Vlogging 101

By now, most of you have seen me (and my husband) in all our crazy glory on camera. Video camera, that is. If you haven’t seen us, you can watch us on my YouTube channel.

That crazy thing we do is called “vlogging” – video blogging!

Vlogging is not a difficult thing to do, but there are some important steps you can take to be sure you make the most of your vlog. In this post, I’ll talk about being on camera, types of cameras, and editing/uploading. Eventually I’ll do more detailed posts on each of these, but this is a crash-course on vlogging!

But first, I want to tell you my #1 piece of advice for folks new to vlogging:

Just turn the camera on and talk. You can always edit later. Editing is your B.F.F.

The first thing to discuss when discussing vlogging is the fear of being in front of the camera. Most folks are hesitant terrified of being on camera, hearing themselves talk, vlogging in public, and so on.

Trust me, I get it.

I hate hearing myself talk. I think I sound like a country mouse.

I cringe when I am editing videos and I hear myself laugh. But you know what? I post the videos anyway. I’ve made it through 28 years of life with people hearing me talk and laugh in person, and they usually don’t run the other way… so what’s wrong with me talking and laughing on video?

Being on camera is intimidating in other ways, especially if you’re vlogging in public. So here are a few simple tips:

1. Look straight into the camera.

2. Be aware of your “framing” – you don’t want to be zoomed in too close or out too far. Don’t cut off the top or bottom of your head!

3. Be aware of lighting. Backlighting is bad, and happens when there is a bright light behind you that makes you look dark (like you are just a big dark figure). Be sure you are facing the light.

4. Check your audio. A vlog is no good if your viewers can’t hear you! Also, be careful not to vlog in the wind or other potentially “loud” scenarios.

5. Look in the mirror before you turn the camera on. Do you have flyaway hairs? Something in your teeth? Something up your nose? Those things cannot be edited out of an entire video – so fix them before you start!

Now that you’re ready to be on camera, you may be wondering… what camera should I use? You have several options when it comes to cameras. Here are my thoughts on each:

1. A webcam: These are good for quick vlogs and you don’t need a tripod – the camera is generally pretty stable. However, you are limited to your surroundings – you can’t get up and walk around. Lighting is generally not great with webcams and your audio may be a little funky too since you are likely using the computer’s microphone.

2. A small handheld camera: My favorite! A lot of vloggers use Flip cameras (which are no longer being produced so they’re hard to find) or point-and-shoot cameras with excellent video capabilities. I use a Canon point-and-shoot camera for all of my vlogs. I use this one:

It is a Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS. It is less than $200 at most stores and online. It also takes excellent pictures – I use it to take pictures when I’m out and about, too!

3. A DSLR camera: most of us know what this is – a digital SLR camera. These are awesome for vlogs where you will be sitting down and can set up the tripod, lighting, audio, etc. just right. These are not ideal, however, for “on-the-go” vlogging. These are also very pricey!

4. A true video camera: You know, the handheld video camera. These are facing a lot of competition these days with DLSRs and the video capabilities that DSLR cameras have. These are also pretty pricey and you will want to do your research before making a purchase!

I recorded my vlog… now what?!

So you know what to do on camera… and you had the right tools for it… now what do you do with this footage you have on a memory card?!

You can certainly do a “one-take” vlog, which means you don’t edit – you just record and upload. If you want to edit, you will want to be sure you have some sort of video editing software on your computer.

The most popular ones are iMovie and Final Cut. I have used both, and while Final Cut can do all the fancy schmancy editing, iMovie is easier to use and has a smaller learning curve. If you have a PC, I have heard that Sony has good editing software as well. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube (ironic, huh?) for editing software so don’t buy a book or anything… just watch an 8 year old kid show you how to edit. I’m not kidding.

You will also want to have a good hard drive – videos take up a lot of storage space. I bought a 1TB (terabyte) external hard drive from Costco for around $80. It’s small, lightweight, and perfect.

While editing your video, try to incorporate your “brand” into the vlog. A link to your blog, your logo, etc. This is usually good at the beginning or end of the video.

Now that you’re done editing… what should you do with your video?! YouTube is the biggest, most popular place to upload and “host” your video. Google owns YouTube, and videos are now showing up in search results, so YouTube is the best place to upload your video. Sites like Vimeo are also good, but your video is less likely to be found on a smaller site.

If you have a gmail address, you can log onto YouTube and you have your own YouTube channel. You can customize your channel, monetize your videos, respond to comments, and more.

The bottom line is that to vlog, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. Have fun on camera. Be creative when editing. The more you do it, the more fun it gets. Keep in mind you can record vlogs and never upload them – just for practice!

What questions do you have about vlogging for future posts? Let me know in the comments, or email me (melissablogs at gmail dot com).


  1. says

    Thanks for posting this! I have done a few vlogs, but always used my webcam on my Mac. Now that I know how to use my DSLR camera feature better I may try that. I’ve used imovie to edit, but it seems my wording/mouth always gets off- how can I prevent this?!

    • says

      You know another blggeor and artist tweeted at me about feeling she couldn’t get on camera and was battling confidence and these are all things I have battled with and still do. So it got me thinking how did I get to the point where I am now, where I’m ok with getting on camera, even chubby in my PJs haha. It’s really inspired me to create a post or some type of project where we can all take a step forward in feeling good about who we are. (I’m currently planning my notes). I’m, really happy that this reaches people and I hope makes them feel like they can do the same. So thank you for your feedback! Talking more about this subject I think is going to be really healthy for me, and I’m starting to get the impression, it’s going to be really healthy for others. How cool that you’ve been reading about Buddhism as well. It’s been my new thing lately. I’m going to inbox you this video series I found on youtube. Oh checked out your post today you rock, that is an awesome idea!

    • says

      [..YouTube..] well, my scale is also not pretty! lol! but I don’t rellay care))) for me it’s enough it works =D otherwise it’d be a problem))) OMG! what if the scale lies to me (paranoia) lol))

    • says

      You mean my mortgage, grorecy bills and formula/diapers for my kids aren’t going to pay for themselves?!?Another point that is worth mentioning is the fact that the value for a high-quality has been reduced to peanuts. Quality, custom photography is an investment whether it’s portraits or commercial or weddings or events. Those in the industry, who know better, need to be charging what they’re worth AND what they need in order to sustain a business. We need to do a better job *educating* clients and potential clients about the difference a professional photographer makes in delivering a high-quality image.Using the above in the case of commercial/corporate photography, companies need to budget accordingly for quality photographic services. The problem arises when they price shop, which happens often, and settle with the cheapest photographer, or as your video pointed out, those who will work for exposure . Someone who excels in their industry and consistently delivers a quality image should be compensated appropriately like any other individual in their career. Bottom line: people need to stop working for free, working for cheap and/or undervaluing themselves. Doing any of these three things only exacerbates the current problems within the photography industry.

    • says

      [..YouTube..] Nothing to be nervous about. We’re here to suroppt you. =) Thank you for showing us. Thank you for being honest, and the number is just a starting point. On here at least. =) 37 pounds down! Wow, congrats on that! You’re doing great. xo =D

  2. Shonnon says

    Hello I use I Nikon l810 and use a lot of fluorescent lights to make the video quality good but it doesn’t work. The video quality is poor. Idk what I need to do to make it better. I then edit some parts by using windows movie maker but it’s mostly the lighting. Also when you have music in the background how do you make it stop at a certain part. Please reply! Thanks

  3. says

    Thank you so much for posting this!! Right now for my videos I’ve been using my laptop but I just want to know what to do for when I go in public and to camp. Thank you again. I learned a lot from this. :D

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