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Look Like a Natural on Camera | Top 7 Tips for Awesome Video Interviews

10 July 2023

Lights, camera, action! The mere thought of being in front of a camera can be nerve-wracking for many of us. Camera anxiety and the fear of looking awkward can hinder our ability to effectively convey our message or connect with an audience.

But fear not! In this article, we will unlock the secrets to help you look natural and confident on camera, leaving your worries behind.

1. Be Yourself, Energetically

When the camera starts rolling, it’s crucial to embrace your true self. Don’t put on an act or try to be someone you’re not. Audiences connect with genuine personalities. Embrace your quirks, unique expressions, and natural speaking style. Remember, authenticity is key to building trust and connecting with your viewers. Let your passion for the topic shine through your eyes and voice. Speak with conviction and genuine enthusiasm, just like you would in a casual conversation with a friend.

man jumping on the middle of the street during daytime

Remember that on camera, because you are not embodied with your audience, there will be less “presence”. This is why some video interviews seem “dead” or dull.

Video has a tendency to feel less alive because the person you’re watching is not in the same room as you. So, we should try to be our most energetic selves as we speak to the camera with genuine enthusiasm. This also means that you should be well-rested before your interview. Try to get a good night’s sleep before and have breakfast so you’re at your best. Sometimes being energetic on camera feels like too much, but when you see it afterward, it looks just right. It also helps to keep your audience engaged if it is clear that you’re excited about what you’re talking about!

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become in front of the camera. Write out some of the main points you want to convey. Writing it out helps you to more effectively organize it in your brain. Another thing you can do is to set your phone on a stand and record yourself rehearsing what you’re going to say and then review the footage to identify areas for improvement. Practice speaking clearly, maintaining eye contact with the lens, and controlling nervous habits such as fidgeting or excessive hand gestures. Also, having a friend look at it and give you honest feedback can help you see things you miss.

Set aside dedicated practice sessions where you experiment with different camera angles, lighting, and delivery styles. Remember, practice makes progress!

3. Master Your Body Language

Body language speaks volumes on camera. Stand or sit tall, maintaining good posture. Try not to slouch. Relax your shoulders and avoid crossing your arms, which can create a closed-off impression. Be mindful of your facial expressions and gestures, ensuring they align with the tone and message you want to convey. Sometimes it’s helpful before your interview to get up and walk around a bit or just shake off any nervous energy you might have between filming takes.

If you’re discussing an exciting topic, let your smile and animated gestures reflect your enthusiasm. If addressing a serious subject, maintain a calm and composed demeanour to convey credibility.

4. Connect with Your Audience

Staring into the lens of a camera can feel daunting. Especially if there are big lights and camera equipment around, it can make us feel self-conscious. This is why it is important to get as comfortable as you can with the setting and the people you’ll be filming with. Take some time before the interview to chit chat as it will help to put you at ease.

Once you begin filming, imagine you’re having a conversation with a friend. Connect with your audience through the camera lens, as if you’re speaking directly to them. Maintain eye contact with the lens (or with your interviewer, depending on the style of the video) and project warmth and approachability.

Instead of looking at the camera as an intimidating object, visualize your viewers on the other side and speak as if you’re having a one-on-one conversation with them.

5. Relaxation Techniques

Managing anxiety and nervousness is crucial for looking natural on camera. Incorporate deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques before and during your recording sessions. This will help calm your nerves and ensure a more relaxed and natural on-camera presence.

Take a few deep breaths, inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Visualize releasing any tension as you exhale, allowing your body and mind to relax. Ensure that you have plenty of cushion time around your filming session so you don’t feel pressed for time and add extra stress. Show up early and use the extra time to help yourself get relaxed and familiar with your surroundings and the people you’ll be interacting with. If you’re late or just on time, it’s more likely that you’ll feel flustered and in a hurry. And don’t forget, prayer is a great way to give your anxieties to God. So, set aside some time to pray, either personally or with someone.

6. Dress for Confidence

Choose outfits that make you feel comfortable, confident, and aligned with the purpose of your video. Dress appropriately for the occasion, considering factors like your audience, branding, and the tone of your message. When you feel good about what you’re wearing, it positively impacts your on-camera presence. If you’re recording a professional video, opt for attire that matches your brand’s style and conveys credibility. For a more casual vlog, choose comfortable yet presentable clothing that reflects your personality.

Clothing to avoid

woman in gray long sleeve shirt and blue denim jeans sitting on green wooden bench

Avoid any clothing with fine, small, repeating patterns or textures on it, since that can cause issues on video. Big patterns or solid, flat colours work best. Also, avoid wearing white tops as that makes it harder for your videographer to balance the exposure (brightness) of the video for your face and your top. Mid-tones are better on camera, especially when using professional lighting (which can be quite bright). If your videographer is using a lavalier mic (that will be pinned to your top), opt for a button-up top, since that will make attaching and hiding the mic easier. Typically, it’s best not to wear a hat for an interview, since the shadow of the brim can hide your eyes—which are important for people to connect with you.

7. Eliminate Filler Words: Pause, Think, Speak

One common pitfall when speaking on camera is relying on filler words like “um,” “uh,” or “like” when we’re gathering our thoughts. These fillers can make us appear less confident and undermine the natural flow of our speech. The key is to replace them with purposeful pauses.

Instead of saying “um” while thinking, take a brief pause.

Use that moment to gather your thoughts, organize your ideas, and then deliver your response with clarity and confidence. The power of a purposeful pause cannot be overstated—it gives you time to reflect and respond thoughtfully, enhancing your overall presence on camera.

Remember, it’s okay to take brief pauses during your recording. It shows that you’re considering your words and ensures that what you say carries weight and meaning. Don’t worry about awkward silences (they usually aren’t as long or awkward as we think). A good video editor will be able to remove any unnecessary silences—so it’s better to pause and think instead of saying a lot of “umms”. By consciously eliminating filler words and replacing them with purposeful pauses, you’ll come across as more thoughtful and composed, further enhancing your on-camera performance.

Overcoming camera anxiety and looking natural on camera is a journey that requires practice and confidence in your unique qualities. Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes along the way—learning and growing is part of the process. Embrace your authentic self, practice diligently, and connect genuinely with your audience. With these tips, you’re well on your way to becoming a natural in front of the camera. So go ahead, lights, camera, and shine!

If you’re looking for a professional videographer who can help coach you through the process to get the best performance on camera, then reach out to us today. We’d love to work with you on your next video project!

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