If you follow me over on Instagram, (and if you’re not, go check out my profile @authorallysonkennedy), you may have noticed that, over the past few months, I’ve mainly been posting Reels instead of photos. I’ve made this decision for a few reasons, the main being that I wholeheartedly enjoy making Reels more than I did staging, taking, editing, and preparing captions for photos.
I’ve been making Reels off and on since around November or December of 2021, and in that time, I’ve learned a few things about making Reels that may help some of you who are thinking about making more of the short videos for your own platform. So, what tips do I have for making Reels?
Tip 1) Take Advantage of Natural Sunlight and Bare Walls
One thing I struggled with initially was trying to make my videos look more professional. After playing around with Reel drafts for a while, I found that two things have greatly impacted the quality of my Reels:
- Taking advantage of natural sunlight, just by opening the blinds in my house
- Filming Reels in front of a bare wall
Personally, I prefer using natural sunlight rather than indoor lighting, because the natural sunlight just looks more inviting to me. My indoor lighting, especially in the living room, is sparse in some spots, especially in the areas where I prefer to film Reels, so if possible, I try to film Reels whenever the sun is out.
Looking back at the Reels I’ve filmed in the past, I prefer the videos where the background wasn’t as busy (i.e. ones where I’m not sitting on the couch in front of curtains, or have wall signs hanging in the background), because it allows for less distraction for the viewer. That way, they are able to pay more attention to the subject of the Reel rather than the way my house looks. Again, this is just a personal preference.
Tip 2) Use a Phone Tripod
I cannot stress this enough. For a while, or when I got lazy, to be honest, I would just prop my phone up on my letterboard on my kitchen island and use that to film Reels. What would happen is, my phone would slip, or the camera angle wouldn’t be great, and I would get frustrated easily.
For Christmas last year, I got a phone tripod, and it has been a game changer for Reels. The one I have is the UBeesize brand from Amazon, and it is extremely easy to both set up for filming use and dissemble when I’m not using it. The tripod also came with a filming remote, but I’ve found it’s incompatible with Instagram’s Reel feature (or at least it was when I first tried it earlier this year).
The reason I recommend a tripod over holding the phone yourself, or using something else to prop it up, is that it will provide you with a steady video (no unnecessary camera movement), and it allows you to film from different heights/angles that you may not be able to get otherwise.
Tip 3) Save Soundless Reel Drafts to Your Phone Before Posting
Instagram Reels are notorious for glitching after posting, so one thing I learned to do the hard way was to save a copy of my finalized drafts to my phone before posting.
It’s as easy as tapping this button:
Though the Reel will not save with the Sound included, it will save any in-video captions you’ve added. So, if the Reel you posted ends up being glitchy, you could try deleting it, creating a new Reel, and uploading the saved draft with the Sound of your choice. You just won’t be able to edit the in-video captions, since they’re permanently attached to the video that was saved to your camera roll.
Tip 4) Copy and Paste Your Reel Captions into a Google Doc Before Posting
My last tip, which I also learned the hard way, is to always copy and paste my Reel captions (the long, non-in-video caption where you can include hashtags) into a Google Doc as a backup before posting. How did I learn this? A few times, I accidentally included more than 30 hashtags in my Reel caption, and Instagram ended up deleting the entire caption off my Reel. Earlier on in my Reel-making, there was a few times the caption deleted itself from my Saved Drafts as well. So, in order to avoid losing my work, copying and pasting a backup has become a healthy habit in preparing Reels. Heed my warning, friends! 🙂
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
Do you enjoy making Instagram Reels? What tips do you have? Share those in the comments!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.