How to use a DSLR

How to use a DSLR

We want to help you get rolling with a high-quality self-made video to promote your private practice. And if you’re going to upgrade past using your iPhone, we suggest purchasing a DSLR. The first thing you’ll encounter when you consider making this upgrade is a mountain of research and decisions. Since we’ve been in that place before, we want to spell out a few tips and make it simple for you.  We’re going to show you what equipment you need and how to use it.
Here’s 3 quick steps to using a DSLR for video:

1. Ask a friend to help you

It’s possible to film yourself, but take it from us – you don’t want to.  Concentrating on what you’re trying to say while monitoring the technical side of things will throw your brain into knots. So ask a friend to come and help you. Let them sit behind the camera and make sure everything is flowing smoothly.

2. Make sure you have the right equipment

We put together a shopping list for you, based on a conservative budget. Altogether, this package should cost you about $1400-1800, and it’s the equipment we suggest if you’re going to create a noticeable upgrade from shooting video with your iPhone.

  • TRIPOD. Keep your camera steady. We’ve used this tripod and we’ve never had an issue.

AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag

  • MICROPHONE. Use a lavalier microphone to get crisp sound. Quality sound is more important than quality video. We’ve used this one below because it plugs right into your iPhone. Plug this lavalier into your phone, open the companion Rode app, and record the sound while you’re recording video. You can stitch them together when you edit the video.

Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for iPhone and Smartphones

  • CAMERA. This might be the most asked-for suggestion: which camera do I buy? Here’s a few we recommend. Each of these cameras is a significant step above your iPhone, and we’ve used each of them to create videos professionally. We recommend either the Canon 70D or 80D because they have great live autofocus and a flip-around screen. They also capture beautiful video.

Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera Body (Black)

Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

  • LENS. The lens you put in front of your camera is more important than the camera body itself (here’s a funny video to show you why). We like using a 50mm prime lens (that means no zooming) because it’s crisp, clear, has a great bokeh (that blurriness you see in the background of high-quality pictures and video), and it’s a great price for what you’re getting. Here are 2 lenses I’ve used, and I love them both. The cheaper one doesn’t pick up shadows and highlights as well as the nicer one, but both are going to give you great picture quality.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard Lens for Canon SLR Cameras – Fixed

3. Get Rolling

  1. Find a good spot to shoot. Look for a place with bright, natural indirect light like next to a big window in your office. There shouldn’t be any distracting objects in the background or foreground. Make sure the ambient noise (like busy traffic or a loud air conditioning system) is reduced as much as possible.
  2. Turn the camera ON. Set it to video mode.
  3. Set the frame size to 1920×1080 and the frame rate to 24 frames per second (24fps).
  4. Fix the camera to a tripod and frame your shot. Arrange yourself in the frame so that you are visible from the waste up and your eyes are about a third of the way from the top of the frame.
  5. Adjust the f-stop to between 2.5 – 3.2 to get the background nice and blurry (photographers call this bokeh). Place the exposure time at 50-100 (ideally 50). Make sure the ISO is as low as possible while still making sure the exposure is balanced (at or just above the 0 on that number line).
  6. Plug your lavalier microphone into the your phone and attach the mic to your shirt about 6 inches below your collar bone. Put the phone behind you, out of view of the camera. Make a test recording and play it back to make sure the microphone is working.
  7. Take a deep breath, relax, look directly into the camera and get ready to speak clearly and directly to your ideal client that will be watching the video.
  8. Press the record button (usually a button with a red dot) and do your first take!
  9. Get 3 to 4 decent takes before you call it a day.
  10. Upload your video to your computer. Use a program like iMovie, Adobe Premiere Pro, or Final Cut Pro to edit your video (another post in itself!)


When you’re happy with your video, upload the file onto You can use the URL of this video to create an email blast, link it to your online therapy profile, or even embed the video front-and-center on your website. Then you can upload the file directly to your professional Facebook page, share it on your personal page, and create an ad directed toward your ideal clients!



You’re done!
We realize this article deserves to be 3 times as long! Using a DSLR for private practice takes practice and skill. Our hope is to start here by pointing you in the right direction. If you run into any issues, please don’t hesitate to schedule a call with us. We’re here to help you connect with ideal clients and grow your practice.

Let us take the headache out of the filming process. Check out what we can offer you that no-one else can:


Don’t know what to say in your video? Start here by downloading your free video marketing eBook. We’ll help you create an engaging and empathic script to connect you with ideal clients.