18 tips to conquer your fear of being on camera
Do you have a fear of being on camera? It’s not uncommon! Being on camera is daunting for everyone. No matter how much experience you have, saying what you need to say, succinctly, concisely and naturally can be very difficult when you have the pressure of a camera pointing at your face.
In this day and age, however, more “rich media” is being created, shared and used than ever before. More and more people have access to filming, editing and sharing tools and this means there’s been an explosion in the amount of video out there.
Videos are used for many things now
- as video blogs or “vlogs”
- as networking, sharing and mentoring tools
- as online resumes
- as marketing tools
- for education, learning and course content
How to get rid of stage fright and conquer your fear of being on camera
One of the biggest problems people face when performing or speaking on camera is stage fright. WikiHow provides a great guide on getting rid of stage fright. They suggest that even the most confident performers can suffer from it, “Stage fright is common for everyone from Broadway actors to professional presenters,” explains Wiki.
“Don’t worry. You can overcome your stage fright by training your body and mind to relax and trying a few tricks.”
The 7 steps to a more “natural” performance on camera
- meditate, a few deep breaths
- avoid caffeine
- set a “stop time” for your anxiety
- move your body, keep fluid
- …and get there early!
What is an anxiety “stop time”?
This exercise can work for all types of anxiety, for example, thinking about an upcoming event that is making you nervous (such as an interview). The theory is that we can tend to worry endlessly about something but pretending that it doesn’t exist is not useful in many cases.
“On the day of your performance,” says WikiHow, “tell yourself that you can allow yourself to be nervous for a certain amount of time, but that after a certain hour – say, 3 PM – all anxiety will go out the door. Just setting this goal and making this promise to yourself will make it much more likely to happen.”
It may not always be easy, but this tactic can often work wonders.
5 quick tips for when you are speaking to camera
Chip Dizard an online video trainer. He has years of experience uploading content and speaking in various formats, from high-quality video, to simple vlogs. Here are some of his tips
1. Simplicity is important
“It’s hard, but by breaking the video down into the most important points (bullet points work well) you can make your life so much easier,” he suggests. Don’t over-think your points, go “less” rather than “more”.
2. Speak from the heart
“If you know your material and are passionate about what you are talking about, this will be very easy!” says Dizard. He says that authenticity is important to your audience as they will be able to “spot a fake” a mile away.
3. Short and sweet wins every time
“When you are first starting out, don’t try to cram everything into one video,” warns Dizard. “It’s okay if you have to record a five part series. I encourage that more than a 15 minute video. Take your viewers on a journey.”
4. Eye contact
Look softly at the camera, don’t stare at it. One tip offered by Dizard is, “I imagine I am talking to a good friend and that I am helping with a video. Even if I have a room full of people watching me film, I’m über focused on that lens.”
5. You don’t need to be perfect
Dizard warns that it’s important not to get discouraged about what you see, particularly the little flaws in your appearance, weight and “look”. “Share outtakes and keep it light. It’s amazing how bloopers and outtakes can help you connect with your audience.”
One final word on practising
According to the Online Video Marketer, it’s important to practise until you feel more confident, so a fear of being on camera is nothing to worry about.
“Get familiar with how you look and sound on camera,” says expert Becky Sanghaa. “First you might hate it, you’ll scrutinize it and maybe want to never do it again. But keep going.”
She points out that these days, it’s usually much easier to do another take if you need to. “Record, record, record,” she says, “then watch. After you watch each video, allow yourself one minute to write down everything you noticed that you did not like.”
She suggests that the next thing to do is to “take another 3 minutes and write down everything you did well,” so that you give yourself positive feedback as well as negative. Another trick she suggests is to use a timer. If you have fear of being on camera it can be fixed!
An on-camera tip from a famous British playwright
“A movie camera is like having someone you have a crush on watching you from afar – you pretend it’s not there.”
Over to you
Question: what do you think of these tips? What tips work for you?