How To Get Comfortable In Front Of A Camera

Trish McCabe Rawls  |  May 12, 2021

There are two key elements in marketing today that you just CANNOT ignore. The first is video. If you’re not using video to promote your business at this point, you are living under a rock. (Sorry. That’s me being perfectly blunt, but you have got to start weaving video into your marketing strategy.) The second is that marketing today is primarily built upon relationships with your customers (or potential customers), so it's inevitable that someone in your organization will need to get comfortable in front of a camera — maybe several people. Your audience wants to get to know you and see behind the curtain. If you run a healthcare system, they might be physicians and staff. If you run a school, they might be teachers. If you run a museum, they might be historians or docents. While the days of beautifully produced broadcast commercials are not dead, they are balanced with more simply produced videos featuring a relatable persona — especially given the rise and prominence of social media. 

In your quest to find willing "talent" within your organization, you may encounter many people holding on tightly to the door jambs while being pushed into the world of video. It’s totally natural. And very common. In fact, a Harvard Business Review article (https://hbr.org/2019/09/to-overcome-your-fear-of-public-speaking-stop-thinking-about-yourself) talks about it stemming from humans’ fear of being watched which is actually super interesting, but I’ll stick to my mission here. 

I wanted to give you some quick tips on getting comfortable in front of a camera... for either you or anyone in your organization that might find themselves on that side of the lens on occasion.

1. Set Yourself Up For Success

First rule? Make yourself look good! Use nice lighting. Don’t sit in front of a window and look totally backlit. Buy a ring light that you can mount in front of you if needed. Arrange the space behind you and make it look presentable. Yes, this means get rid of anything that doesn’t reflect the tone or message you want to send. And for goodness sake, use a flattering angle. If you’re using a laptop, mount it higher so we’re not looking up your nose.
 

Woman setting angle of phone with ring light

2. Practice

As rudimentary as it may seem, I feel the need to point this out. Just practice. See what you look like on camera and adjust until you feel good about it. Practice being comfortable. The more times you see yourself on camera, the more you’ll get used to it. Plus, it’s important to practice what you want to say out loud, not simply in your head. Send practice videos to co-workers or friends you trust to give you honest feedback. (Tip: Don’t over-rehearse your message or it will sound robotic. Practice for comfort, not perfection.)

3. Be YOU.

Be authentic with your clothing and the way you present yourself. It’s all part of your brand. Don’t try and be someone you’re not, or try to alter who you are because you think your audience wants you to look/be/talk/act a certain way. Be yourself.

4. Relax.

Take a deep breath. Talk slower than you normally would and annunciate. Remember it’s not LIVE, so there’s really no reason to be nervous because nobody has to see what you are recording unless YOU choose to publish it. (On that note, I would suggest NOT doing any Facebook LIVE sessions until you’re comfortable going there.)

5. Focus on the purpose.

Remember why you’re doing this. It’s about the message, not you. Are you recording videos to gain more followers? To help customers understand your product or mission? To help employees come on board? There could be a million reasons. Focus on that.

Business Video for Marketing

6. Editing is magic!

Whether you’re making your own quick videos with your phone or have an outside company making videos for you, just keep in mind you can edit out whatever you don’t want. Finding a good editor is key. Play around with some of the editing apps that are available. 

7. Mistakes make you more relatable.

If you get hung up on a word or say “um” a few times”, don’t sweat it. This makes you human. In general, people can’t relate to other people that are “perfect”, so embrace your quirky mistakes. 

8. Be your own critic.

If #7 gets out of hand, you may need to rein yourself in. Saying “um” occasionally is fine, but if you find yourself saying “um” several times in every sentence, then set a goal to work on that. It will take practice. 

9. Prepare but don’t memorize.

Use a bullet-point list mounted near the camera lens if you need reminders about what you want to say, but don’t read from a script (unless it is a higher production value video with a teleprompter). Also, don’t try to record it all in one sitting. For example, you can record your introduction in several different ways and then pick your favorite. (See #6 about editing!)

10. Don’t wait for perfection.

This is another thing I simply have to say. It’s kind of like “if you wait until you can afford to have kids, you’ll never have them.” It will never be perfect. And honestly, that’s not what you want. (See #7) 

11. Pay attention to your body.

I’m not talking about the butterflies and self-conscious sweat that forms underneath your suit and tie. Your audience won't see that... hopefully. I’m talking about body language. Try and have good posture. Smile and look directly at the camera. Don’t be afraid to be expressive with your face and use your hands when you talk.

12. Just do it!

To steal a well-worn phrase from Nike, just do it. The only way you will get comfortable in front of a camera is to start getting in front of a camera. You have a camera on your smartphone, so give it a go. Try it. Now. You don’t even have to tell anyone. But you’ll be one step closer to crushing this whole video thing. 

If you'd rather have someone guide you through the process and get you going on a video strategy, Creative Noggin has full in-house videography capabilities. We also have relationships with production companies to collaborate and create more in-depth, higher production value broadcast. To check out some of our video work, visit our YouTube Channel.

© 2021 Creative Noggin. All rights reserved.
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