How To Upload, Add & Create Videos On TikTok [Beginner’s Guide]


There are two ways you can add new TikTok videos:

  1. upload a video you’ve already created
  2. record a new video from within the app

I’ll show you how to do both in this easy step-by-step guide.

I’ll also cover things like adding video effects to your videos, using photos to create your first video and more.

How to Upload Videos to TikTok

How To Add Video on TikTok
Press the “+” sign to start adding a new video on TikTok.
(Image credit: TikTok)
  1. Open the TikTok app and log in to your TikTok account
  2. Hit the “+” icon at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap the upload button at the bottom right side of the screen.
  4. Choose the video from your camera roll (where your videos are on your phone) that you want to upload.
    • If needed, trim the length of the video by dragging the red rectangle at the beginning and end of your clip.
    • Choose a sound for your video if you want to
    • Add effects at certain points in the video, such as transitions.
    • Add text if you want to.
  5. When you’re happy with your creation, tap “next.”
    • Add a description to your video if you want.
  6. Click “Post” to publish your video.

Here’s how to upload your own TikTok video in a few simple steps:

How to trim video TikTok app
Trim the length of your TikTok video by dragging the red rectangle at the beginning and end of your clip.
(Image credit: TikTok)
Add Caption TikTok Video
You can add a text overlay to your video in different styles.
(Image credit: TikTok)

Now, people can check out your TikTok creation. Later in this article, I’ll explain more about adding effects within the TikTok editor.

How to create a TikTok video from photos

Instead of uploading a single video, you can upload multiple photos and create a video from these.

It’s pretty simple:

  • Instead of choosing a video, choose your favorite photos from your phone’s camera roll or photo gallery.
  • Then click next and start editing the video created.

Alternatively, you can use one of the many templates. Choose Template, select your photos, and everything from transitions to music and sound effects is already done.

How to create a video with the TikTok camera (native content)

Of course, you don’t have to upload videos from your gallery, aka camera roll, to TikTok. You can record videos from within the TikTok app itself.

TikTok camera app video length options
The TikTok camera app video length options.
(Image credit: TikTok)

Here’s how:

  1. Open TikTok
  2. Tap the “+” button at the bottom of the screen
    • Change your camera from selfie mode to front-facing or vice versa if needed.
  3. Set the recording time to either 15s, 60s, or 3m (just above the red button).
  4. Click the Red Record Button to start recording
    • Edit or trim your video, and add effects if needed.
  5. Tap “Next” at the bottom right side of the screen.
    • Add a description if you want to
  6. Click “Post” to publish your video

It’s also possible to combine videos to make them longer. You can read more about how to do that in this illustrated guide.

Of course, if you don’t want to add a description, you can press “Post to Story,” and TikTok will publish your video immediately.

A note on why you should create native content or convert uploaded videos into native content

Generally, videos that are native to the platform perform better than those recorded elsewhere.

However, you can convert content from your phone’s gallery into native content by trimming the video and adding effects to it from within the TikTok app.

Uploading an old video from your camera roll without making changes won’t be a native TikTok video. Use this information to your advantage.

How to add interesting effects to your TikTok videos

How to add effects on TikTok Video
The Effects icon will only appear after you’ve recorded a video, but you can also choose real-time effects while you record. I cover this below.
(Image credit: TikTok)

If you’re a videographer like me, you’re probably used to creating videos and adding music, sound effects, and visual effects in an external video editor like Premiere Pro or Final Cut.

But most people don’t have access to that editing software on their laptop or desktop computer.

Luckily, you don’t need an external editor to do these things to create a nice final video from within TikTok itself.

In short, there are two ways to add effects to your video in the TikTok app: 1) while you record and 2) after your video.

Let’s have a look at both:

How to add effects while recording a video on Tiktok

TikTok users can add interesting effects in real-time while recording videos. It does this by using augmented reality, similar to what we know from Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and similar apps.

TikTok teeth whitening effect
Bon Appetit! TikTok lets you do all kinds of fun stuff. Here, I’ve turned myself into an Italian chef. You can’t even see my yellow coffee teeth because I’ve used the teeth-whitening effect.
(Image credit: TikTok)

To add visual effects while recording, do this:

  1. Hit the “+” button at the bottom of the screen
  2. Tap Effects in the bottom right-left
  3. Choose the effect you want
  4. Hit the red recording button to record your video
  5. Tap to edit the title and subtitle if you want
  6. Click the Next button at the bottom right side of the screen.
  7. Add a caption/description
  8. Click “Post” to publish your video.

You can even add a green screen effect to your TikTok video without owning a green screen yourself.

TikTok Green Screen effect how to
The TikTok green screen background options.
(Image credit: TikTok)

The green screen effect removes your messy room and puts in a background of your choice. It’s chroma keying in real time, and you don’t even have to own a green screen or blue screen. Of course, the key won’t be as clean as when you do chroma keying in After Effects and similar programs.

But it’s a nice effect on your hands when you don’t want to show all the mess you left in your bedroom.

How to add effects to your already recorded videos

It’s also possible to add effects to video content uploaded to the TikTok application from your camera roll.

The first step is to upload your video from your camera roll to TikTok, as I’ve described above. Then, choose what type of visual effect you want on the right side of the screen (Text, Stickers, Effects, Filters).

For this example, we’ll choose “Effects.”

  1. Tap the Effects button to go to the editing page
  2. Swipe and select the effect type you want (visual, motion, sticker, transition, split, or time).
  3. Press play on your video and long press on your effect whenever you want it applied. (Alternatively, you can press the effect to start the video. This is good if you want to apply the effect right from the beginning.)
  4. Press Undo if you missed your timing or didn’t like it.
  5. Click save when you’re satisfied.
  6. Click the Next button (or post to the story)
  7. Add a description
  8. Tap Post to publish your video

Here’s a short description of the TikTok effects:

  • Visual are nice to create an overlay effect (like Old TV) on your video.
  • Motion creates motion graphics on your short clips.
  • Sticker adds a stick to your video.
  • Tiktok transitions are nice if you have a longer video with different cuts and want to inject some life into it. They’re also useful for creating an intro and outro for your videos and great for creating interesting transitions between multiple still photos.
  • Split takes your content and multiplies it.
  • Time you can use to create loops, reverse your video, or slow-motion.

If you choose Filters instead of Effects, you can add filters to your footage, similar to those on Instagram.

Up Next: How to make TikTok videos longer


  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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