Jessica Abo, the author of Unfiltered How to Be as Happy as You Look on Social Media, has helped a long roster of clients — from CEOs to celebrities — learn how to be comfortable on camera.
In this video, she shares her favorite camera-ready tips to help you nail your next podcast, broadcast, business pitch, or companywide presentation.
1. Check Your Framing
Whether you’re setting up your shot from your home or office, framing is the first thing you want to think about. Too much headroom is a problem that I see all of the time, but here’s the fix.
Just tilt your laptop down a little to ensure that you eliminate all of that extra headroom and take up more of the middle screen. By doing this, you will come across as more authoritative.
2. Know your environment
Think about the background behind you. Avoid sitting in front of a white wall whenever possible, but if you have no choice, try wearing a pop of color (and not a white shirt!), so you don’t get lost in the shot. Add artwork to a basic wall or place a plant on empty bookshelves to enhance your environment.
3. Check Your Lighting
So many people make the mistake of sitting in front of a window, with their back against the window, which makes them backlit. As a result, their face looks dark. Instead, turn yourself around and have that window light shine upon your face so you take advantage of that natural lighting.
If you’re in a situation where you don’t have a window nearby, or you’re doing an interview or a presentation at night, get a ring light so you can brighten up your shot. But note that if you wear glasses, the ring light needs to be taller than your head, pointing down at a 45-degree angle, so that others won’t see those little rings in your glasses.
4. Look here not there
Now that you’re framed properly, sitting in front of a pleasing background, and have great lighting, you need to ensure that you’re looking in the right place. You want to look at the camera and not the screen. Take the time to practice on your device to make sure you’re looking into the camera, so your eye contact looks like you are talking directly to the person you are talking to.
5. Think about sound
It’s important to think about the noises around you. If you’re filming from home, make sure your washing machine or dishwasher isn’t running. Be sure to turn off notifications on your devices so they don’t interrupt you while you are presenting. If you’re in an office, consider putting a do not disturb sign or a recording sign on your door so people know not to disturb you.