The other day I was asked this question about how to be comfortable on camera:
“How do I avoid sharing pictures of myself in videos?”
This person was referring to Instagram Story videos, so if you’ve struggled with not wanting to show up in videos for your business on Instagram Stories, you’re in the right place because today’s post is all about how to get comfortable on camera…
I get that showing up on camera is not everyone’s favorite thing to do.
In fact, it’s not my first choice either.
I studied broadcasting in school, but what I found as a student was that I actually preferred to be behind the camera…
I prefer to be the videographer, the producer, the director.
I’m an introvert at heart, so it’s just more of my comfort zone.
It’s not my natural state to be performing on camera, so if you can relate to that at all, know that I get it.
In this post I’m going to share my best tips to help you slowly ease into this feeling of being okay on camera, because the truth is, being on video for your business does wonders and I want your business to grow.
The strategies I’m sharing with you today have worked for me personally over the last 10 years, which is about the time when I started studying broadcast journalism and really started to hone in on my camera skills…
Yes, that’s me ⬇️
Here are my best tips for how to be comfortable on camera…
Get in the Right Mindset
First of all, I want to mention that it is not natural to be speaking to a phone or a camera, which is essentially just metal and glass.
It’s not a natural thing to be able to do this right away, but the good news is it’s kind of like exercising…
The more you do it, the easier it becomes because you are flexing and growing that muscle. So keep that in mind.
For most people, being on camera is stepping outside of your comfort zone…
And when we step outside of our comfort zone, our reptilian brain is usually shouting, No, no, no, don’t do it!
Our reptilian brain is there to keep us alive.
It’s a survival mechanism, but it doesn’t really know that we’re not actually going into true danger by being on camera.
So in those moments when I’m getting super nervous or worked up, I always stop and ask myself, What’s the worst thing that could happen right now?
Well, if I’m being truthful, the worst thing that could happen to me is that I would die, right?
But am I going to die by appearing on camera right now?
Chances are – no.
I know it’s a little morbid, but honestly, it keeps me going because it allows me to put the risk of showing up on camera into perspective, knowing that worst case scenario is not going to happen and I am going to get through this.
You and I are going to survive showing up on camera, no matter how nervous we feel.
Start a Daily Video Diary
Now, if you’re totally brand new to talking on camera, welcome to the club.
I have an exercise for you so that you can start flexing that muscle and become comfortable on camera:
Grab your smartphone and start a daily video diary.
You’re going to grab your phone and hit the video button and start recording your daily diary notes to your phone or your camera.
The key is you’re not going to share this publicly anywhere. It’s literally just for you.
You can keep the files and look at them 10 years from now if you want, but it’s truly just to get used to speaking on camera.
I then want you to replay the videos back so you can see how you appear on camera.
Sometimes we get in our head a lot or we have nervous ticks or movements with our hands, or we can’t stop touching our hair… but you won’t find those things out until you actually practice.
So start a daily video diary.
Again, it’s not going to be seen by anyone, it’s purely just for you to get used to talking and projecting to a device, not a human, and seeing what that looks like for the viewer.
Prepare Your Talking Points
Next, I want to talk about how to prepare yourself to actually hit that ‘Go Live’ or ‘Record’ button.
When it comes to your notes or talking points, I don’t recommend writing out a script…
Very rarely can any of us memorize a script and have it come across as natural.
Let’s all save that job for Meryl Streep.
For us business owners who are filming to Instagram Stories, remember it’s a 15-second video clip.
If you need notes, I would only recommend to write down bullet points of what you need to remember to say.
Fifteen seconds goes by really quickly, so you’re only really going to have room for one or two bullet points.
Prepare Your Set
In terms of your set before you actually go onto camera, a few things to keep in mind:
Remember to face the light where possible. Generally for most people it’s a matter of finding their window and making sure that the light is coming onto their face.
The next thing you want to do is look at your background…
What’s going on behind you?
Make sure it’s not looking too cluttered or messy, if you have the time.
For me, my kitchen is right behind me in my background usually, and there’s a bright purple oven mitt that’s always showing in my Stories.
When I remember, I just remove the oven mitt because it distracts me, so it probably distracts my viewers too.
