Whether you’re recording a video for your business or your other half (winky face), feeling comfortable in front of the camera is essential. I will admit… sitting in front of a camera on your own and jabbering away is a bit of a mental experience… especially if it’s your first time but there’s no doubt, deep down, you know the benefits of doing it and that’s why you’re reading. Some of us even find it a little nerve-wracking at first and the horrible truth is… the camera sees all… and so do our audiences.
A recent study which was published in The Journal of Neuroscience observed that the brain automatically places more value on the opinions of people who appear to be confident. So yes, it’s not just that little blue tick that will peak people’s attention and it’s that type of attention that will fuel your growth.
Confidence isn’t just something you build through practical steps; you can even create the illusion of confidence without actually feeling confident. So without rambling on too much, here’s some simple tips for how to get more confident in front of the camera.
If you’re new to being on camera, it’s a good idea to start small. For example, you could start by recording short 15 second clips. As you get more comfortable, you can gradually work your way up to longer videos. Don’t feel like you have to be a pro right away – everyone has to start somewhere!
Practice, Practice, Practice
One of the best ways to get more comfortable on camera is simply to practice. The more you do it, the more natural it will feel. As they say, practice makes perfect – or at least less awkward! So, grab your camera, hit record, and start practicing. And if you mess up, just keep going! Remember, even the most experienced creators make mistakes (I do too).
The more prepared you are, the less nervous you’ll feel on camera. So, if you’re recording a video, make sure you have a script or at least some talking points prepared. Too often when people try to wing it on camera, they forget a crucial point or wander off topic to the point where they may even forget what they were trying to convey. Even a bullet point list of your most important information is better than nothing. But, for people who are new to being in front of the camera, I recommend starting with a full script and, as you become more comfortable on camera, you can find out what works best for you. And if you’re doing a live video, make sure you know what you’re going to say and have any props or visuals you need ready to go.
This is so goddam important. Do not forget to take care of yourself! Your visual image is as important as your vocal image. Getting in front of the camera can be stressful, so make sure you’re taking care of your mental and physical health. Practice some deep breathing exercises, take a walk outside, or do something else that helps you feel calm and cantered.
Focus on Your Breathing
When you’re feeling nervous or anxious on camera, it’s easy to forget to breathe properly. But deep breathing can actually help you feel more calm and centred. Before you start recording, take a few deep breaths. Your brain will automatically reset itself to a relaxed state which will show on your video.
A lot think this is airy fairy, but visualization is a powerful tool that can help you feel more comfortable and confident on camera. Before you start recording, take a few minutes to visualize yourself doing a smashing job. Imagine yourself speaking confidently and connecting with your audience. The more you visualize success, the more likely it is to become a reality.
If you’re uncomfortable in your clothes, it will show on camera. So, make sure to dress in something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. It’s okay to dress up if that’s what you feel best in, but if you’re more of a sweatpants kind of person, that’s okay too! Just make sure you feel good in whatever you’re wearing.
I admit it. I’m 6’4” and I’m a slouch potato. I don’t mean to be, and I’m certainly better than I was when I was younger. But sometimes I still catch myself falling in on myself. Best thing to do it just imagine your mother’s voice “Stand up straight! Put your shoulders back!”. You’ve heard it before right?”. Yes, mother did truly know what was best. We all look better with good posture. So, whenever you’re on camera, take the advice of your mum’s and remember to stand up straight. Keep your shoulders rolled back and your chin up. You’ll look more confident and, ultimately, feel more confident, too.
I wouldn’t run a whole section of my course on body language if it wasn’t so darn important. How you present yourself physically tells people a lot about what you feel inside. Don’t turn your body away from the camera. Avoid folding your arms for long periods of time. Both of these can make you look closed off or as if you are avoiding open communication. I watch some TikTok ads and videos and I just cringe. Face the camera, use your hands, be animated! I’m a big hand talker and as long as you don’t overdo it you’ll engage rather than distract your audience.
Slow down while talking
If you have some camera anxiety, it’s easy to inadvertently speed up the rate that you’re talking on camera. Oh and that’s also 99% of the rubbish advice you hear about being on video. Do not speed up… slow down! When you’re recording, make the conscious effort to slow down your rate of speech. It will help soothe any anxiety by creating a more manageable rhythm for you, help you and your audience think about what you’re saying and will make you seem more confident about your topic.
Don’t be afraid to inject some humour into your on-camera! Not only will it make you feel more relaxed, but it will also help your audience connect with you. Whether it’s a witty comment or a funny facial expression, a little bit of humour can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable on camera.
Look at the Camera
It can be tempting to look at yourself on the screen while you’re recording, but this can actually make you look less confident and less engaged with your audience. Instead, try to look directly at the camera lens as much as possible. This will help you make eye contact with your viewers and come across as more confident and authentic. That is of course unless you’re filming a podcast!
I bang this into my clients every single day! It’s tempting to try to act or sound like someone else when you’re on camera and that’s maybe what encouraged you to get in front of one. But the truth is, people can tell when you’re not being authentic. So, instead of trying to be someone you’re not, just be yourself! Speak in your own voice, use your own mannerisms, and let your personality shine through. You’ll feel much more comfortable and confident when you’re being true to yourself. And yes, you are interesting!
Keep hydrated 24 hours before filming. You don’t have to overdo it, but drink plenty of water and be sure to have water available with you while you’re shooting. Your voice (and your audience) will thank you.
It may be fun to have an entourage, but having too many people with you could distract you from the job at hand. Other distractions can include anything from social media to naughty texts from your other half. Bottom line: If it will distract you from the job at hand, put it aside until you’re done.
Make sure you have plenty of time
Nothing can make you feel more anxious and unprepared as having to rush around because of a deadline. Whenever possible, plan your shoot with enough time to accommodate issues such as problems with hardware, problems with software, and other things that may be out of your control. Give yourself a lot of time and don’t worry if it takes you a while to complete your video. Having time to do the job right will help you feel more relaxed and more confident.
I talk a lot about analysing your own videos but if you’re really struggling to feel comfortable on camera, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Share your videos with friends or colleagues (not your mum as she always thinks you’re amazing) and ask for their honest opinion. They may be able to offer some helpful tips or insights that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. And remember, constructive criticism is a good thing – it can help you improve and grow as a content creator.
Time to Get Comfortable
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to feeling more comfortable on camera – and maybe even having some fun in the process! So, grab your camera and give it a try. Who knows, you might just discover a hidden talent for vlogging or even become the next big TikToker. The bloopers are always good to look back on too!