More than ever, people are putting themselves on camera. Whether you are a CEO, a blogger, an entertainer, a journalist, a fitness instructor, a chef, a coach, or an influencer, video can play an important role in sharing your message. It’s easy to do when you follow my top tips for being on camera.
Why do a video
Putting yourself on camera in a video can serve many purposes. First and foremost, it’s good marketing.
By speaking directly to your viewer, you are personalizing your brand. By using video, you can more easily teach, demonstrate and explain concepts. Plus, more people watch videos today, than read a blog post.
And video can be used across various platforms from your website to all the social media channels.
It’s easy to hold up your phone and hit record. But, by also doing a few more things to prep, your video can look far more professional. Whether you are doing a webcam conference or are setting up a camera and tripod, here are my top tips for being on camera.
When putting yourself on camera, make sure you have the camera at eye level so that you are not looking down upon or looking up at your viewer. So, if you are using a regular camera and a tripod, just position it at your eye level. If you are using your laptop or a webcam, you should raise your laptop up by putting it on a stack of books or a stand depending on where the camera is located. In normal use, a laptop is down on the table and the camera is too low. You might recall when doing a conference call that often you are looking up at the speaker and their ceiling. To avoid this you need to be mindful of the camera’s location and make sure it’s at your eye level.
You don’t need to go all out here and worry about a full lighting kit (unless you are going to be producing a lot of videos and have a ‘studio’ space for this). But having light on your face is very important in creating more professional video that is also flattering. If it’s daytime (which would be the best time to film), the easiest thing to do is face a window. You want to always think about the light source shining on your face. Some people tend to get this confused and they sit with a window behind them. This has the opposite effect, now the camera is looking at your face and a window and automatically exposes for the bright light it sees which can make your face very dark (this is known as backlighting). Always think of having the light source shine on to your face (i.e. you should face the light). You can also use a lamp (with a lampshade which can soften the lighting).
Best case scenario, you use a camera light on a stand in front of you and slightly up and to the side. There are many affordable lights on amazon like this ring light, which many like (be aware it will cause a ring reflection in your pupils) or a more versatile standard LED light.
Clothing & Makeup
If you are going to be on camera, you should be mindful of what you’re wearing. Overall, you want to dress how you would in your business anyway. If you’re the CEO, and typically wear a suit, than do so. If you are a travel blogger, you can dress how you might typically. BUT always be neat, clean, and try to wear solid colors rather than distracting patterns. Also avoid white. This has the same affect of having a window in your shot—it’s too bright for the camera, and therefore your face may look dark.
As for makeup, both men and women have natural oils in their skin so some simple pressed powder with special attention on the forehead, nose, and chin can help cut any shine.
Be Mindful of your Background
If using software like Zoom, you are able to key in a virtual background, but sometimes this can seem obvious and have ‘invisible spots’ if you are not lit well. If using Skype, there’s a nice feature that blurs the background.
If you are just using your own background, make sure it’s uncluttered and pleasing to the eye. This does not mean just putting yourself up against a stark wall though. Having as much depth between you and the background is much more pleasing. Clean up any clutter and remove items you don’t want to be seen.
If you are using a phone camera or laptop cam, you probably have the tendency to look at the screen and not the camera. But in order to really address the viewer and connect, the best thing you can do is look at the camera itself. It might not feel comfortable, but the end product will look so much better than you looking down rather than right into your viewer’s eyes.
Good Sound is Crucial
Another easy way to make your video seem more professional is to use a microphone. Sound is just as important as the video because if we can’t hear you, well, what’s the point? If using your laptop you can invest in a tabletop USB mic. Or if using a camera or mobile, try a rode clip-on mic. This way your sound will be more clear and direct. Without a mic, you record the entire room noise which can make it sound echoey and not as clear.
Being on camera is a great way to connect you with your clients, customers and followers. It can greatly personalize your brand and gives a face to the name.
Most importantly be yourself and have fun!
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