Can I Really Shoot It on My iPhone?

By Ken Spera
a person holding an old school video game

Every day we are bombarded with video content created by self-taught DIYers on mobile devices with shoe-string budgets. And you know what? A lot of it is great stuff! This raises the burning question: Can I really DIY the content I need for my clients?

Before we go any further, I’d like to wholeheartedly endorse and encourage hiring a photographer, director, or director of photography for your next project. My career has been dependent on working with these talented people, and you will always get superior results when you hire the right creative help.

The Demand for Social Media Content Never Ends

The proliferation of social media is behind most of the ground swell of DIY video production. Let’s call it like it is. Social media is a ravenous beast. The more content we make, the faster it devours the content. The beast can’t get enough, and the content we do make doesn’t last long. 5,000 likes today. Forgotten tomorrow. With the rapidly increasing demand for video content, it’s no wonder that brands and the agencies that represent them are turning to producing quicker, cheaper, and less refined content.

It’s called survival!

The question remains: Can agencies create brand-worthy content without going the traditional route of hiring a production company and director? As the title of this blog asks: Can you really shoot on your iPhone? I’m going to waffle a little here. Yes and no. It depends. Sometimes. Maybe.

Obviously, it depends on the budget, frequency, and purpose. Too many brands try to accomplish traditional brand building on social media. Running a :30 brand spot on Instagram is going to be about as effective as running a :07 dance trend TikTok video on cable TV. Crossover content does exist, but usually the traditional advertising we all grew up with isn’t going to cut it in the fast-paced, swipeable world of social media.

“Although being able to shoot on your own allows you to generate more content, there are reasons why you shouldn’t produce your own content. The most obvious reason being that you don’t know what you’re doing!”

Should You Attempt Video Production Yourself?

Let’s get back to the production aspect of all this. The stark contrast in production budgets from the “good-old days” and now is startling. Budgets used to be larger, but brands created less work. The cold, hard fact is that brands need more content (especially video) to stay relevant today. Gone are the days of doing a major production once a year to create a campaign that lasts 12 months.

To keep up with demand for more video content, agencies are figuring out how to do it themselves. Having an editor or motion graphics designer on staff is more common than ever. (Redroc has always had one.) The position can be as vital to a creative staff as a writer, art director, or designer. So, how do we give these editors the video content they require to produce the content our clients need? Our phones. Our point-and-shoot cameras. Our apps. Our ingenuity.

All the above.

Where Do I Get Help to Create Content?

Although being able to shoot on your own allows you to generate more content, there are reasons why you shouldn’t produce your own content. The most obvious reason being that you don’t know what you’re doing! Luckily, there has been a surge of apps and software designed to help independent video producers get dynamic and professional results. This goes way beyond the selfie stick (the multi-axis omni-directional shooting extender, invented in 2012). If you are new to creating your own video content, there are an abundant number of software, templates, music, effects, and graphic packages all designed for ease of use and affordability.

There are also more ways to learn how to use all these magical new assets. https://www.creativebloq.com/ is an excellent resource for advice on getting great content and what gear you need to get it. You can also check out the great tips and techniques on the @photos_tricks117 Instagram channel. And never underestimate the power of “YouTube University” when you need advice on shooting and finishing a project.

Subscription-based education is available as well. While it’s more expensive than hunting down advice on your own, it is usually set up in easy-to-search topics. Here are a few good resources:

https://www.linkedin.com/learning/ (formally Linda Learning) and https://www.skillshare.com/

If you are committed to self-producing content but lack ideas, take a tip from Redroc’s own editor and motion graphics specialist, Lexi Vazquez, on sourcing inspiration. It’s simple and smart: when you’re online, watching videos or scrolling through your social media, don’t skip pre-roll videos or swipe past ads. Watch them to get ideas on what works and how to create content for your own clients.


Here are a few Social Posts for our clients featuring images shot with an iPhone 14 Pro.

DIY When You’re Ready

Most successful agencies are using a hybrid approach. Some productions warrant hiring outside help, and some can be handled by their own talented staff. In summary, if you are new to pointing a camera and have no postproduction software or experience, it’s best to call a professional. But, if your goal is to be more self-sufficient with content production, get started on a low-risk social project. Start with a simple idea, then grab your phone and make something!

If you’re looking for help with your social media content or any video project, contact Redroc today for a free creative consultation at [email protected].

Ken Spera is the Executive Creative Director at Redroc Austin. His groundbreaking work on iconic brands like GEICO, Mazda, and Serta have landed him on the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame and The Advertising Icon Hall of Fame.


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