Top Tips for Feeling Confident on Camera
We all know that we’re our own biggest critics—and when it comes to being on camera, that critical voice can be amplified. We all want to be able to communicate to our clients and customers effectively, and video is a key tool in helping you stay connected.
Over the years at Sore Thumb, we’ve learned a trick or two for coaching clients for video—here’s our top tips on how to feel (and look!) your best:
Plan Your Content
Whether you’re filming on your own or with a crew, it’s important to plan what you’re going to say prior to getting in front of the camera. When the pressure is on, sometimes we’re left drawing a blank while staring down the lens.
In order to set yourself up for success, make sure that you’ve planned out what you’d like to say to a level of detail that makes you feel comfortable. This could mean everything from sketching a rough outline with key talking points, looking over the questions your interviewer has sent in advance, or writing out in detail the content you would like to communicate ahead of time.
Our one caveat: do NOT write and memorize a script. It’s always evident to the viewer when they’re seeing something memorized, and because we’re not actors, it usually comes across looking a bit stiff and inauthentic. Make sure you’re prepared, but then speak from the heart! It will make all the difference.
Optimize Your Set Up
If you know that you’re going to be nervous and you have the flexibility, try to optimize your filming set up to suit your needs. We find that it can be a LOT easier to talk freely if you’re filming in an interview style, directing your answers to a person as opposed to the camera. If you can, have someone positioned just slightly to the side of the camera prompting you with questions and have a discussion with them. That way, you can trick yourself into forgetting the camera is there and edit out the interviewer’s questions later to create a seamless video.
Don’t Edit Yourself
This is a big one, no matter where you’re filming! It’s super important that while you’re rolling, you try not to edit yourself as you’re speaking. This means DON’T:
- Stop in the middle of sentence because you didn’t say it perfectly
- Finish a sentence by brushing it off with a “or whatever, I don’t know!”
- Trail off before you finish an idea
Even if you think the thought has headed in an unintended direction, finish it, pause, and then take it again. You never know what the editor might find useful and as long as it’s not “live”; tangents and errors can always be edited out. But, if you’re too quick to cut something short, any “gold nuggets” you might have said before stopping will likely not be usable!
Let It Go
Lastly, it’s important to try and let go. We all judge ourselves so harshly and can be quick to pick out things about our appearance, speech, or content that we think is unusable. Remember that those behind the camera are there to make you look your best and want to work with you to make sure you’re comfortable.
If you know that there are things that really bother you, make sure that the people filming you know in advance what to look out for. For example, if you hate when your bangs fall into your face on the left side, make sure the producer knows and can stop and restart the filming if that should happen.
A good way to know how you’ll feel about yourself on camera is to give it a try in the mirror. Once you’ve practiced a few times there, you won’t be as shocked when you see yourself on screen.
As with all things, it gets easier over time! So, don’t be discouraged if you’re not thrilled about your first try. The important thing to remember, is that at the end of the day, you’re on camera to communicate with your audience.
As long as you’re speaking from the heart, you can’t go wrong.
Hannah Martin is the Executive Producer at Sore Thumb—a digital marketing agency that crafts content strategies, videos and social media campaigns to help growing businesses look their best online.