First of all, why would you want to do such a thing? Why would you want to put your face on camera? Putting yourself out there like that means that sooner or later someone’s going to leave an unkind comment -that you’re going to be seen and judged.

But while that all may be very true, there’s a major shift that’s taking place in media right now that can benefit you, if you’re bold enough take advantage.

Video is, by far, the most consumed type of media and the demand is only increasing.

HubSpot recently published data that shows 66% of people watch videos when they want to learn about a product or brand.

For evidence of this, we only need to look at YouTube who has over 2 billion monthly logged-in users collectively sharing over 500 hours of content every minute of every day. Then there’s TikTok, which already has over 1 billion active users on the platform since its launch in 2017.

Every social network is prioritizing video, and the TikTok ban will spark an all-out war over dominance in the vertical / short video category, so the competition is just starting to heat up with no sign of stopping.

Video seems like a big thing today but it’s going to be orders of magnitude larger and more pervasive than it is now. And that’s why you have to get comfortable on camera, because video is an unstoppable force, a sweeping change that is going to pull us along in its wake.

In this post I’m going to give you 7 of my best tips for preparing yourself for this transition and getting comfortable putting your face on camera.

Tip #1: Shoot Practice Videos Before Trying To Record Real Content

Your first vide isn’t going to be perfect. It’s not even going to be good. I’ve shot over a hundred videos now and I still have to do 15 takes in a row at least once during each recording session. Being on video, and especially playing the role of director, actor, and camera person, all at the same time, is just an awkward thing to do.

Recording yourself on video takes some getting used to, so I recommend shooting a bunch of test footage of yourself practicing. This way you can see all the things you’re doing that you need to stop doing so you look good and perform well on camera.

It’s a very unnatural experience. When you’re recording a video you’re usually trying to make the result look cool and natural but the reality isn’t that at all.

Even now that I’ve been making videos for a while, I have to do a couple of practice takes before each new video just to make sure my hair looks good, there aren’t any weird shadows on my face or in the background behind me, the sound is recording correctly, and so on.

Plus practicing with a quick take gives you the opportunity to play with how you position yourself in the shot, delivering your opening hook, and other small, but key, aspects of producing quality videos.

Tip #2: Force Yourself To Shoot A Lot Of Videos

You’re probably going to want to be a perfectionist at first but it’s much more effective to just “get in the reps” as they say -to practice by putting in real work.

Perfectionism is the enemy because no matter how well you prepare in the beginning your videos aren’t going to be as good as they will be when you’ve had a lot of practice. You’ve got to get more videos out in order to practice more, learn more, and improve as a creator.

The good news is that your first videos aren’t going to get a lot of traction. This may seem like a bad thing, and it’s certainly disappointing , but in the long run it’s an advantage.

If your views are low, you don’t really have to worry about getting negative feedback or “people not liking your videos” because there aren’t many people seeing them at first. This gives you time to work out the kinks and be making better videos by the time they actually start getting views and attention. Those first couple of videos are just priming the YouTube engine and don’t tend to produce results anyway.

Each video you shoot and edit will add to your skill. And this will be quite significant at first because of the 80/20 rule: where 80% of your gains come from the first 20% of new effort.

When you know very little about making videos, it’s easy to gain experience quickly. Over time that slows and you have to work harder at these gains but, in the beginning, it’s all easy, all exciting, and all a big improvement. So lean into that learning phase and maximize your reps.

Tip #3: Analyze Yourself On Camera Critically

Just like hearing your voice on a recording for the first time, it’s unnerving to see yourself on camera. Of all the things in your life you’ve seen, you’ve seen yourself the least, and it’s very awkward to see yourself through other people’s eyes.

It’s awkward to realize that your mental image of yourself is a reflection that’s backwards to how everyone else sees you. Seeing yourself on video is just an awkward thing to get used to, all the way around.

Yet, this is how you improve on camera. Being good on camera isn’t about being yourself; as much a people will tell you that. It’s about being an over-the-top version of yourself that the camera can successfully capture and convey at the level you want people to actually perceive.

Just talking at the camera makes you look deadpan and rigid. How you hold your body will probably be very stiff at first. How you move your head in the frame and what that looks like in the cropped space of the video will be weird at first. Everything feels weird at first.

That’s because recording a video is one of the most unnatural things you can do. You have to look into the lens of a camera and speak to an unseen audience while pretending to have an personal conversation with one person. And you have to convey all the emotions and body language that would typically accompany your speech in person inside the tiny space of the camera’s frame.

All this stuff takes practice. But you won’t improve unless you can look at the finished product critically and give yourself feedback like a director.

Tip #4: Setting Is Essential

There’s a lot of video content in the world and people are shown dozens to hundreds of clips each day. Every touch of personalization you can add to your videos helps them stand out and retain viewers. Since the majority of videos today are just people talking at the camera, this can really start to blend in with all the other videos in the feeds of potential viewers.

Your personal aesthetic, and the setting that you are recording yourself in, are like branding elements when it comes to your videos. You want to create a consistent look and feel that catches a potential viewer’s attention and is recognizable when they see more of your videos in the future.

It’s less likely that someone will watch one of your videos and immediately follow you than watch a bit, click away, watch other videos, and finally become a subscriber later. This will most likely occur when your other videos are suggested to them -and not necessarily the second, or the third video either.

Video platforms are watching user behavior and recommending videos that are similar to the videos they’ve recently watcehd. So you’ll most likely get multiple chances to make an impression on each viewer if you’re posting regularly and your videos are memorable.

