Today, most reporters, even those who work at TV stations, are reporting their stories from their homes, interviewing people via Zoom or Skype and using video footage and photos provided by the organization being interviewed.
That means nonprofits must shoot their own videos and photos.
Luckily, most recent-model smartphones make it super easy to capture quality footage and shots. You just need to make sure to have the right set up.
We recommend capturing photos and video as often as possible, ideally daily, but at least a couple of times a week if you are still running programs. If you don't use the video and photos for press, you can always use it for newsletters, social media posts and blogs.
Tips for recording your video:
GOOD LIGHTING IS KEY
Shoot the video in a well-lit room, ideally with a light facing you. If necessary, face a window or point a desk light in your direction, to get more light on your face. Make sure that you are not backlit (meaning the light isn't behind you.)
POSITION YOUR SHOT
When recording your video use the "rule of thirds." Think of your shot as being divided into three columns. Position yourself in the center of your shot or in column 2.
If there are two people in your video, for instance, you are interviewing someone, position each person in the first and third columns.
Make sure you are not clipping the top of your head in the shot, by giving yourself "head room." This should be just about the width of a finger above your head in shot.
STEADY YOUR SHOT
To avoid your video coming out distorted or blurry, keep your phone steady while recording. To do so, use both hands to hold your phone in the horizontalposition close enough to your body so that only your head and shoulders are showing (unless the point of the video is to show more).
If possible, place your phone on a solid surface during recording or use a tripod, so it doesn't shake.
Stand straight and try not to move around. If you need to sit, please do not sit in a swivel chair or one that moves, as it increases the chances of an unsteady image.
Find a quiet spot to shoot your video. Background noise is easily picked up on cell phone microphones and is distracting.
Keep the background simple and clear. A sign makes for a good backdrop, as does a wall. The point is not to distract viewers with the background. If you are not sure. take a photo of yourself with the background first to see how it looks.
Here's an example of a nonprofit that followed our advice to snap photos and shoot video - which then aired on Spectrum NY1 News.