Wondering how to look good on camera? Let's find out!
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Videos are blowing up now more than ever, and they are still growing.
If you have decided to create video content for your business, it is best to do it right.
And allow it to represent the quality of your brand.
The great thing about videos is that it is a great medium to interact with customers and leads remotely.
With the undeniable empowerment from videos in business relations and marketing comes a new skill set that we need to learn.
Academicians studying human behavior in business communications established structures that we followed in the office going environment.
Simple things like wearing formal clothing or lack thereof are culturally central to business communications.
Since video calling became a thing, a few years ago and especially today amidst the pandemic, a new set of rules has been carved out.
These few tips will help you look your best through the lens.
Most of these tips to look good on camera are based on the assumption that you are using a laptop webcam.
Therefore these will bode well with those on a tight budget.
Keep the Camera Lens at Eye Level and Look Directly Into It
A key aspect of even the most basic photography course is lining up the camera and its placement.
Business professionals tend to capture themselves through unflattering angles whilst recording videos or attending meets.
More often than not, you will find the camera looking up towards the face of the subject.
This is because our working laptop placement is somewhat below our face. Something like this:
This is great for working but doesn’t look too appealing on screen.
What you want is to elevate your laptop so the lens is directly at eye level. If you are using an external webcam you can simply place the webcam on eye level.
This will give you a better profile when you are looking at the camera. Like this:
You will notice a distinct change in your output once you do this.
In the image above, you will notice the subject isn’t looking at you. But somewhat left of you. This is because the subject isn’t looking directly at the camera.
This is also extremely important. It might seem a bit weird at first but the output is so much better because business communication is all about connection.
And the first rule of any leadership or sales role is to maintain eye contact. And this is exactly what happens when you look into the camera.
One way to do this is to place the laptop at your eye level by using a laptop stand like so.
This will cost you anywhere between 10 to 30 dollars. You can get an ergonomic adjustable laptop stand that will be useful for all heights.
A simple hack around this is using a stack of books under your laptop. This should most likely be free.
In case you don’t even have a stack of books, you can use any flat object on top of or under your table.
Keep Your Background Tidy and Maintain the Aesthetics
Whenever you watch a video next, try to observe what distracts you from the video.
Likely, something in the background of the video will somehow capture your attention.
To avoid this attention drain, it is important to tidy up the space that will be a part of the frame.
If you are recording in your bedroom and the background is your bed, and you are in a hurry, covering everything up with a comforter works too.
That being said, every video will have a look and feel. This can be consciously directed by you or it will anyway have a look.
Depending on the type of video you are making, you can create a conducive atmosphere for your client.
Generally, people will add bits and pieces like a fruit bowl, a framed image, or a painting strategically in the background.
Another great way to accessorize your background is with books. Strategic placement of books, especially certain books placed on a bookshelf makes for a great background.
Lighting is more important than most people realize. It is everything in a visual creative medium.
You can go to an art museum or a jewelry store, any kind of art on display will have distinct lighting.
We will keep this within budget, so don’t worry if you can’t afford a 36-inch softbox.
In photography, lighting is seen in two fundamental ways, soft key lighting, and hard key lighting.
The terms soft and hard represent the intensity of the shadow a particular light will create. A hard light will create a defined, intensely dark shadow. Something like this:
Look how the shadow is well defined and intense on the wall. This will happen if your light source is up in your face and too intense.
What you should look for while making videos is soft key lighting. Which looks like this.
Here, you will notice a softer shadow, lighter in darkness. This is because the light source diffuses light in all directions.
This will blur out any imperfections in your shot and on your face.
You can achieve this effect in multiple ways. But the most efficient and cheap way to create soft key lighting, also known as high key lighting is by filming in sunlight.
Not directly under the sun, but in a space with enough windows to leverage some good natural light.
You can achieve this look with a lamp and an umbrella as well. This is what a lot of photography studios do. Place it behind the camera, the subject facing the light. Like this.
A more expensive way of doing this is by using a softbox light.
Get an Interesting Angle
To capture the aesthetics of visual arts, you need to practice some basic camera placements.
Although, shooting for business videos it is likely you want to keep it simple and straightforward. But you’ll be surprised by how much the B2B community appreciates creativity.
If you are creating a sales video for a SaaS tool, and are creating a demo video for it, show the product you are using.
You can add the StoryXpress Screen Recorder Chrome extension to record your screen. An angle that you can explore that physically shows you using the software is this.
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You can place a secondary laptop in front of you as a prop, and use a side angle for the laptop you are recording with.
Alternatively, if you are using an external webcam, simply place it like this.
Well, the most important tip to looking good on camera is sounding good on camera.
You can gesticulate, have a performance, and showdown through visuals. None of that means anything if the viewer gets a bad audio quality.
The key to looking good on camera is striking a balance between audio and video.
The cheapest way to get good quality audio is to use those old earphones that came with a mic.
You can use the StoryXpress Screen Recorder extension to record audio and video.
Ironically enough, the guy in the above stock photo has enough money to buy a powerful shotgun microphone. But if you don’t you can also purchase a lav mic for under $50.
Clothes are an essential part of looking good in society, and therefore on camera as well.
If you are playing a character, then by all means knock yourself out and play the part through a costume.
Technically, however, there are a few types of clothes in terms of color and pattern to stay away from whilst recording videos.
This might sound weird but certain patterns don’t come out well on video or photos.
It is a signal processing effect known as aliasing that makes the pattern of small checks indistinguishable from the background.
Bonus Read: How to Dress Up for Camera
Lens Mount for Webcam
Webcam restricts your ability to zoom in or out on the shots you take. Especially if you want a wider field of view or spanning in your video.
A simple solution for this is using a lens mount, which simply clips onto your webcam lens and changes the lens scape.
It will cost you under $20 but will make a huge difference to your look.
Depending on your video different lenses will work better, but a longer 58 mm telephoto lens works best for making videos with a human subject.
A longer lens makes the subject look bigger and more flattering than the wide lens.
Along with the usual soft key lighting, you might require a backlight to balance out the lighting in a frame.
Putting this into context, you don’t need to have even lighting but somewhat even lighting.
Shooting in the dark, the back of the subject can seem darker and to cover that up you can use a backlight.
You can use any lamp with the same light bulb as your soft light. The intensity of the two lights can vary, but make sure the color is the same.
If you are using a character-based theme, makeup becomes extremely important to go along with your outfit and the video aesthetic.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with makeup and face paint in case of a costume.
If you are making a sales video with yourself as a subject, foundation and setting powder can help you blur blemishes and harsh lines on your face.
This tip is only to make you appear good on camera. Along with the softbox, makeup will help you blur any harsh lines on your face and give a good overall effect.
It might be a little scary when you first start making videos, but practice makes perfect.
It takes a lot to put yourself out there as a presenter, the last thing you want to do is feel insecure.
These tips will give you an upper hand while recording videos and looking fresh in front of the camera.
The greatest tip to look good on camera costs nothing, and this is our pro tip.
Record right after you wake up from a good night’s sleep. Try it, it will surprise you how much glow you have after you wake up.
And to make it work, record without washing your face. Give it a go, you’ll know what I am talking about.
Hope this blog helps you look your best on camera.