Hi everyone! It’s Vickie! Now, a lot of people ask me questions when they’re starting a YouTube channel. And when they’re filming. And one of the questions that comes up again and again is how to be comfortable on camera. A lot of people complain that vlogging is super awkward and being on camera in general is uncomfortable and makes them feel unnatural. So, I thought I’d do a video to talk about a couple of tips and tricks that I’ve learned through the years while I’ve been on camera and maybe I can help you! Tip #1to feel more comfortable on camera is to know that the camera is your audience. If I’m making a video for kindergarteners my word choice, my vocal intonation, and even my posture is going to be completely different from if I’m making a video for coworkers. So, I have to know who I’m making the video for. Then, once I know who the video is for, the key is to take that target audience and pretend that the camera is them. Oftentimes if you’re vlogging, what you want is a very intimate and familiar tone, so the best thing to do is to pretend that the camera is your best friend. If you pretend that the camera is your best friend, you’re immediately going to start using the type of vocal choices and intonations that you would use with a good friend. And therefore you’re gonna sound really comfortable on camera and familiar with the camera, and therefore with the person watching. I definitely recommend if you’re making a video, to pick a specific member of your target audience whether that is a kinderegartner, a coworker, or a specific friend, and to imagine that the camera is that person. It’ll really help you to get up there one on one and intimate and comfortable on camera. Trick number 2 to appear natural on camera is to look at the camera lens! Now, this seems like common sense, but a lot of people once they’re actually in front of the camera get very uncomfortable with looking directly at the camera lens. The trick is to remember that specific audience member that you’re imagining and to know that the camera lens is that audience member. So, I’m not looking at a camera lens right now. I’m looking at Megan! “Hey, Megan! How you doing?” A common problem for vloggers is that since we’re filming ourselves, we’re often using that little flip screen and we’re looking at ourselves in that screen instead of at the lens to make sure that we’re in frame, to make sure we’re not making weird facial expressions, and just to be vain. But, you can see right now I’m looking at my preview screen instead of at the lens and that’s definitely taking my line of sight and it’s making it so it’s not directly at you, my viewer, I’m looking at me. So, if you’re a vlogger, remember not to look in the preview screen. Use it to establish your shot, but then look directly at the lens, because that’s where the audience is. And, that’s where you’ll be making your connection. Another little trick that I’ve picked up is if you really are super uncomfortable looking into that lens, you can look right above it at where you have a brand name on your camera. Mine says Canon. And it’s the same thing as when you look at a person’s face if instead of looking right in their eyes, you look at their eyebrows, it seems like you’re making eye contact with them, but it can be much more comfortable for you. And if you’re a person who gets the awkward sweats… Tip #3 to be natural and comfortable on camera! To be interesting, be interested! If you’re not interested in what you’re saying, the audience won’t be. So, you want to pick a topic that you’re excited about and that excitement will translate to the audience. I mean if you seem bored while talking to the camera, the audience will be bored too. We’ve all had that professor that drones on and on, and you don’t want to go to their class. You want to go to a class with a professor who is excited about their topic matter and therefore gets you excited. If you often find that you end up with a monotone voice, or you don’t sound particularly excited about something, I recommend that you try smiling while you’re presenting. Because that often will translate into your voice sounding friendlier and more excited! Tip #4 to be comfortable on camera is to prepare your voice before you record! Make sure you hydrate! There is nothing worse than having dry mouth while you’re recording. We’ve all had a moment before in our lives where we can’t pronounce for the life of us a certain word and we can’t get a certain phrase out right and all the sudden English just doesn’t even seem like a real language. A great way to prevent that while filming is to take yourself back to junior high drama class and to do a couple of tongue twisters before you begin presenting. That will really help you with your articulation, your pronunciation, your enunciation, and all those other smart words. Tip number five to be comfortable and natural on camera is to know your frame! So that when you’re saying tip number five, you’re not making your gesture outside of the frame box. Tip #6 to be natural and less awkward on camera is to anchor yourself! Make sure that if you’re standing while you’re talking that you stand firmly on your two feet. And, that you’re planted there so you’re not swaying back and forth while you talk. And you’re not slowly drifting out of frame. Tip #7 to be natural on camera is to pace yourself! It’s natural when you’re speaking on camera or when