Make Your Life Easier with These

Tried and true recommendations from the NAU Social Team

Northern Arizona University
10 min readFeb 23, 2023



InShot is a video editing app I use when making TikTok’s and Instagram Reels for NAU Social. This app allows you to do basic editing like video trimming and speed — but their additional editing features can help you elevate your videos.

With InShot, you can add text, adjust video and audio speed, add filters, and even add fun sound effects. The app is also completely free!

I favor this app not only because of its features, but because it is so user friendly, which allows for quick, enjoyable editing.


VSCO is a photo editing app, mainly used to add filters and textures to your photos.

For my job, I use my phone when covering events. Sometimes my photos come out very “bleh” — but thanks to VSCO’s amazing filters, I can make my photos pop.

Although some features require a paid membership, there are many free filters that I use to get that professional look. After editing your photos VSCO will add them to a personal library, which is great as you will be able to see your previous work!

Quick tip when using VSCO: Never set a filter intensity to 100%, this can make your photos look dated and it can cause details of the photo to be lost.

0.5 lens

0.5 lens on your phone’s camera can help you get some amazing wide-angle shots of an event. If you find yourself too close to a subject or are looking to get a wider shot of a scene, 0.5 will help tremendously. .05 lens also works wonders in an outdoor setting, where you might aim to capture a wider view of your surroundings.

I have used .05 to capture events that take place on a stage, an event that is in a small space, and when I want to add a fun element to group pictures.

Although this is a really fun and helpful feature, be aware that the .05 lens can distort your subjects, especially people. Avoid taking formal portraits of people using the .05 lens!


Adobe Lightroom

My go-to editing software for photos is Adobe Lightroom. I love how I can get very specific with details while I edit, but I also like that I can quickly go through a batch of photos and have them edited within half an hour to an hour.

By far, one of my favorite features is to “pick” or “reject” photos. After covering an event, I typically have a large mix of photos that came out well and photos that are out of focus or just not great.

By using the pick and reject keyboard shortcuts, I can easily separate the good and bad photos in 15–20 minutes.


An app that I have been using more for editing videos on my phone is CapCut. I really like this app because it has some pretty advanced features for an editing app — you can do a lot more than you can in TikTok or Reels.

I like how it links their audio library with TikTok’s so you can easily edit to specific audios or sounds.


A great software for anyone with limited graphic design experience is Canva. Canva is great for making graphics for any kind of story or feed post. It is easy to use and they have plenty of great templates. You can also easily switch between working on your phone or computer, and you can also share projects for others to help work on.


  1. The first tip I have is you don’t have to buy really expensive editing software for your videos to look professional. I use a free app called Splice to edit, trim and clip all of my videos. One thing I really like about Splice is the transitions they offer from one clip to another; they allow the video to flow very smoothly and not look so chopped up.
  2. The second tool I recommend exploring is very simple but also super important, your phone camera. Believe it or not, your phone camera can do some crazy things giving you the ability to capture the perfect shot in real time. I use my phone camera every day and one of my favorite tools is being able to adjust the brightness of the landscape I am taking a photo of to ensure there are no dark shadows or super bright sunny spots. Here is a link for you to explore all the cool things your iPhone camera can do: Link.

3. The third tool I recommend doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone but I do highly recommend a Bluetooth microphone to anyone who is going to be capturing content of people talking.

The microphone allows you to clearly hear the person talking into it while blocking out all the annoying background noise.

I personally use a microphone every time I go around campus interviewing people!

Some tips I have for people who are just starting out creating content are that your videos starting out do not have to be perfect.

If you are a perfectionist like me you want every video to be perfect and expect that the minute you post it will get hundreds of likes and a whole bunch of views. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

But if you stay consistent with your posts, your editing skills will naturally get better with time creating higher quality videos and more engagement to your page.


After working in social media for over a year here are three tips/tools I wish I had known since the beginning.

  1. My first tool is always to leave the live photo feature on, on iPhones. For reels, you can use live photos as a video. It’s super nice to have a photo option and a video option when you are creating content!
  2. My second tool, get a mini Bluetooth microphone! I got one off amazon for 30 bucks. It’s super tiny so I can carry it around easily. It’s Bluetooth so it’s really easy to use and not having to deal with a cord is a plus. A microphone can greatly increase audio quality, especially when you are outside. Overall, these three simple tools helped make things a lot easier!
  3. Third, create a folder on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram to save trends.

