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It seems somehow ironic that I would be on here to talking about how to look great on camera, particularly after my FAILED London Vlog.
In actual fact, that vlog was good fun and not so bad after editing. Link here.
In all honesty, the vlog and today’s chat are two separate things.
I’m working on my vlogging skills. But, I thought some of you might want to gain more confidence in your videos. You need to be doing videos. I want to see you all doing videos.
After watching today, you won’t have any excuses not to start.
So, we are going to focus on a few aspects that could negatively affect your presence on camera.
A lack of inflexion and mood in the tone of your voice, an expressionless face, poor choice of clothing, zero confidence, being ill-prepared and an inability to engage with the camera, are all factors which we will eliminate today.
Going on in front of the camera is not as easy as it looks. When I first started, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to hold a conversation with nobody there. I think it’s easier if there are more than one of you on set. You can tell the stories much easier. And, I certainly feel this way during the podcasts I do with Femi. It flows nicely without having to overthink it.
Of course, some people have a natural ability to look great on camera. But, if you haven’t got the type of personality that comes alive once the camera is switched on, it may feel intimidating. Perhaps you find that you freeze as soon as the recording begins, and you forget what you have to say.
Feeling awkward and self-consciousness are quite common, but they are factors that hold you back from delivering your best.
Let’s discuss a few things that I do to provide an engaging camera experience. Some of these things may not be so obvious.
Firstly, I would recommend a script of sorts. You may want to write out an entire script, or maybe just a few points of the things that you would like to say will be sufficient.
A few points are great. Throughout the video, you can remind yourself of the things you noted down. TV presenters, chat show hosts – they do it all the time. If it’s evident that you are looking down at your yellow post-it notes you can cut these parts out in editing.
Or, find a way to include looking at your notes naturally within the way you act in the video. I do not recommend you use post-it notes if you plan on doing it this way.
I like to write out my entire script, and I use the same method for storytelling that I teach to structure my script. My storytelling structure helps make sure I get my point across.
What this means is, I’ll begin by describing the problem I think my audience is having. Next, I’ll identify the causes of that problem.
What I’m hoping for is a connection to the audience with what I am saying. They need to feel as though they have had a similar experience for my video topic to be of any use to them.
After identifying the cause of the problem, I’ll go on to provide a solution. Following that, I’ll also advise the audience on what they need to do next. Lastly, I’ll include a call-to-action.
That’s the structure of my script. It’s a basic storytelling structure. In this video, we’re currently on the part where I’m giving you the solution.
My script gets me prepared before I switch on the camera. I’m less likely to fumble with my words when I speak. I do leave in my ‘Ums’ and ‘Urs’. They don’t bother me. I think they provide authenticity to my videos, and it’s the way I speak. Feel free to cut your ‘Ums’ and ‘Urs’ out.
The second tip I have for great camera presence is to make sure you are comfortable in what you are wearing. If you look great, you’ll feel great. You won’t be thinking about what you’re wearing while your talking and that will help with your confidence. I’ve had times when my dress won’t stay up properly. When that happens, I’ll go and get changed. I just don’t need the hassle.
People often ask me why I choose to wear black in my videos. They think its a part of my brand. Yes, I love black, and I own a lot of black clothing, but that’s not the main reason.
Black is easy. It looks professional, and it isn’t a distraction to what I’m saying and the overall look of my video shoot. I also love the fact that I can wear the same thing over and over and hardly anybody notices.
Thirdly, really bring your personality to your video in a big way. Now note I said your personality in a big way. You do not have to be somebody else. It’s a big no-no, and most times your audience will see right through you.
Don’t try to be anybody else. Don’t try to be over the top just because you think that’s what you should do. Do it because it’s you and you feel comfortable with it.
I mean sometimes I think to myself I must be so dull, but I can’t sustain acting like somebody else. It would be exhausting. And we want to have fun when we are doing this.
You do not have to be a loud and animated person if it doesn’t come naturally to you. However, you still have to bring a lot of personality to the video to keep people engaged.