you’re performing in general to start to speak quicker. When you get nervous you start to get jittery. Things go quick! And then you just start talking really fast. And then the audience can’t understand what you’re saying. And it doesn’t seem important because you’re saying it so quickly because you’re just rushing through it, so why does it matter and why should anybody listen to you? So, you just want to take a deep breath, and slow it down. Tip number 8 is to toss out your script! The pressure of being word perfect can make people really unnatural and rigid and monotone on camera! Your best bet is to have an outline to be comfortable with your talking points and then to just go. Personally, I’m the type of person who likes to write out a whole script and then not look at it while filming. But, I know plenty of people who just write an outline or people who just wing it and are natural on camera. You have to find your own style, but if you’re so concerned about the wording that then you can’t actually perform, that’s going to be a problem. So, you have to find the style that works for you in order to get the best performance for the camera. Tip #9 to be comfortable, natural, and less awkward on camera is to monitor yourself! You want to watch your videos to see yourself and to notice what nervous tics you have or what filler words you use! If you’re the type of person who um kind of says um before every other sentence and um every word then you’re going to want to stop that! But, you can’t stop it until you know that you do it! So, you have to watch your videos and you have to see if you use “um” “like” “uh” whatever the words that you’re putting in there inbetween other words and then you have to make a conscious effort to stop it. The same goes for your nervous habits that might be physical. Like, you might keep itching your hair or you might keep pulling it back. You might go for your leg. You might shift your weight onto your feet. Who knows! Whatever your habit is, you’ll be able to find it if you watch yourself and if you’re getting distracted by it, the audeince is getting distracted by it too. Now, I know for a lot of people, watching yourself on video is a very uncomfortable thing to do. What I would recommend is that when you do it, don’t beat yourself up. Do not bully yourself over certain on camera habits. Know that the first step is to recognize that you have a habit and to make it go from a habit you are unconscious about to something that you’re mindful of. Because once you know that you do it, it can be a choice to do it or not. But, until you actually look at it, you won’t be able to adjust it. I’ll be 100% honest with you. One of the hurdles I’ve had to starting my YouTube channel is that I didn’t like editing my own videos because I didn’t like seeing myself on screen. It can be a really hard thing to get over, but you can do it! I’m proof! Took me a couple of years, but I’m here! You can do it! Tip number 10 to be more comfortable on camera is to learn from your favorite on screen personalities. If you have a vlogger that you really like or an actor that you watch on tv and you are in tune with them, I recommend that you take out a pen and paper and that you take notes about what they’re doing. Their presenting style and note how they are getting you to be so engaged with what they’re saying. Then try and incorporate that into your own camera presence. Tip number eleven to be less awkward on camera is to relax and be in the moment! If you’re getting really stiff and you’ve done a line a couple of times and it’s not coming out right, sometimes you just gotta get up! And you gotta run around and you gotta do jumping jacks and get yourself back into the mindset where you can talk! I’m 100% on my game now and I can deliver my lines right on cue! Correctly word perfect! Let’s go! Before you begin filming or between takes, do some physical activity like jogging or jumping jacks Or, you might want to do some internal work, like meditating. That will help you. Especially if you’re getting stuck on some lines. You just have to take a break from it. You gotta reset your mind and the best way I find to do that is to either do something physical or to take some deep breaths and relax. And my last tip to be more comfortable on camera is to practice! Before I did my first youtube vlog, I set up a youtube channel that nobody knew about. I did about 3 vlogs so that I could get used to how I wanted to talk to the camera and what I wanted to sound like. How I wanted to edit it together. I kind of got in the habit before I showed it to people. That way I wouldn’t be so nervous about it and I would feel like I was in more control of the product. If you find that you freeze every time you go off script, I highly recommend that you take an improv class. It will really help you as a performer and it helps you to be quicker on your feet. I think a lot of kids are born with cameras in their hands these days, but if you’re someone who’s older or that just doesn’t come naturally to, I recommend that you practice. You can practice being comfortable on camera with apps like snapchat, periscope, or facebook live. Just get used to presenting to an audience through a camera. Those are my tips! Let me know if you have any questions down below in the comments and definitely share with me your experience and if you have any tips or tricks that I didn’t mention here!