how to vlog with smartphone

How to Start Vlogging with a Phone, Beginners Guide

If you ask yourself how to start a vlog, you do right! Just imagine, a 5 yo YouTube video blogger is #3 on Forbes’ list of YouTube celebrities of 2019. This little girl from Russia, whose name is Anastasia Radzinskaya, earns $18 million annually from her YouTube channels, beating PewDiePie and most of Hollywood stars. The #1 guy, Ryan Kaji, is an 8 yo boy who makes $26 million a year unboxing toys on camera. Do you still think you can’t become rich and famous due to YouTube and other platforms?

If you are panicking because you don’t know how to start and how much money to invest in the beginning, just stop. Just stop worrying too much and read our quick beginner’s guide on how to make a YouTube video using a smartphone.

Smartphone Vlogging Pros and Cons

So how to make a youtube video on your phone? Easy! Actually, vlogging with a smartphone has more pros than cons. First of all, you probably already have one which is suitable to record nice-looking content. If not, you can get a new one for a very reasonable price. In any case it will cost less than a pro camera. Yes, maybe it lacks some video options, but still it is capable to produce great 4K movies. Second, it is light and portable. Your smartphone is always with you so you never miss anything interesting. In addition, with a smartphone you don’t need to transfer files to the computer. You can edit them and upload directly to YouTube or any other platform. So, do not hesitate to give a try today! Just have a quick look at our list of the best smartphones for vlogging and live streaming.

Vlogging Tips for Beginners

Five easy steps and some useful tips for beginners. Read on and you will know more about planning your video blog, setting up and preparing your phone camera before shooting, editing your records and more.

Step 1: Ideas and Inspiration

Before setting up the mobile and buy all the additional stuff, you have to make up a clear idea of the vlog. After you say:”I want to start vlogging”, ask yourself in which field you are an expert or what you are fond of? Your videos must be interesting not only for your followers but also for yourself. Otherwise you will get bored soon and forget about your YouTube channel.

When you write down some ideas about your future vlog, make research. Take a look at what your future rivals produce. Check out the vlog channels of the most popular YouTube personalities. What do you like in their content? What is irritating for you? What is a big “no”? After such a research, you will have a much clearer vision about what makes a successful YouTube video, how own content should look like, and who is your audience. Who are these people? What are their interests? How can you gain their attention? While making a research you can find some inspiration and ideas for your channel. Though, be attentive and avoid copying someone’s vlog blatantly. You need to find your style.

Also, if among all those different types of vlogs, you opt for one that supposes shooting in the streets, train yourself to feel confident talking on camera in public. It is not hard as nowadays not many people pay attention to people talking with their phone. If you still feel shy and timid, just train a little bit. After a couple of test videos, you will feel comfortable.

Remember that people love stories. You need to take your viewers through your day with your vlog by telling a story rather than gathering those clips randomly. Think about that and write a short script before you start shooting. Besides, if you are not a pro in improvisation, you better learn your text by heart at least for the first recordings. By the way, if you are going to talk much, pay attention to teleprompter apps that will be so much in handy.

Step 2: Learn How to Record a Good Video on a Phone

To record a good YouTube video on a phone, you better check out a good guide to getting started for beginner YouTubers to be aware of general rules and tips for shooting on your mobile device, which are, by the way, valid and useful for all types of cameras. So, what are the main points you have to take into consideration when capturing video content?

  1. The lens must be clean. A stain on the lenses can spoil a perfectly shot video because your viewers will pay more attention to an irritating stain than to the content itself. And again, a dirty lens can make the image blurry. So, the first step to a good video is cleaning the camera with a soft microfiber cloth.
  2. Orient your phone horizontally. Remember that most of Youtube viewers enlarge the vids and watch them horizontally. Of course, there can be exceptions to this rule. If the videos are destined for Snapchat or Instagram, you can make them vertical. Though, such vids look very amateur and might annoy people.
  3. Think about the composition. Get some info about this topic. For instance, you can read this wonderful article where Kyle Cassidy explains the essentials about composition, like the focus on the eyes, the rule of thirds, balance and symmetry.
  4. Remember about the lightning. The position and the quality of the main source of lightning define how your film looks in general. If you know the basics about avoiding direct sunlight, using the golden hours, and the rule of three-point lighting, you will boost the quality of your videos quickly and significantly. There are many nice lightning tutorials on the net. For starters, check out this one:

    Having the basic knowledge, you will be able to play with the light and create the right image and mood of the content. And yes, you will be able to make everything look better even before editing.
  5. Make your recording stabilized. Shaky films give nausea to the viewers. So, more likely that people switch off such content during the first seconds. Who can concentrate on what you are telling about if the image is “jumping”? The best decision is to buy a special gimbal for your smartphone that helps make videos smooth. Or, keep the phone with both hands at least. This normally helps to reduce the trembling-hand effect.
  6. Think about the sound. Most new smartphones are capable to shoot decent audio, but anyways, the sound is whether low or distorted, or you can hear all the noises that interrupt the speaker. An additional Bluetooth or mini-shotgun microphone can resolve this problem and improve the thing.
  7. Thinking about the technical moments, don’t forget about the viewers. Engage with them, interact, ask questions. Do not forget that the content of your vlog should be not only good-looking but also interesting. And yes, keep in mind that the first seconds are crucial. If your audience doesn’t get engaged, it leaves.

Step 3: Start with the Right Settings of Your Phone

After purchasing your new smartphone for vlogging, check out its settings. You will see that they are pretty advanced on modern phones and allow you to make perfect camera presets with several taps. So what settings you need to change before filming YouTube videos with your phone, and what else you should pay attention to?

  1. Always, always check if your battery is full and that you have a power bank to recharge it. If you don’t do this, you risk losing a posh clip just because your battery dies in process.
  2. Check if you have enough memory for your clips.
  3. Unless you need a 4K video, drop the settings to 1080 p 30 fps. Thus, you will get a lower file size without worsening the quality.
  4. Switch on the grid lines. They will remind and help you to stick to the main composition rule, the rule of thirds.
  5. To help your camera focus on the chosen object, tap on your phone’s LCD (for Google Android) or hold your finger in place (for iPhone). Also, tap on the screen to adjust the contrast level.
  6. Study all available camera settings on your phone as there might be such intelligent features like scene optimizer or flaw detection.
  7. Explore the camera settings for in-built filters, AR, “instant beauty” and lightning adjustment options. These features might be very useful for creating YouTube content on your smartphone.
  8. Try slow-motion and hyper-lapse effects. They can make your vlog really special.

Step 4: Pick up the Right Smartphone Vlogging Accessories

What type of vlog you want? Where are you going to shoot, indoors or outdoors? Are you going to shoot them while moving? When you answer these questions you will know what smartphone filmmaking equipment beginner’s kit you need.
Yes, you can start filming vlogs using natural light or just an extra lamp in your room, but anyways later will come a moment when you want to boost the quality of the footages. For that the YouTubers use some additional equipment. So, why not get some essentials from the beginning if you have the budget for that? Make your kit of accessories and ease filming YouTube videos with your phone.

So, what do you need?

  • If you shoot indoors, think about buying a tripod, a source of extra light, camera remote control and a microphone. The tripod is necessary to fix your phone and correct the angle of shooting. The microphone serves to improve your audio, so the final sound is strong and without any distortions. The source of extra light is to create a good image and the right mood for the videos. The remote control is a small button that switches on and off your camera using Bluetooth.
  • If you shoot outdoors, the essentials for you are a bit different. But still, you need a tripod or a gimbal to stabilize the video where you move, a good microphone, and a source of extra light in case of gloomy weather or night footages.

Step 5: Edit Your Videos

So, here we are. The footage is ready but it still needs some editing to get a kickass final result. What’s good about vlogging with your phone? Well, you don’t have to worry about transferring clips from a camera to a computer to edit and store them. All this is now possible with this small mobile device. Just imagine, you are not tied to your working desk. Create a good-quality mini-movie within minutes wherever you are! You just need your smartphone and a couple of decent applications that do most of handiwork instead of you.

What video editing apps are the most popular among YouTubers?

1. iMovie (iOS)

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of audio tools
  • Classy themes
  • 4K support
  • Access to iCloud drive
  • Direct export to Youtube
  • Some useful controls are missing

iMovie is a free in-built application for the iOS devices which is perfect for entry-level editing. iMovie is an app that supports 4K video and offers you all the essential tools for media organization, color adjusting, speed correction, green-screen effects, narration, and soundtrack in your digital movies.

2. ActionDirector (Android)

  • Free
  • User-friendly
  • 4K support
  • Slow or fast-motion effects and more
  • In app access to the camera
  • Audio tools
  • ActionDirector water mark if you use the free version
  • In app ads

ActionDirector is the Editor’s choice in Play Store. The app has all the essentials for a vlogger. It records, edits and shares the movies in a fast and efficient way. Its intuitive interface and helpful guidelines will ease all the editing work: cropping, zooming, adding slow-mo or speeding up the video, adding a slick repeat or rewind effects, adding filters, adjusting sharpness, etc. The audio tools allow you to mute the original sound, add background music and perform audio mixing.

