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10 Essential Tips to Improve Your On-Camera Appearance.

Woman in a kitchen recording her cooking show
Woman speaking on camera recording a cooking show

Why Do We Hate What We Look Like on Camera?

We’ve all had that experience when we watch ourselves on camera and hate the way we look. Our skin looks bad, our face is too fat or too thin, our hair just isn’t how we want it… The list goes on. Don’t despair! With the right on-camera techniques, you can learn how to be comfortable filming yourself and make better videos.You don’t have to live with hating how you look and sound on camera. You can take simple steps to boost your self-confidence and ensure you look great on camera.In this article, we’ll look at how to make the most of what nature gave you and love your on-camera appearance.

Common Challenges of Liking Yourself on Camera:

We all have our own unique challenges with how to not hate yourself on camera. Some of the most common issues people face include:

  • The Mere-Exposure Effect: When you see yourself in the mirror, your reflection is flipped horizontally compared to what you see on camera. This phenomenon is known as the mere-exposure effect, and it's one reason why you might feel uncomfortable when watching yourself on video. Your brain is more familiar with your mirrored image, so seeing your true self on camera can be jarring.

  • Unflattering Camera Angles and Lighting: An unflattering angle can distort your features, making them appear disproportionate or unbalanced. For instance, a low camera angle may emphasize a double chin, while a high angle may make your head appear disproportionately larger than your body. Similarly, poor lighting can create harsh shadows or wash out your complexion, which can make you appear tired or sickly. These factors combined can contribute to a negative perception of your on-camera appearance.

  • Insecurity and Self-Criticism: Everyone has something about their physical selves they don’t like. Focus on the features that you love. Do you have great eyes, or gorgeous cheekbones ? Maybe you’ve finally found the perfect haircut that makes you feel fabulous. Begin to see yourself in a positive light. You may be overly critical of your appearance, voice, or mannerisms, focusing on perceived flaws and imperfections. This self-criticism can be exacerbated by comparing yourself to others, particularly if you watch videos of people who seem more polished or confident. The constant scrutiny and comparison can fuel your insecurities, making it difficult to appreciate your unique qualities and strengths. What you see from the “pros'' has been practiced and researched. Read on to learn some of their tips to accomplish your best on-camera self!

  • Psychological Factors: Various psychological factors can affect how you perceive yourself on camera. For example, you may experience social anxiety or fear of judgment from others, which can lead to self-doubt and a negative self-image.These feelings can manifest as physical symptoms, such as blushing, sweating, or a shaky voice, further impacting your confidence and self-esteem. Additionally, cognitive distortions, such as magnifying your perceived flaws or engaging in all-or-nothing thinking, can skew your perception of your on-camera appearance.

Follow These Tips To Improve Your On-Camera Appearance:

Everyone has a unique combination of features that make them who they are. When you recognize and embrace these distinct characteristics, you begin to appreciate your on-camera appearance.Identify your favorite aspects of your appearance and focus on those during your video recordings.Additionally, embrace any quirks or mannerisms that set you apart. These attributes add authenticity and charm to your on-camera presence. Accentuating your individuality will help create a more engaging and memorable impression on your audience when you make your Youtube, IG or FB videos.

  • Improve Your Camera Setup: Optimizing your camera setup can greatly impact how you perceive yourself on camera. Two key components that affect your on-camera appearance are angles and lighting.

  • Angles: Experimenting with various camera angles can help you find the most flattering perspective for your face and body. A general guideline is to position the camera at eye level, creating a natural and balanced view.However, feel free to explore other angles that emphasize your best features. For example, a slightly higher angle can elongate the neck and create a more slender appearance, while a slightly lower angle can highlight your jawline.

  • Lighting: Proper lighting can dramatically enhance your appearance on camera. Good lighting will accentuate your best features, while poor lighting can create shadows or wash out your complexion. Invest in a ring light or soft box to create even, diffused light that illuminates your face without casting harsh shadows. Experiment with different lighting setups, such as placing the light source in front of you or at a 45-degree angle, to find the most flattering arrangement.

