For anyone just starting out on YouTube, or with video in general, being comfortable on camera is something that pretty much everyone struggles with (at the beginning). To answer the question, of how to be comfortable on camera, I am going to share with you 10 things you can do to get over your camera anxiety and be more confident in your videos.
While I’m speaking from a YouTuber’s perspective, these same principles can be transferred to just about any other platform or video praxis.
You’ll be able to put these principles into action immediately and start creating better videos now that you know how to be comfortable on camera.
- How to be comfortable on camera
- 7. Act like you’re talking to a friend
- Final thoughts on being comfortable in front of the camera
How to be comfortable on camera
1. Practice in front of the camera
This is the obvious one, so instead of saving it for last, let’s get it out of the way immediately. The only sure-fire way I know of improving in pretty much anything is to practice. When it comes to getting more comfortable on camera, this is really no different.
The more you practice and actually put yourself in front of the camera, the less of a big deal it will become.
Practicing could mean you film videos that you don’t plan on posting online. You film shorter videos like those for Instagram, Snapchat, Stories, etc. Or you just make like Philip DeFranco and jump straight into it.
Practice, practice, practice.
2. Get excited about filming
One trick I find when it comes to overcoming something that causes anxiety is to tell yourself (convince yourself) that you’re really excited about doing something in particular and not nervous or worried.
This can really speed up time so that you’re not just sitting around with seconds turning to minutes and minutes turning to hours.
When it comes to being comfortable on camera, by tricking your mind into thinking you’re excited (really, just tell yourself that you’re excited about being on camera) you’ll be more inclined to be your natural self, and not that anxious, nervous person anymore.
3. Get pumped up and get your blood flowing
No, you don’t need to head off to the gym. By getting pumped, all I mean is to get your blood flowing before you step in front of the camera.
You can do this by jumping up and down, doing some push-ups, running around a bit, etc. Whatever you can to get your blood flowing.
This helps with your cognitive ability; with the added blood flow your brain should come alive and you’ll be a little bit quicker-witted. If your skin tends to go pale when you’re anxious, this could also help restore that natural look.
4. Prepare a YouTube script or bullet points
They say those that fail to prepare, prepare to fail. I tend to agree. Preparation when it comes to filming can mean a lot of things, but for you in front of the camera, it mainly involves the topic you’re covering and any potential script.
If you’re pre-recording something (like a YouTube video), put together a script or jot down some main points so that if you get lost at some point, you have a map of sorts to get you back on track.
Make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with the topic thoroughly. If you’re not the one writing the script, try to involve yourself so that the wording is more similar to what you would say and the flow more of your own.
5. Pace yourself
When people are nervous, they tend to speak a lot faster. When I’m nervous, I could probably set some new Guinness World Records.
Pace yourself and slow things down. If you’re feeling nervous, then try to speak slower than you usually would and things should then level out at your normal pace.
Do not worry about leaving gaps that are too long, you can always cut those out later in the edit.
Breath frequently and allow yourself enough time to get your message out in an understandable way.
6. Don’t worry about going off-topic
If you go off on a slight tangent, don’t worry about it.
Try to bring things back with the points you jotted down earlier, especially if you’re filming under time constraints.
If you’re filming for your YouTube channel, you can just cut out pieces that you do not want in the final video.
This means you can go off-topic as much as you’d like, you could even find that these off-topic shenanigans show more of your personality and add additional value to your audience.
Or, these off-topic pieces can be used for more content. As you provided extra value, this could even merit its own video.
7. Act like you’re talking to a friend
Well, a metaphorical friend.
When talking to the camera, talk as if you’re talking to a friend. This comes across more comfortably for your audience and will be a more natural representation of yourself.
Avoid the death stare, statue pose, and robotic delivery.
Talk as if it’s a normal conversation between yourself and a friend and your audience will surely appreciate it (and you’ll be a lot more comfortable while delivering it).
8. Be comfortable
How can you be more comfortable on camera? By actually being comfortable.
I mean that in a completely literal way.
If you don’t normally wear a suit, then don’t wear something you don’t feel comfortable in.
Keep your wardrobe regular, but also something that’s presentable. This, of course, depends a lot on what type of video, niche, etc. you’re in, but a plain T-shirt and jeans will generally do the trick, even for the ladies.
The same goes if you’re not comfortable STANDING in front of the camera. Have a seat instead and then get to practicing.
9. Watch both good and bad videos
Learn from past mistakes and successes, both your own and of others.
This way you can see what you should avoid doing and what you may want to incorporate in your videos.
A lot of time people will look at good videos, and find aspects they want to incorporate somehow into their videos.
This can often help you find your own voice, but mistakes can often arise that could have been avoided by watching some poorly made videos.
What not to do can sometimes be even more important.
10. Relax, you’ve got this
You are your biggest critic.
Odds are, no one is going to notice that stray hair, your mispronunciation, the mistake you made in the second sentence, or that this is one of the first times you’re on camera.
Relax and keep in mind that you will get better, cut yourself some slack.
Here are a few things you can do to help yourself relax before filming:
- Meditate or do some light yoga.
- Do something you enjoy.
- Have a warm coffee or tea.
- Get some sunshine.
Final thoughts on being comfortable in front of the camera
By following these 10 principles, you’ll get more comfortable on camera in no time and start growing your YouTube channel and maybe even making more money.
Not only in front of the camera though, but you will also grow in confidence off-camera while presenting, when public speaking, and in other aspects where you thought you just didn’t have the requisite confidence to succeed.