Dec 28, 2016

The Bigger Picture

Instant photographic gratification started in 1948 with the Polaroid. Snap a picture and it developed in minutes. Soon after that, Kodak invented the first digital camera as early as 1975. Now, you can get a smartphone with upwards of 20-megapixels of resolution!

Here at Pixl, we can appreciate the desire to capture every detail with the highest fidelity possible. Just look at our name. But as the saying goes, it’s not the size of the wand but the skill of the wizard. If you’ve ever wondered why your pictures and videos may not look quite as nice and composed as others, consider this your lucky day.


If you take the time to master a few tricks of the trade, you can actually capture near professional quality footage using the tools you already have. Did you know that some people have created national commercial campaigns and even an entire movie with footage solely from smartphones? The only difference between you and them is the know-how. Please allow us to offer some savvy camera-wielding advice.

Horizontal vs. Vertical

The number one rule to live by sits at the top of the list for a reason. It’s essential and easy. Make sure to orient your phone sideways to capture the image instead of upright. In other words, hold the phone horizontally instead of vertically. Because wide angle images make it possible to capture more of the picture and even compose the image you want to see. You know all those videos you see on social media with blurred edges on the left and right? Wish you could see the whole picture? Imagine watching an entire movie that way! Just remember: sideways instead of upright, horizontal instead of vertical.


Know what kind of camera you have along with its capabilities. Not all phones can record video at 60 frames per second (30 fps for iPhone 5 and older), and some are limited in pixel frame size, much like your television. If you plan to capture footage at an important event or gathering, survey co-workers and friends to find out who has the best wares. Trust us, it can make a big difference.


Camera phones have smaller image sensors than traditional cameras, so they won’t capture as much light as large Hollywood rigs. You’ll want to pay attention to light sources around you. Just be sure you don’t to get too close or point your camera at the light directly. Otherwise, you’ll end up with overexposed footage! Look for even, steady lighting directed at or near your subject. And take special precaution at night. Smart phones come equipped with LED lights, simultaneously too bright and insufficient. They skew color temperatures and become ineffective past a certain point. In the end, you almost always need to find an independent light source (stage lighting, lamps, etc.), and position yourself accordingly.

Accessory and Apps

Accessories may make the difference between causing your viewers dizziness and presenting them with a pleasant watching experience. Unless you hope to make the next Blair Witch Project, you might consider a tripod or camera stabilization rig to ensure your video doesn’t suffer from a shaky hand. As a smartphone user, you also have access to apps which can capture footage at 24 frames per second for that familiar “movie feel.” Others allow you to edit your video right from your phone!

Whatever your reason for taking video or photos, we know it’s important or else you wouldn’t want to capture it. These tips will help you get better-looking and lasting footage for yourself and those you wish to share it with.

Want to let the professionals handle your next video? Give us a shout, it’s what we do.