Totally optional, but if you are going to be making more videos in your business, something you can consider getting is a tripod for your phone.
I use a tripod all the time to make the job of filming so much easier!
Here’s my link for a mini tripod that I use and recommend.
I also get asked all the time about these mini ring lights that I travel with for filming videos remotely:
These mini ring lights are small and lightweight enough to be portable, so they are a life-saver when working on the road.
Your Appearance on Camera
Lastly, I want to touch on your appearance.
Now you don’t need to get glammed up, that’s not the point.
However, sometimes it helps to take 30 seconds to smooth or comb your hair, maybe put it in a ponytail.
I also like to grab lip balm.
I recommend putting on some lip balm on because it’s a lot easier to speak when your lips aren’t dry.
When it comes to wondering how to be comfortable on camera, there’s a trick I want to share that will help you change your mood…
If you’re feeling a little bit nervous, I recommend the good ol’ power stance:
Stand with your feet apart and put your hands on your hips, pressing your chest out.
This allows for the energy to flow, for the nervous energy to trickle away, and allows you to really bring that confident energy when you’re speaking on camera.
Your Delivery on Camera
Get to Know Your Phone
You will notice when watching lots of people’s videos that they aren’t actually looking at the lens; they are actually looking at themselves on video as they are filming.
Make sure you are actually looking at the lens of your camera, and not yourself on screen.
Initially, looking into the camera rather than at yourself in the screen can be hard to train yourself to do so.
If you find that you’re always looking at yourself in the camera and not at your camera’s lens, here is what you can do:
Grab a sticky note, and put it right next to your phone’s camera lens as a visual reminder to look there and not at yourself.
Speak to the Camera as if You Are Speaking to a Friend
If you have that sticky note next to your camera lens, you can even go ahead and write a friend’s name on that sticky note.
I want you to speak to your camera as if you’re speaking to your friend.
This means using slang and emotion.
I have a broadcast background, so sometimes I tend to go into “journalist mode”, which is usually emotion-less. So I often have to remind myself to speak as if I’m speaking to my friend Becky.
This allows me to be casual; my sense of humor is going to be there; I’m going to stumble over my words, but I’m going to keep going – and this is the key.
Keeping the imperfections in your videos is really important for Instagram because people aren’t looking for perfection. They’re looking to connect with you as if they were having a real conversation with you.
People don’t mind stumbles and it’s better for you to post it with a few stumbles than to get sucked into a black hole of trying to retake and retake a clip, trying to aim for perfection, when that’s not the goal here.
Speak With Energy
Remember to speak with energy, so if you do a recording and then you play it back and you think you sound bored or low energy, I want you to do that clip again.
Sometimes when we’re talking to ourselves or a camera, it’s natural to mumble or speak in a low voice, but this isn’t the time for that.
This is the time to project and bring your energy.
To keep your energy up, you might want to stand up. I find it is easier to deliver energy from my gut and not from my chest, and standing will give you that power.
This is something I have to remind myself all the time.
At least when I begin to speak, I always want to start with a smile because my natural facial muscles tend to conform more to a downward slope, and I just don’t seem as approachable.
To make sure you’re coming across as friendly and not angry or sad, I recommend you start smiling when you speak.
It brings all your muscles upwards and makes you come across as a lot more friendly and approachable.
Ready to Grow Your Business Using Instagram?
Now that I’ve shared how to be comfortable on camera, I want to take one more thing off your plate…
Story Vault is my answer to your question, What should I post today?
It’s time to stop wondering how others are locking in clients, leads and sales from social media. 💰
Imagine dramatically reducing the time you’re spending on social media, but seeing a 2x or even 5x return on your effort…
Story Vault is a curated collection of 800 strategic Instagram Story prompts covering the four seasons of business growth:
- Get visible in your market… so you go from being invisible and unknown to “OMG I love watching your Stories!”
- Boost your engagement… so you never get a “crickets only” response to your Stories again
- Get qualified, ready-to-buy leads so you can build up your email list or book out your call calendar
- Lock in chart-topping sales to your programs, products and offers (so you can STOP aimlessly posting on social media and actually see a return from it!)
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