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How to be confident on camera

If you’re creating video content, here’s how to gain more confidence in front of the camera. Our tips will give you the camera confidence you need for killer videos.

November 6, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

You position yourself in front of the camera.

As you do a final audio check, you get ready to hit record. 

But then -- your body tightens up and you freeze.

Why are you so self-conscious?

All of a sudden, it feels weird being in front of a camera. 

Don’t worry. A lot of people -- confident people, even -- freeze in front of the camera lens when it comes time to hit record.

Even if it’s not their first time making videos. 

Which is why we bring you our tips today on how to be confident on camera. 

Whether you’re creating video content for an online course, membership program, social media posts, or video marketing, our tips today will help you build the camera confidence you need to record great videos for any of your online business ideas

Let’s keep it straightforward and hop right into our tips.

5 ways to be more confident in front of the camera

#1. Look your best

Our first tip for building your camera confidence is to look the part. Dress to impress, so you feel good about yourself when it comes time to hit record. 

If you think this is a shallow detail, it’s one that’s worth indulging. 

Why? Not only will your viewers subconsciously take you more seriously -- given that someone can earn 5% more just by wearing professional clothes -- but you’ll also be more focused.

In fact, a study of 54 participants revealed that wearing more formal clothes encourages global processing in your brain, while casual outfits steer you toward local processing. 

This basically means the way you dress impacts the way you focus on a task.

So, if you want to zero in on a good video performance, dress up rather than down.

It goes without saying that your outfit should fit your brand, so don’t go overboard and dress to the nines if your brand represents something entirely casual.

Take creator Minessa Konecky’s brand, for instance. Her business is all about operating a hustle-free business, so it doesn’t make sense for Minessa to dress in a suit and tie in front of the camera. 

Even still, Minessa exudes confidence when she’s on camera, so it’s more about dressing to feel confident. 

Also, looking your best (and on brand) in front of the camera includes your background, too. 

The entire camera shot counts, so that means both good lighting and good composition. 

To create a scene with good lighting, consider using a decent set of lights. Ring lights, Neewer’s 18-inch ring light and UBeesize’s 8-inch ring light, are two popular options for video creators that should do the trick.

The main takeaway with lighting is to make sure your subject (a.k.a. you facing the camera) is well-lit and to avoid backlighting, which is when your background is brighter than the subject.

Like this backlit shot -- among other common lighting issues -- for example. 

For a solid composition, try using the iconic rule of thirds, which is when you frame your subject along gridlines that break the frame into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. 

Just like in this rule of thirds example, where Jim faces the camera in his (amazing) The Office scenes. 

In sum:

Lean toward dressing up in front of the camera. It’ll help you focus better and feel more confident. Don’t forget your entire shot should also be well-suited with good lighting and composition. 

To complement the visual appeal of your video shot, match it with the right body language -- our next tip.

#2. Leverage your body language

Even if you’re an introvert making your first video, the right body language can make all the difference in building up your camera confidence. 

Your body language is such a big deal that most experts say 70-93% of all communication is non-verbal.

So, for starters, try to be animated when you’re presenting to the camera lens.

While it might feel exaggerated at first, animated body language makes you appear energetic and passionate -- two very key traits, considering 32% of webinar attendees feel the most engaged when the webinar host is energetic and passionate.

Sure, you’re not leading a webinar, but the goal of engaging your audience with your video content is the same.

Check out how YouTube superstar and successful entrepreneur, Vanessa Lau, engages her audience with animated body language. 

Or how renowned coach, Marie Forleo, uses animated body language in her MarieTV video content. 

If you want to further improve your on-camera body language, dig into these non-verbal forms of communication:

  • Vocal tone - check if your inflection is in the right places to appear confident. 
  • Facial expressions - show enthusiasm and positivity; smiling always helps.
  • Hand gestures - done well, these can add energy to your spoken points.
  • Body posture - sitting or standing proudly tall helps you portray confidence.

It’s worth pointing out that among these non-verbal forms of communicating, facial expressions have extra hidden powers. 

Research tells us there are 21 emotions that are expressed in the same way by nearly everyone, so pay close attention to your subtle facial expressions, too.

Beyond facial expressions, though, the main takeaway is to give extra attention to your body language and non-verbal communication when facing the camera. And be animate in your presentation, so you come off as passionate and excited.

The most vibrant presentation won’t go very far if you don’t have the right focus, though. Our next topic will help seal the deal and nicely complement your body language.

#3. Focus on serving your audience members 

Our third camera confidence tip today is to focus on serving your audience, which is the whole point of creating your video content in the first place, right?

Instead of your on-camera nerves, direct your attention to delivering value to your audience. 

This might sound strange, but imagine yourself making eye contact with an audience member.

In the same way that you’d make eye contact with your audience in a public speaking gig, treat your camera lens like a living breathing audience member. Heck, treat your camera lens like it’s your best friend. 

The benefit here is you’ll more authentically deliver your video content.

And, of course, coming off as authentic is pretty important these days -- especially considering the huge 90% of consumers who claim authenticity is important when they decide which brands to like and support.

If you’re looking for an eye contact ratio to follow, word on the street is the ideal amount of eye contact for making an emotional connection is between 60-70%.

ASMR YouTube star, Gibi, for instance, focuses on her audience when she looks into her camera’s eye.

“When I catch the camera's eye, I find myself smiling because . . . I connect with my community even when I'm alone in a room.”

For someone who’s racked up over 2.8 million YouTube subscribers in just a few short years, I’d say it’s safe to follow Gibi’s lead.

Check out how Gibi gets up close and personal with her viewers by connecting with the community through her camera lens. 

Sure, the very nature of ASMR is fit for treating the camera lens like an audience member, but you can definitely glean some insights on how she makes eye contact when making videos. 