Designing your studio set so that your videos have a consistent, recognizable look helps you be stickier with those potential viewers that find you, click away, and then see more of your content in the future.

Plus, if you can convey a mood -or a vibe- with your set that complements your overall personality, it makes it easier for people to identify with you, which in turn makes them like you, and your content more appealing.

Tip #5: Getting The Light Right

Bad lighting makes you look awful. Just like bad sound, lighting issues can make your videos unwatchable and put you out into the world in an unflattering way. Set lighting is its own science / art and it can get quite complicated but you only need to master the basics and you can improve the quality of your videos dramatically.

There are a variety of set ups that can work, depending on the size of your space and the ambient light; such as a one, two, or three light setup.

For TikTokkers, vloggers, and other creators who film very close up, a lot of the time a simple ring light illuminating their face is sufficient. For extra credit a soft light, or better, a colorful LED light, in the background can create a pleasant contrast and add depth to the shot.

For situations where you’re shooting a person at a desk or in a room with challenging lighting, a two-light setup will be more effective. In this scenario you have light hit the subject at an angle from the corners, just outside your shot, so that one light is illuminating the subject and the other eliminates the shadows behind them (cast by the first light).

For more complicated sets and larger spaces, a three-light configuration adds a bright overhead light casting down from between the two lights in the previous configuration. This creates the feeling you’re accustomed to seeing on the big sets of television news broadcasts and talk shows, with brightly lit, expansive environments.

To get good at lighting your set, find several YouTube videos that explain the different lighting configurations, watch them all, and take notes. Then order yourself some basic lights and start experimenting in your studio environment.

As I’ve mentioned already, practice makes perfect. So shoot some practice videos so that you can see how the lighting works when you’re talking, moving actively, being more passive, sitting forward or leaning back, etc.

Looking your best on camera helps you be a much more confident creator and whether you look good or not often comes down to lighting.

Tip #6: Become A Better Editor

Sure, there’s nothing a video editor can do to fix lighting issues, or make sure that you look presentable on camera, but after that almost all of the appeal of a video happens in post-production (during editing).

Here are a few simple editing tips that will instantly improve your videos and demonstrate just how important those skills are if you want to get comfortable being on camera.

Cut To The Action

Never let their be a dull moment in your video, primarily because it hurts retention (because people get bored very easily), but also because you look awkward in those little gaps in speech. Plus, you’ll often really make weird faces in those moments that really show up on camera. Just cut out all those gaps and the viewer’s mind will always be too occupied to notice your faults.

Add Sound Effects And Music

It feels weirdly empty not to have any sounds but the hollow microphone version of your voice in a video. It takes a little extra time to add extra touches like sound effects and music but you’ll find that all this stuff adds up to make your video feel more pro and you look like more of a badass as a result.

Seamlessly Edit Out Your Mistakes

It probably sounds obvious when I say you should edit your recording but what I mean is that you should take the time to learn to edit well, cutting in the center of a pause before the bit you want to remove, and then cutting to the action afterwards. When done right, the edit becomes almost imperceptible.

When you get better at editing video, the things that drive you crazy about seeing yourself on camera become much less noticeable because your performance is dominating the viewer’s attention, instead of your appearance.

Tip #7: Don’t Show Your Videos To Anyone You Know

Friends and family can be very supportive, sometimes…other times, not so much. Also friends and family will often not feel comfortable being completely honest with us, so the feedback we get from them isn’t very reliable.

Either way, they really aren’t that helpful to the process of becoming a successful creator. And they’re probably not your audience anyway.

Instead, rely on the kindness (or meanness) of strangers; the Internet is full of them. When you finally start posting your work to video platforms and they (finally) start receiving some views, see what feedback you can gather from the analytics and your comments, etc. It won’t be a lot at first but even silence can be very telling (if you are getting views but no engagement, for example).

You have to check our ego at the door when you get to this stage because you won’t grow if you can’t take feedback positively, even when it’s harsh. But it’s far easier to take the useful bit out of what some random internet commenter says, and ignore whatever crappy comment they might make, than it is to suffer disappointing someone whose opinion actually matters to you. So don’t tell anyone you know that you’re making videos, just put them out to the world and see what happens.

Get Comfortable On Camera Or Get Left Behind

In the marketing industry, we’ve been saying for years that it’s high time we all took video seriously, and to be fair, it has been. It has been important for years, and some marketers jumped in early and have done some very impressive things in video marketing.

Most of us though, myself included, have found it very intimidating, time-consuming, and expensive to make a regular practice of video marketing.

These days, however, the barrier to entry is much lower, the required skill set is much less intense, and the demand for video is unbelievably high; so there’s no room for those same old excuses anymore.

Video is the future of media. People don’t read like they used to and, even though I personally hate that fact, it’s still a fact.

Words are cheap, and it’s always better to show than tell. So, in this world of cheaply produced false realities, people have learned only to trust what comes from an authentic place of personal experience and genuine passion. Deep fakes are possible, but faking this level of authenticity is still out of the reach of the robots.

To promote whatever you need to promote in the future, you’re going to have to do it with your face and from a place of genuine passion -or your viewers are going to see your insecurity as inauthenticity and click / swipe away immediately.

It’s finally time -time to get comfortable with putting your face on camera.


I’m Nate, a digital marketer and content creator running my agency from the Riviera Maya in Mexico and sharing what I know to help other marketers get better at their craft and make more money online with marketing.

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Nathan Binford

Creator & Digital Marketer

“The Mindful Marketer” 🧘‍♂️ I help people achieve freedom through marketing and mindfulness. | Develop the skills and mindset for success. Join for free at NathanBinford.com/subscribe.

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