Video Essentials

Learn to Hold Your Camera Like a Pro: Video 101

The following lesson was created by Vimeo for its Vimeo Video School. It’s used here with permission. Look for a new lesson each week.

Knowing the right way to hold a camera is just about the most important part of filming apart from knowing how to record, that is! The best shots are the steady shots and this lesson will cover some quick tips on how to keep your camera steady and get smooth movements when you are filming. All right, let’s do this!

Tips for Shooting Handheld:

  • Use both hands. This is pretty self-explanatory, but super effective. If you are using a camcorder, it’s best to hold the camera from the top handle or the hand strap, and then brace it underneath with your free hand.
  • Don’t tense up. This is tricky, because you want the camera to be still, but tensing your arms or locking your knees will tire you out. It is best to be loose and comfortable. Take a few deep breaths to calm down before you start recording. You also want to absorb any unevenness of the terrain you are on before hitting that record button.
  • Steady your stance. Try supporting yourself by leaning against a wall or a pillar. The more weight you can put on something else, the more you can avoid shaky camera syndrome.
  • Use the LCD screen. Usually on camcorders, the LCD screen will be on a hinge. Use this element to your advantage to change the perspective and angle a bit.
For extra credit…
Increase your height! Try holding the camera above your head for high shots. The angled LCD makes this easy!
  • Pinkies up, elbows out. When shooting on a point & shoot or camera phone, consider this rule. This technique helps make sure your fingers don’t block the lens and keeps your arms steady.

Note: We recommend not holding the camera vertical if you are just starting out with shooting video. Editing vertical video can get a little tricky, so it is best to keep horizontal.

While shooting handheld is sufficient for most situations, using a tripod is the ideal setup for steadying shots. Want to have the steadiest shot and not shoot handheld? Check out our lesson How To Stop Shaky Camera Syndrome.

Ready for more? Learn how (and why) to white balance your camera or view more lessons at the Vimeo Video School.


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