Because it’s quite easy to freeze on camera and to think you have to be very sensible, think about how you act in real life. Conjure up in your mind how you behave with your family, your nearest and dearest when no one’s looking. Act like that. It’ll be easier for your audience to relate to you.
Now, even though I have said you don’t have to be loud and animated if that’s not you. You will have to be an animated version of yourself.
I’m not quite sure why it is – a professional videographer will have the answer, but the camera records a watered-down version of you.
I have no idea what you think of my delivery on camera, but during recording, I feel like I have so much energy, excitement and am smiling all of the time. When I watch the recording back, I’m not smiling nearly as much as I thought. However energetic you feel during recording, guaranteed only 50% of that will come across on video.
I sing on stage at church, and on stage, I feel like I jump and dance around a lot. Well, I know I do because I get told that. But when I see a playback, it definitely looks a lot less jumpy then it felt.
So if anything, be yourself but overact knowing that it’ll look half of what you felt like.
Fourth important advice. Engage with the camera. I think different YouTubers have different approaches to camera engagement. Most YouTubers, in my opinion, tend to engage as if they have a huge audience watching, which works really well. When you engage in this way, not only will your viewers feel a part of your video, they’ll also feel a part of a wider community.
I like to keep my engagement feeling a little more intimate. So I want it to feel as if it’s only you that I’m talking with. I like to have a conversation between you and me.
Even during the podcasts that I do with my husband Femi, I encourage him to look me in the eye. I want our audience to have the experience of listening in on our conversation. I don’t want it to appear as though we’re talking to an audience. Intimacy – I like that.
But whether you want to make it intimate or act as though you have a huge YouTube audience watching, the point is to remember you’re having a conversation with real people.
Keep it real. Leave out the goofiness. Unless of course, goofiness is a part of your brand then be intentionally goofy. Bring the goof way on with an extra helping of goofiness.
My husband loves being goofy, and he’s great at it. He gets laughs for it. But I’m not good at that type of humour. So we have to strike a balance.
No 5., check your facial expressions. Make as much effort to laugh and smile in your videos. An expressive face is hugely important. I used to have a sticky note, in front of my camera, which read ‘SMILE’ to remind me. It’s so easy to forget. You can try the same.
Also, let your facial expressions match what you’re saying.
I used to notice how, back in the day, Will Smith would always raise his eyebrows in all his movies. Certainly his earlier ones. Not sure if he does that now. When I started on YouTube with a different channel, I would do the very same.
Facial expressions add masses of personality to the video. Even something as simple as raising your eyebrows.
You’ve got to act on screen.
No more raised eyebrows for me. I do, however, move my face in much the same way I would when having a long conversation with someone else.
During conversations, I tend to look away a lot. Which admittedly some people find distracting. They look over their shoulders to look at what they think I may be looking at. I’ve tried to change that, but I end up closing my eyes. But that’s me. I do it to gather my thoughts together. And I do it on screen. I hope it brings interest and realness to my delivery. I hope.
Next, your tone.
You must bring a varied tone to what you are saying. Concentrate on what you’re saying more so than the fact there is a camera is pointing at you. Add inflexions and mood and character to what you are saying. It will keep your audience from switching off.
And lastly perform which probably encapsulates everything I have said. If you want to have, great camera presence perform. Although there have been times, I’m worried that my flailing hands are not socially acceptable, but it’s all a part of the performance. You’re unlikely to see me do as much flailing in real life.
I’ve changed so much with my videos. There’s stuff I’ll never do again, stuff that I’ve brought back. Over the years, I’ve improved. Feel free to visit my channel and scroll down and watch older videos. You’ll see an improvement. It’s a process so always aim to be better than the last time. Don’t ever be afraid to try new things.
So please please please, get out your camera phones, your DSLR and don’t procrastinate another day. Do a YouTube video today.
Thanks so much for watching or reading. Subscribe, like, comment, ask a question and share with others. Until next time, take fantastic care of yourself. Bye