Learn to Like the Sound of Your Voice on Recordings:

One of the primary reasons people dislike their recorded voice is the discrepancy between what they perceive when speaking and what they hear in recordings. When you speak, your voice resonates within your skull, creating a deeper, more resonant sound. This internal resonance is absent in recordings, resulting in a voice that may sound higher-pitched and less familiar.

Begin by recording and listening to your voice more often. This will help you become aware of the difference of your sound and accept that your recorded voice is an accurate representation of how others perceive you. You will become more comfortable with your voice on camera and develop essential voice skills for the camera.

  • Familiarize Yourself with Your Voice: to develop a better appreciation for your recorded voice, take the time to listen to your recordings consistently. By doing so, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the unique qualities and nuances of your voice. Pay attention to your natural pitch, rhythm, and tone, and embrace the characteristics that make your voice distinct. The more you listen to your recorded voice, the more familiar and comfortable it will become, ultimately helping you grow more confident when speaking on camera.

Voice Training Techniques with a Speech Coach:

Enhancing your vocal skills through voice training techniques can improve your comfort and confidence when speaking on camera. These techniques focus on aspects such as breath control, projection, and articulation, which contribute to a more polished and engaging speaking style.

Begin with diaphragmatic breathing exercises to ensure proper breath support for your voice. Next, work on enunciation and articulation drills to achieve greater clarity in your speech.

Finally, explore vocal warm-ups to maintain vocal health and flexibility. If you wish to receive personalized guidance, consider seeking the assistance of a speech coach who can provide tailored feedback and exercises.

The Impact of Your Voice on Video Engagement:

Your spoken words play a major role in the success of your videos, as they have the power to engage and captivate viewers. However, to ensure that viewers remain hooked on your content, focus on refining the way you use your voice when speaking on camera.Tone, pitch, clarity, articulation, confidence, enthusiasm, and storytelling are elements that keep viewers interested in your content.

Start by experimenting with different tones and pitches to find a balance that keeps your audience engaged.Avoid a monotonous, flat tone and aim for a more dynamic and varied delivery.Clear and articulate speech helps viewers to process your words more easily.

Practice enunciation exercises and focus on proper breath support to convey your message effectively.Confidence and enthusiasm are key factors to create a dynamic presence on camera.

Develop your confidence through practice, self-reflection, and embracing your authentic voice. When you exude confidence and genuine passion, your audience will more likely connect with your message and feel compelled to continue watching.

Lastly, storytelling is essential in captivating your audience and maintaining their interest. A well-crafted narrative can evoke emotions, provide valuable insights, and keep viewers invested in your content. Focus on developing a strong narrative structure, using vivid imagery and descriptive language, and employing your unique voice to conveyyour message.

Tips to Strengthen Your On-Camera Appearance:

You must be confident in your on-camera presence to make a lasting impression. Here are some tips to help you develop a strong and engaging persona when speaking on-camera and learn how to love your on-camera appearance.

  • Dress for Success: Choose colors that contrast with your background. If your background is light, wear a dark or vibrant color to stand out. If the background is dark, wear something that is lighter to contrast. Choose clothing that makes you feel confident and complements your skin tone and body type. Solid, saturated colors and simple patterns work best for most videos to prevent distractions and focus attention on your face and message.

  • Maintain Good Posture: Personally, I am a stander. I tried to record a video sitting and felt like I was in a straight jacket. First, determine if you are a stander or a sitter. Do you prefer to sit when you deliver news and conduct meetings or do you prefer to stand, ready for action? Then practice with your script in your preferred position to help you feel as relaxed as possible. Remember, however you feel, is how you will appear. Keep your spine straight, shoulders back and head held high. This not only makes you appear taller and more confident, but also helps you breathe better, allowing you to speak with greater clarity and projection.

