Making videos and appearing in front of a camera is a terrifying experience for many people. It can be incredibly challenging when you’re the face of the company or have an established audience that is there to hear from you. This post will show you how to look and feel comfortable on camera in seven easy steps and help you overcome the fear of being on video.
In a world where audiences expect to see video content, many businesses and content creators feel pressured to deliver even if they don’t feel comfortable doing it. While some people look like they were born to be on video, most people find it stressful and intimidating. Social interactions can already be difficult for shy people, and adding the camera makes things ten times worse.
But not all is lost. Everyone can improve their video skills with a bit of practice.
Why are most people not comfortable on camera?
There are two main reasons people hate seeing themselves on video. The first is because they are not happy with the way they look, and the other is they don’t like the way they sound. Both directly respond to stress from being in uncomfortable situations, like filming yourself.
To start, note what you dislike about seeing yourself on video. Do you freeze up? Does your voice get scratchy or squeaky? Do you move your hands too much, or do you freeze and look uncomfortable? Not having experience with recording videos also contributes to awkwardness. Stress makes our voice change modulation, which is why many people sound unnatural.
Identifying those issues allows you to correct them. Knowing how to address your fears will help you improve how you see yourself on video. With these easy tips, you’ll be rocking video like a boss in no time. Who knows? You might even surprise yourself and find that you like (even love!) being on video.
7 Tips for getting comfortable on camera
You may not be camera shy, but if you’re feeling self-conscious about being on video, then these seven tips will help make your online game rock.
1. Make your phone work for you
The best way to get comfortable on camera is to get in front of it and practice. Luckily, making high-quality videos is now more accessible than ever, thanks to smartphones. You no longer have to rely on others to provide the equipment and watch your performance.
Your phone is yours, and when you film yourself, nobody else has to see it. This means you can experiment with filming yourself while getting comfortable being on camera. Film yourself everywhere. On your couch, in the kitchen, outside or in the car (when you’re not driving) so you can experiment with acoustics and different environments. Don’t be afraid to get silly and have fun. You can always delete it when you’re done.
Looking directly at the phone’s camera (not the screen) will ensure your eyes connect with your viewers and you don’t look awkward. The camera angle is also critical. Looking directly into the camera stops you from looking at the screen and analyzing yourself. When you face the camera correctly, you focus on what you want to say, and your audience will feel like you’re talking to them, not yourself.
2. Dress for success
Wearing flattering clothes for your body type will make you feel better about the way you look. Maybe it’s a specific colour or a pattern that makes you feel good or a particular look. You don’t have to wear a suit to look professional, as long as your clothes make you feel good. That way, you can focus on what you’re saying and not how you look or how that top makes you look.
Your appearance, and your happiness with the way you look, can go a long way to make you more comfortable on camera. Identifying what you don’t like the way you look on video enables you to change it. It could be clothes, make-up or your hair. People will pay less attention to the way you look than you do. Make them focus on what you’re saying instead.
3. Coach your voice
The sound of our voice is universal, but when it comes to hearing ourselves in an actual recording situation, the stress levels can skyrocket. Being nervous can change the pitch of your voice, making you sound breathy, squeaky, or out of breath, which in turn makes you tense even more. That feeling of dread can escalate when you see yourself speaking on camera.
You start using a lot of filler words such as “like,” “uh,” or “ah” all the time. Maybe you release a stream of nervous, repetitive talk that makes the audience uncomfortable. You know it’s distracting, but you can’t help it. That is stress, and the good news is, you can control it.
Relax your face and speak clearly. Projecting your voice will help train your voice. Even professional singers practice warming up their vocal cords before a performance. Do the same. It will loosen up your vocal cords and make your voice stronger—good-bye squeaky, raspy voice. Not sure what to say? Film yourself reading mundane things like ingredients on food items or magazine articles.
4. Set the stage
Lighting is one of the essential elements of a good video. Sound is another. Controlling your settings is also a great way to get more comfortable on camera. If not done correctly, both can contribute to your camera shyness.
Proper lighting will improve the quality of your video. Good sound will enhance your voice and boost your confidence. When speaking to the camera, use natural light (as much as possible) to avoid shadows on your face. It will make you look better and feel more confident. Get a proper mic to ensure your voice is clear and without background noise.
Pick a comfortable seat and set the camera facing you at the right angle. If you need to stand or be further from the camera, mark your spot on the floor with tape to make sure you stay in the frame. This is important for demos or reviews of products you want to show. You don’t want to block the view with your back or, worse, your hands.
5. Plan ahead
Impromptu videos are the best way to get comfortable being on camera, but there are times when planning is necessary. Figure out where you will be filming, what you will say and what you want to wear. If you are very nervous about doing videos, even for practice, schedule a time to do them. Mark it on your calendar.
Plan what you will say before you film. You can use a teleprompter (there is an app for that!), use note cards or memorize the main points of the script. Having a script is a great way to stay on track and focus on what you’re saying rather than how you look and sound.
If you’re doing videos outside, especially in popular spots with many visitors, make sure you are not in the way or pick a less busy time. You don’t want people walking between you and the camera or walking into your shot as you’re recording. You’ll lose your train of thought, and it will be distracting to your viewers. This might make you even more nervous.
6. Eliminate distractions
Distractions can make you feel less comfortable on camera. They are also a reason to make up excuses not to film. If you dread pressing the record button, you might start checking your social media. Get distracted by emails that, for some reason, need your attention at that moment. Finding excuses is easy, so get rid of as many of them as you can.
Eliminate background noise that can distract and drown out your voice. A TV or radio playing in the background, your kids or pets running around, or even an open window can become a distraction.
If there is noise outside you can’t eliminate, move to a different area. Turn off notifications on your phone, so you don’t get distracted. Go to the bathroom ahead of time or have that glass of water handy so you don’t have an excuse to get up. Focus on doing the video and what you want to say.
7. Film in sections
You don’t always have to record everything all at once. It’s better to film in shorter segments with multiple takes. This will enable you to keep all the takes together so you can pick the best version to use later. Pause between takes and mark each section with a clap or a visual cue. You can repeat the same point numerous times while the camera records.
The pauses can help you recompose and keep on track. To avoid distraction, ask a friend or family member for assistance. Having someone you’re comfortable around can be helpful, especially when you have a lot of content to film. They can provide you with direction on where to move and ensure the camera focuses on you, so you don’t have to worry about it. They can also offer reassurance and support.
Are you ready to become comfortable on camera?
Getting comfortable on camera might take some time. Like everything else, you need to practice to get better. Practicing on your own will also prepare you for when there isn’t much time to prepare, and you’re appearing in someone else’s video.
With video content constantly on the rise, connecting with your audience in that format has never been more important be than on your business site or social media. These tips will get you ready for the times when you have to step in front of the camera so you can rock it like a boss.