Not too long ago, a Wall Street Journal email, sent by WSJ’s deputy managing editor Matt Murray and head of video operations Chris Cramer, caused a lot of controversy. The subject of this email? The appearance of WSJ’s reporters when they’re on camera.
Though you are probably not reporting live on-air, it is equally important that you stay on your A-game when appearing on video for your brand. In no particular order, we’ve compiled a list of 23 tips and tricks for looking and sounding your best in front of the camera!
1. Stay Organized
Structure your video with a beginning, middle, and end to clearly articulate your point. Keep this in mind not only when editing but also when shooting and storyboarding.
2. It’s OK to Pause
Shhhhh. Pausing for a couple seconds of silence after a particularly important point in your video gives your audience an opportunity to focus in on it and pay more attention to it than the surrounding sentences. This is especially important if you pose a question to your audience.
3. No Monotone
Make sure your sentences end on a downward inflection versus an upward inflection. How can you tell? If your statement sounds more like a question, you’re doing it wrong.
4. Beautiful Backgrounds
Don’t forget your background! It can assist you greatly in asserting your credibility depending on your topic. For example, if you sell a luxury product or service, shooting in an exotic locale (or looking like you are) will lend credibility to your reputation as a luxury expert.
5. Mind Your Eyewear
If you wear glasses and appear on camera regularly, have them coated to prevent reflections. Also, don’t wear photosensitive glasses, because they might darken under the extra light.
6. Strong Eye Contact
Maintain eye contact in order to come across as a credible source. Looking down, away from the camera, or blinking excessively will make you look shifty and unprofessional.
7. Proper Dress
Look like a professional – not someone who happened to walk in front of the video camera. Tuck in your shirt, make sure your bra strap is not showing and check that your shirt isn’t see-through or wrinkled.
8. Lovely Lighting
Remember, soft lighting from the side of the camera will make your features pop better than lighting directly behind the camera.
9. Camera Angle
Be sure the camera is at the right angle. At eye level or only just above eye level allows for the most natural, flattering view. If the lens is lower, your risk the dreaded double chin.
10. Take it Outside
Whenever possible, head outside to film with natural light. The best times for good light are early morning and evening, and the warm glow Mother Nature provides is the best (and cheapest) lighting option!
11. Stand Up Straight
Stand up straight as good posture dramatically improves appearance.
12. Find Your Best Side
Determine your best angle. While it might feel a little silly at first for people who haven’t done it before, position yourself in the classic model’s pose. Stand with one foot in front of the other and one shoulder closer to the camera than the other. Three-quarters of your body will be facing the camera. If sitting, slightly angle yourself in a similar fashion.
Late night or allergy attack? Use eye drops to clear redness in your eyes.
Use makeup to cover skin redness and blemishes that, unfortunately, can be a real distraction in an otherwise flawless video.
15. Reduce Shine
Your T-zone (the top of your nose and your forehead) can be your worst enemy on camera. Keep the shine down by applying (and re-applying whenever necessary) powder and foundation. Avoid powders and foundations that contain SPF or light-reflective properties.
16. Mix it Up
Unless it’s the look you’re going for, wearing a single color can cause you to lose your shape on camera. Wear more than one tone, but avoid stripes or loud patterns.
17. Stripes Are Bad
Horizontal stripes can make you appear too wide, and wearing thin stripes can create a weird effect on camera.
18. Pretty Patterns
Patterns can overwhelm you on camera. If you are wearing a pattern, go with a large pattern to avoid unwanted visual distractions.
19. Close Shave
If you are a man, shave shortly before video taping. Give yourself enough time to heal any nicks in case you cut yourself.
20. Say No to Shine
Steer clear from shiny lip glosses and anything with glitter (blushes, eye shadows, etc). Use a matte translucent powder to dust over your visage before filming.
21. Calm Energy
Project energy, but don’t get too carried away. Big hand gestures, lots of movement, and fidgeting look unprofessional on camera (unless they’re an obvious part of your schtick).
22. Eradicate the Um’s and Ah’s
Focus on avoiding saying words like “like”, “uh”, “um”, and “ah” on camera.
23. Practice Practice Practice
Practice makes perfect! The more videos you shoot, the better and more natural you’ll become in front of the camera. Use a mirror in a pinch if you have to. Above all, have fun!