  • Eye Contact and Facial Expressions: Maintaining eye contact with the camera or your audience is essential for building rapport and connection. Look directly into the camera lens, as if speaking to a person, to create a sense of intimacy and rapport with your viewers. Ensure your facial expressions are natural and appropriate for the topic, as they help convey your emotions and emphasize your message. A smile is a great first introduction that depicts friendliness and helps put people at ease.

  • Gestures and Body Language: Body language and gestures can enhance your on-camera presence and make your communication more engaging. Use natural, purposeful movements that emphasize key points in your message. Avoid excessive or distracting gestures, as they can detract from your content. When sitting, keep your hands visible and relaxed to convey openness and approachability.

  • Overcoming Nervous Habits: Nervous habits, such as fidgeting, touching your face, or swaying, can detract from your on-camera presence. Becoming aware of these habits is the first step to overcoming them. Practice speaking in front of a mirror or recording yourself to identify any nervous behaviors, and work on eliminating them through relaxation techniques, deep breathing, or visualization exercises.

Read on for Secrets of Successful Vloggers: How to Look Good on Camera:

Some people have a knack for looking good on camera, or so it seems. They know how to use their body language, facial expressions, and voice to create a strong presence. Rest assured, it doesn’t just come naturally. Looking good on-camera takes research and practice. Check out these tips to improve your on-camera appearance, that have been tried and experimented with by successful Vloggers.

  • Personalize Your Background and Set Design: Create an aesthetically pleasing background and set design to help draw viewers’ attention to you, your message, and your on-camera presence. Make sure the area behind you is well lit and free of distractions. Add a few elements that represent who you are as a person for a unique look. Make sure you are centered in the camera and the main focal point. A general rule of thumb is to have a few inches of space open above your head so you are the prominent attraction in the frame.

  • Master the Art of Pacing and Editing: Pacing is the art of selecting and sequencing content to create an emotional journey for your viewers. Think of each video as a story, with a beginning, middle and end. Use the power of editing to craft an engaging narrative that draws viewers in and keeps them captivated until the very last scene. You want to tighten up your sentences to alleviate umms, ahhs and rambling. Editing can also help improve the overall quality of your video, as it eliminates mistakes and awkward pauses that may take away from your on-camera presence.

  • Utilize Visuals: Visual aids, such as photographs, charts and diagrams, effectively communicate complex concepts. Use visuals to supplement your spoken words and help bring your message to life on camera. However, no need for too many. Keep it simple!

  • Performance Techniques: The power of storytelling can be amplified by employing performance techniques such as dramatic pauses, vocal inflection, and hand gestures. This is part of what you learn with a speech coach. These techniques can create a strong emotional connection with your viewers and help make your message more memorable.

  • Authenticity is key to being comfortable on-camera: Being authentic helps you establish an emotional connection with your viewers, while also differentiates you from the rest of the crowd. Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability and express your true feelings on camera. People may be attracted to fake at first glance, but they stick around and listen, when you move them with the real version of you.

It Takes Practice and Preparation To Love Your On-Camera Self:

The more you practice being on camera, the more comfortable and confident you'll become. Schedule regular video recording sessions to familiarize yourself with your on-camera presence, and review the footage to identify areas for improvement. Self-awareness is key!

As you gain experience, you'll become more adept at controlling your facial expressions, body language, and voice, making your videos more engaging and polished. Continuous practice will help you feel more at ease in front of the camera, enabling you to embrace and love your on-camera appearance, and ultimately, make amazing videos where you show up and stand out!

Happy group at the gym with confident body language
Smiling group of people at the gym tips to improve your on-camera appearance

Cathy Motley-Fitch, founder of OnPitch Speech Coach is a Speech Coach based in Richmond, VA who teaches individuals, groups and teams, online and in person, how to speak effectively and engage, inspire and persuade others through their most powerful voice and dynamic presence!


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