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How to Vlog on YouTube: Complete Beginner’s Guide

Ready to take the plunge and become a YouTube vlogger? Thousands of people are documenting their everyday lives through vlogging. It’s fun and allows you to reach millions of people, while also being potentially lucrative. Perhaps the hardest part of getting started is getting over the anxiety and stigma, with the second challenge being getting the right equipment. This overview is going to touch on all the important areas of how to get your YouTube vlogging career started.

Accessories Needed

Numerous accessories are required for the best vlogging possible, but what you get is largely dependent on your budget and needs. First and most obvious, the camera. Vlogging cannot be done without a camera of some sort, so this is the truly essential accessory needed before you go anywhere else. Do you have a smartphone with a camera? You can use that in a pinch, and many smartphones have wonderful cameras that can pick you up in stunning HD, but we advise you to consider buying a real camera for the job. You have to use the rear camera on your smartphone because the front one only has lower resolution, which looks cheap. This makes it hard to frame the shot. Secondly, you’ll be going through a lot of battery life, and importing the video to your computer or YouTube directly is a little tough with this method. So, what type of camera should you look for? It should hit all or most of these marks:

  • Have a flip screen to help position shots.
  • Wide angle lens (less than 35mm, lower the better).
  • Good autofocus (unless you want to look blurry).
  • Versatile in terms of lighting and conditions.
  • Lightweight, no reason to carry around a heavy camera.

The three cameras that we recommend that fulfill these roles are:

  • Sony WX500
  • Canon G7X Mark II
  • Panasonic LX10

The rest is optional based on your needs, but definitely consider picking some or all of these pieces up. A tripod comes in second, especially if you don’t have anyone to hold the camera for you. This allows you to stabilize and frame shots. Lighting may or may not be important, depending on where you make videos and during what time of day. If it’s in a well-lit room or outside during the day, then you probably don’t need additional lighting. You’ll also want to consider a microphone if your camera isn’t picking up your voice very well (especially if outside since there can be a lot of ambient noise), and a green screen can help if you want to help special effects.

Software

Editing is almost always required when vlogging, unless you want to upload a video full of errors, bloopers and other issues. However, you can choose how advanced you want the software to be, as this also increases the price of the program. If you want something that allows you to import the video and make simple cuts and edits, then use a free or low-cost program. Apple iMovie comes with your Apple computer (if you have one) and is perfect for small edits, plus it’s free. A similar program for Windows is Story Remix. A good offering that is inexpensive but full of tools would be Adobe Premiere Elements. There are automated editing tools and a few extras that make your video editing just a bit easier. On the expensive but very feature-rich side, we have Adobe Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro. You’ll probably want to hold off on these programs initially, unless you plan on creating intense videos.

Mindset

You’ve got the camera, accessories and software, but all of that is easy compared to getting into the right mindset. Vlogging is a mentally challenging barrier to overcome, especially for those who are socially anxious. Whether you’re nervous or a social butterfly, you can do it either way. The first hurdle is figuring out what your vlog will be about. Is it about your life and what happens daily, or do you have a niche or topic that you’re targeting? After that, you have to consider where you’re going. For those who are awkward or nervous, starting indoors will be good to get your feet wet. Get a little experience finding your voice and angles before trying to take on outdoor vlogging. Just remember throughout the whole vlogging experience that this is something you want to try, you have something interesting to share and you want to pursue this through video. Stay strong, keep calm and remember to have fun.

Friends vs. Solo

Are you a one-man vlogging army, doing everything yourself? Or, do you want a friend to help you out here and there? Having someone else help can make a world of difference. They can hold and move the camera, give creative suggestions, help with software and be there to give you encouragement. At the same time, it can be a little embarrassing if you’re nervous and not ready to share this, and you may not be open to suggestions (be open to yourself about this, no reason to lie about it). Friends can share the workload, but it all comes down to whether you’re really open to someone joining in.

Planning

Everything starts with the planning. Where are you going to do the shoot, and during which time? If it’s indoors, then you have to make sure that no one else is making noise and that the lighting is at least adequate. If outdoors, then consider where, when, how much light you have and how many people you’ll have to deal with. You’ll also have to consider where and how to position your camera. If you have a friend helping, then they can hold it for you. If not, then a tripod should be fine. Don’t have a tripod? That’s fine. You can either hold the camera yourself (limits your angles, but it’s a viable option), or you can prop it on a wall or some object in your area. Just watch out for high winds that might make the camera fall over. Another important point, what are you going to talk about? It can be OK to flounder a little during the first few videos as you try to find your voice, but try to quickly decide where you’re going with your videos. Your ideas don’t have to be crazy, but they have to be interesting if you want views.

Conclusion

Getting started on YouTube isn’t hard. In a nutshell, it’s getting the right equipment, planning your shots, potentially getting friends involved, then editing and finally uploading the YouTube. There is a learning curve and some upfront expenses, but nothing too extravagant. If you’re willing to put yourself out there and remember to have fun, then you should have no problem getting this started.

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