When scrolling on social media I am not always in work mode, so when there are trends I think could be useful and might want to use later, I save them to the premade folder. When I am trying to find trends to use for content I can scroll back through the folder I already have made which makes it so much easier.



I love how easy Canva is to create anything. It lets you either make something from either scratch or with an easy template. There so much available on Cnava to let your creativity flow into whatever you want to make. Pro tip: when looking for something under “elements”, try using different keywords to get a whole variety of fun graphics and animated elements!


Picsart is a handy tool to have on your phone when a computer isn’t within reach. There is a whole selection of tools and filters to choose from. You’d be quite surprised with how much stuff is on there and to see what everyone else on the platform has created!

Color Palette Generator

A good color palette/scheme generator is one of the handiest tools I have to thank automation for. Whenever I’m in a rush or can’t bare to choose a color, the generator just does it for me! It helps me so much whenever I’m designing anything for instagram or with a theme.


Phone Camera

The first tool I like using for social media is my trusty iPhone camera. This is a great option for anyone who wants to take high-quality images but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on a professional camera. Its ability to take high-quality photos and videos is all thanks to the new technology in Apple’s iPhones. When shooting video, I prefer to record in 4K at 30 fps or high resolution. You can find this feature, as well as others, in your camera settings!

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

A second tool I like to use for social media, specifically for Instagram photos, is the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom mobile app. What’s great about this app is that it’s free and you can achieve professional-looking photos with its wide range of editing tools. The app allows you to adjust shadows, color temperature, texture, and even optics, just to name a few. My favorite tool is the color mix tool. This allows you to change any color in your photo by adjusting its hue, saturation, and luminance. When editing photos, it’s easy to get carried away and overedit. Remember that less is more. Also, if you’re not sure how to edit photos, look up tutorials online. There are a lot of great videos out there on photo editing!

Sound Sync Feature on TikTok

A third tool I like to use for social media is the “Sound Sync” feature in TikTok. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to anything but especially video editing. This tool saves me so much time when it comes to synchronizing my videos with music. It’s a tool that I’m sure everyone knows about and uses, but sound syncing takes your videos to a whole new level.



One app I like to use if I need to make a story is Canva just because of the many different templates they have to offer. It can make your stories look a lot more aesthetic and appealing to the eye instead of just using instagram to edit a story. My advice to people using Canva for the first time is making sure you know what your theme is, the reason you are making the story and and to stick to that theme so your stories can look more appealing to the audience.

Instagram Reels

Another app I like to use for Instagram Reels is Instagram because it’s easy to use and they have the feature where you can automatically sync the music to the videos which saves a lot of time and energy.

I also recommend thinking about text. Text on the screen can make or break an Instagram Reel — always check to see if the text is big enough or engaging enough to the audience. I also believe choosing the right song for your reel is very important as well so choose carefully and think a lot about the song choice.


Another app I like to use for social media is Pinterest. I use Pinterest if I need ideas or I’m stuck on an idea and need inspiration. Pinterest is there for you to give you all the inspiration you need whether its with photos, captions or ideas for a certain design you want to use. All you need to do is type what you are looking for in the search bar and anything relevant to that will pop up. For example, if you need help with a caption for Valentine’s Day, you can search up “Valentine’s Day captions” or “Valentine’s Day cards”. Definitely recommend Pinterest if you need inspiration for anything!


My top 3 social media tools are CapCut, Tezza, and a portable charger.


Capcut is an app I use to edit all my Reels and TikToks. They have trending templates to start with, but if you prefer to use your own creative mind, you can start from scratch. The app is very easy to use and you can even import audios from videos on your phone or connect your TikTok account to use your saved sounds.


Tezza is a photo editing app that I use for any images I post on both the NAU accounts and my personal accounts. This is a free app, but if you are interested in purchasing a subscription, you will get access to all of the filters they offer. I highly recommend this if you are an avid social media user since the filters will always leave followers asking what app you used.

Portable Charger

Any social media expert knows the importance of a portable charger. I use one by OtterBox, but just about any brand will work.

Using social apps constantly will drain your battery since it involves videos. I also found that using the camera app for an extended period of time will drain my battery so I bring my portable charger anytime I cover an event!



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