The point here is, when you focus on delivering your video content to your specific audience, it puts you in the right mindset of simply making videos to benefit your audience. A side effect is being confident. 

Plus, you’ll come off as more authentic when delivering your video content. 

Not to say that’s all it takes for a confident presentation. Having a plan makes a world of difference, too.

#4. Thoroughly plan out your video content

Whether you use bullet points to stay on track or read from a fleshed-out script on your teleprompter of choice, having a clear plan mapped out for your video content is a big deal. 

If you skip out on this step, it might mean overshooting footage and tacking on hours of extra editing time to cut out all the video content you don’t want to keep. 

Pro video editor and founder of Primal Video, Justin Brown, recommends being super conscious of what you’re shooting and to think about how it aligns with the goal of your video to avoid overshooting.

(Notice how he’s making eye contact with “us”?)

If you want to use a script, consider scriptwriting like you're explaining your topic to a friend, using simple language, and avoiding jargon.

Jargon tends to kill off people’s interest, according to one study, even if it’s on topics like science and politics, where jargon needs to be defined. 

So, shoot for somewhere between grade level 6 and grade level 8 when speaking in your videos, which is what the bulk of great speakers do across a range of sectors. 

Really. We’re talking big public figures, from Taylor Swift to Katie Couric, who speak within this grade level range, so it’s worth following suit.

If you’re someone who’s more for bullet points, try outlining your video content, so there’s a clear path with three to four key points detailed out. 

When Buffer started using video outlines with three to four key points, it boosted their watch time by 61%

Whether you use a script or bullet points, if you’re looking for an outlining structure to follow, try using the HICC structure:

  • H (hook) - Luring in your audience with something attention-grabbing within the first few seconds
  • I (intro) - Briefly noting what you’ll cover in the video and what your viewers will walk away with
  • C (content) - Your main video content, which should cover the main points
  • C (call-to-action) - Where your viewers should go next and exactly how to get there

The HICC video structure (plus an added bonus before the call-to-action) is what Justin Brown follows to attract over 724,000 YouTube subscribers.

An outline structure that’s worth following for making videos, no?

The gist of it is this:

Map out what you’re going to say on camera well before you hit record. A clear outline with bullet points and/or a script written in plain language helps you stick to your goal and deliver your content with camera confidence. 

Plus, you avoid adding extra editing time.

Of course, if you find yourself jumbling over your words every time you hit record, it doesn’t hurt to practice a bit more beforehand -- our final tip today.

#5. Practice (a lot) 

While our previous four tips are super helpful in building your camera confidence, there’s no real magic to acing your demeanor in front of the camera, other than to immerse yourself in it through repetition and practice. 

Like any skill that you develop, the more you do it, study it, and practice it, the better you’ll become. 

You have plenty of options when it comes to practicing how to be more confident in front of the camera. 

For one, you can practice in front of a mirror. Just practice your video content script or comb through your bullet points and check yourself out as you present to yourself. 

Then, of course, improve and tweak as you see fit.

Another option is to watch pre-recorded video footage of yourself and look for things to improve. 

This is exactly what Nate from Channel Makers did after watching footage of himself on camera for a straight five hours

Nate took a plethora of notes, including things he’d like to fix, but also things he did well in front of the camera, all of which improved his camera confidence.

If you’re doing your own video production and making your own cuts, you’ll review your recorded footage anyway as you edit your video content.

(Sidenote: If you’re doing your own video editing, you might find these expert video editing tips handy.)

Watching pre-recorded videos of yourself comes with a fair warning, though. It’s best to go into it with some self-compassion, and a big effort in avoiding the pitfalls of perfectionism

Why? As it is, your brain is literally not used to watching your non-mirrored self, so you’ll naturally prefer to see a reversed facial image of yourself. 

A classic University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study found that people prefer to see their mirrored selves, since a mirror version of you is how you’re used to seeing yourself, so don’t pay attention to the aversion to the subtly unfamiliar version of yourself on camera. 

Another way to practice your on-camera chops is to watch other people on camera. Preferably the people that you admire and want to mimic. 

TED Talks are a great source for charismatic on-camera -- and on-stage -- studs. 

A few of my favorites are:

While these public speakers might not be directly facing, or talking into, the camera, there’s definitely something to learn from their presence on stage, speaking cadence, and their body language.  

Of course, you can also check out online videos and other YouTube videos of great speakers that you want to mimic. 

The point is, the more you learn about -- and practice -- being in front of the camera, the more you’ll hone your camera confidence. 

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Grow your business with more camera confidence

There are probably countless ways that improving your camera confidence will improve your marketing effort. 

From short videos on social media to extensive explainer videos, more camera confidence can only help your bottom line. 

Follow our five tips to boost your confidence in front of the camera:

  • #1. For better focus, lean toward dressing up in your video recording sessions. Couple that with good lighting and good composition, and you (and your scene) will exude confidence. 
  • #2. Be mindful of your body language when in front of the camera. Try to be (authentically) animated, energetic, and passionate to capture your audience’s interest.
  • #3. Clearly outline your video content using bullet points or a fleshed-out script well before you hit record. Just be sure to stick to a few key points that you explain in plain language. 
  • #4. Focus on what you’re delivering and who you’re delivering your video content to, even if it means pretending to make eye contact with an audience member inside your camera lens.
  • #5. Practice makes perfect, or, at least, close to it. The more you immerse yourself in recording video content, watching pre-recorded footage of yourself, and studying the greats, the better you’ll be in front of a camera.

Here’s to growing your business with better videos and more camera confidence.

P.S. Looking for a reliable place to host your videos -- and grow your business -- without restrictions? You can streamline everything in your online business using this 14-day no-obligation Podia trial.

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