like that too… I have plenty of microphones but the video is the part that I have to worry about.

    Can’t wait to start!

  5. Gary

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve always wanted to start a vlog channel for my youtube channel and finally pulled the trigger last week. Recently just bought the Nikon D3300 as a starter camera and I can’t wait to implement some of the stuff I learned here in this article