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How to capture great social media content

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Will Tee Yang, a LA based photographer, videographer, and vibrant content creator, almost didn’t become a photographer. Naturally, because his dad was a photographer, Yang thought cameras were lame — and anything your dad likes is inherently a little less cool when you’re a kid. As he got older, Yang developed more respect for his father’s work, and, as it turns out, he had a knack for photography himself. Primarily self-taught, Yang has shot lifestyle, fashion, and food, and over the years he has learned a thing or two about using cameras for both photography and video. His first video camera was a Canon EOS Rebel T2i because, Yang says, Canon cameras are especially good for people who shoot still and video.

Multifaceted content creators should be ready for anything, from making the next YouTube hit to sharing the perfect Instagram post. Yang constantly tries new cameras to see what works best for him, and he recently picked up the Canon EOS 80D to test its new features. Here are his tips for capturing great shots and video.

All photos shot with Canon EOS 80D by Will Tee Yang

Content is King

Whether it's a wedding shoot or an off-the-cuff video shoot, there is one rule of thumb for all content creators: Don't forget about the narrative, or people won't make it to the end of your piece. The quality of the footage has to be clear and captivating, but these days, people open YouTube on their phones. Make sure your subject is in-focus and your shot is well-lit, but don't forget to put your energy into producing a story or moment that catches and holds viewers' attention. "Timing is really important when it comes to content," Yang says. "It has to be the right time. It has to be relevant so that people can relate to it."

Know Your Subject

Yang shoots a variety of subjects, but his favorite to work with are people. For one thing, it allows him the opportunity to meet a variety of new people and work with plenty of ambitious talent. Each time he captures a person, he learns something about that individual specifically: There's no way to hide on either side of the camera. "It's really intimate," Yang says. When he's shooting on his own time, Yang likes to take a whole day to work with one subject. He learns through their attitude and body language what movement and which angles will work best on film.

Shoot in RAW

From a more technical perspective, Yang advises young photographers to shoot in RAW, to keep the information uncompressed and allow for more editing flexibility later. There's a lot of work you can do to set yourself up for success before the editing stage; Yang relies on different camera features on set to make his life easier in post-production. With the Canon EOS 80D, for example, Yang uses the vari-angle touchscreen to frame his shots quickly and not miss a critical moment.

Love Your Lens

Yang switches his lenses up depending on what he's shooting. A professional food shot requires a macro lens such as the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM that catches every detail, but for the versatile content creator, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens covers everything you need. "It's a jack-of-all-trade lens," Yang summarizes. Its Nano USM technology enables super quick, responsive focus while retaining high image quality and works very well with the Dual Pixel Autofocus in the EOS 80D to provide high-performance tracking when capturing video and stills. Whatever your particular subject, experiment with different lenses to get the best possible shot -€" whether it's ultra-wide or standard zoom.

Play With Features

When Yang tested out the Time-Lapse Movie Mode on the Canon EOS 80D, he was impressed with the result. It's not a capability he would typically use or seek out, but now he's likely to add it to his repertoire. "It's very easy and effortless to set up, and the result is smooth," Yang acknowledges, proving that even industry pros can always learn something new.


Get more tips of how to make viral content from Youtuber ScottDW, with the help of his Canon EOS 80D video creator kit.

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