Video Tips

6 Tips for Shooting Vertical Videos

Megan O'Neill


You can easily create vertical videos for Instagram Stories for free in Animoto. Get started with one of our many templates or start from scratch. We also have a free iOS app for Instagram Story video creation, Animoto: Social Video Editor.

To help you get started, we thought we’d share some tips for shooting and capturing the right photos and video clips for a vertical video

Until pretty recently, vertical video was actually frowned upon! Landscape video players were the norm, from television screens to YouTube. So vertical footage would display awkwardly and only take up a small space in the center of the player. But with the rise of Instagram Stories, and mobile-first video consumption, vertical video is becoming more and more popular.

We asked our Chief Video Officer, Sally Sargood, to share a few tips for creating videos for the vertical Stories or IGTV format. Sally’s team creates all of Animoto’s social videos, including videos for Instagram Stories and IGTV.

1. Shoot specifically for vertical

If you’re planning to share content in multiple formats—landscape for YouTube, square for Facebook, and vertical for IG Stories—it can be tempting to just shoot once in landscape and crop. However, the best results will come from turning your camera upright and shooting vertical footage for the vertical format. This’ll give you more control over what appears on screen and allow you to fill up the entire frame, for a better viewing experience.

If you’re working with square or landscape videos you’ve already shot in the past, try using a layout where the video is sized down so it fully displays. You can add text above and below the video, if you’d like.

2. Capture a variety of shots

The vertical format is up close and personal, and you simply can’t fit as much into the screen as you can with a landscape shot. It’s important to frame your shots in a way that’ll hold the viewer’s attention and keep them engaged. But also, it’s important to gather a variety of shots to tell the full story.

When approaching your shoot, ask yourself what are the most important things for the viewer to take away. Gather footage of all those elements. When edited together, they’ll tell the overall story. In this example, a variety of shots are used to tell the full story of a fitness class.


3. Fill the frame with tall subjects

Take advantage of vertical for featuring tall images. Things like a single person talking fit nicely in the frame. If your product is taller than it is wide, embrace it! For instance, a skinny bottle on a landscape screen may get lost, but on a vertical screen it fills the screen.

Vertical is also great for fashion shots, since a standing model fits nicely in the frame. You can see this in action in the example below where we've used our Collection Launch template.


4. Use negative space or layouts for wide subjects

If you’re trying to showcase something that’s wider than it is tall, not to worry! There are a couple techniques you can use to make your subject look great in the vertical video frame.

The first is using negative space—placing a landscape image within the vertical frame and leaving extra room. The extra room can be filled with text, an Instagram Story sticker, or just left blank for a clean look.


You can also try using a layout to feature multiple landscape images at once. Learn more about how to use multiple photos in your vertical videos using the layouts. Check out the following gif to see several layouts in action.


5. Crop to showcase details

A nice tip for both tall and wide subjects is to shoot some close-up shots that show off details. The vertical frame offers a nice opportunity to get up close and personal. Crop to showcase enticing features of a product, show off fabrics, show off the little elements of a location that wouldn’t ordinarily be noticed in wide landscape shots.

Our Sneak Peek template is a nice example of how focusing on the details can tell an engaging story.