3. InShot (iOS and Android)

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Audio tools with direct access to SoundCloud
  • Wide range of filters and canvases
  • FHD support
  • Suitable for editing both, videos and photos


  • Watermark appears if you use a free version
  • In-app advertisement
  • Some effects are not useful for professional production

InShot is an all-in-one video and photo content editor for iPhones and Android phones. The app is easy to use and has all the basic features to trim and edit your vlog clips. As a huge bonus, it has a direct access to SoundCloud where you can choose and buy background soundtracks.

4. Quick (iOS and Android)

  • Free
  • User-friendly
  • Themes with transition effects
  • Automatic editing
  • FHD+ support
  • Audio tools


  • Some clips may require additional manual editing

This app is perfect for fast editing on the go. It automatically searches for great moments in your footages, trims and edits your clips. Though, you can control most of the moment manually. Quick app can add transitions and provides featured soundtracks if your music library is not enough.

5. Adobe Premiere Clip (iOS and Android)

  • Free
  • User-friendly
  • Freeform and Automatic editing modes
  • Adobe integration
  • Adobe Creative Cloud support
  • No storyboard templates
  • Lacks rotating function
  • Few music choices

Adobe Premiere Clip is a popular iPhone and Android application for basic editing. It allows to edit footages automatically as well as manually, and to shoot clips with the in-app camera. The reason it is popular is that it synchronizes with all Adobe software.

Do’s and don’ts for making YouTube videos with your phone

To sum up all the information and get some more tips on how to make a good video with your smartphone, check out our cheat sheet of “Do’s and Don’ts”.

  • Plan. Make your content plan. Think what will you talk about, how frequently, where to look for additional information and new ideas. Plan how you will look in the footage. Plan where you are going to shoot. Check the location, try different angles there. Prepare the script and your speech.
  • Check how clean your camera is. Don’t forget to clean the lens with a soft tissue before you start filming.
  • Switch on the Airplane mode so no one disturbs you while you are making videos for YouTube.
  • Have good lightning. It is one of the biggest factors influencing the quality of image. When you shoot well-lit subjects with your cameraphone you actually produce a better picture than when you make a recording of poorly-lit subjects with a DSLR. Use additional source of light to have more control on the lightning of your shots.
  • Think about the sound. Get yourself a good microphone. Remember, if the viewers don’t hear you, they just stop watching your content.
  • Use a tripod or a gimbal. Don’t give a chance to shaky videos. A well-stabilized recording has far more chances to be watched till the end.
  • Record at your subject level rather than from above. This trick will help you focus on your subject and create a better picture in general, especially if you are recording children or animals.
  • Vary your shots. A static image gets boring within seconds. Try slow-mo to emphasize the action, or make a close-up to your or your companion’s face, etc.
  • Edit your clips. Use various applications to improve the overall quality of the footage – colors, sharpness, contrast, sound, – and to add various visual and audio effects, text, and so on.
  • Film against the light if you don’t want your subject to be backlit and overexposed.
  • Shoot in noisy places. This will irritate your audience.
  • Be too static or too restless. Boredom or headache are not the things your viewers expect from you.
  • Move your camera too much and wobble. Use a tripod or a gimbal if you don’t want to give nausea to many of your followers.
  • Rely much on post-production. Editing tools can improve a good video, but they won’t save a bad one.


How to make a YouTube channel on a phone?

  1. Sign into YouTube and tap on the user icon at the top right corner
  2. Tap on “Settings”
  3. Tap on “Create a new channel”
  4. Choose “Use a business or other name”
  5. Add the name of your vlog and choose “Create”

For more information, you can check out YouTube Help.

How to make money on YouTube?

Switch on the monetization feature on your channel, then connect it to your AdSense account. Thus, you start being paid for showing the advertisement. If your content is popular, you also can make money shooting paid promotional clips. Or, you can get paid by viewers. If your channel has 1,000+ active subscribers, your content will be available for those who pay for ads-free Youtube. And this is the level where you can start charging viewers for some content like live-stream chats, or special videos.

Check out YouTube Help for more details.

How much money do I need to start a YouTube channel?

It is free to create a channel on YouTube. Though, you need money to buy some basic equipment. So the amount of investment depends on its price, but don’t worry. You can find equipment for any budget nowadays.