All my life I was camera shy. I always felt that I photographed really badly. I used to curse my fate. Why does God have to be so unfair. I had friends and cousins who always looked so good in photographs. Something about they way they stand, the way they hold their body, the way they smile, seemed so natural that the maker so natural ice cream would be jealous (ok, that was a bad joke😉)
I was way too body conscious.
I didn't like the way I stood, sat, ate, walked, or laughed.
Believe it or not, my friends and family will let you know it's true.
Last two days we have been doing a photo shoot for the team of the Enterprise India Fellowship. It's been hard work, and crazy fun.
Standing in front of the lights, holding extreme smiles for minutes, twisting and angling your body into power poses requires effort. It's not easy at all.
All of us were struggling to get the facial gestures right. The camera guy and the director kept showing us different reference pictures of models, and asking us to tilt our head 7 degrees this side, and rotate our torso 21 degrees that side. I had a newfound respect for all the celebs in the movies and even the influencers who do this every single day.
That's when one of my colleagues remarked, "this playful ceo (your's truly) is just so natural, he smiles and poses so effortlessly".
30 years of awkwardness, camera shyness and 2 left-feet-ness felt as thought they had finally been neutralised!
I am a natural in front of the camera. I smile and pose effortlessly. Oh wow.
Things can change.
On a different note, being confident in front of the camera has become a crucial life and career skill in today's times. Zoom meetings, Instagram reels, LinkedIn bio's, Facebook covers, Personal websites and Youtube videos are business critical.
Building your online presence and personal brand is important for everyone. My 11 year old nephew Adwait has started his Youtube channel with his dance videos. He has 8 videos so far. That's his body of work.
A young friend of mine took a month off to create a 2 minute video reel of her body of work - her education, her projects, her skills, her work experiences and even her hobby. She painstakingly scripted, shot and edited the video until she got it exactly the way she visualised. When she finally released the video on Facebook and Linked In, she got hundreds of comments from people of all ages. She has now started her own digital marketing agency.
My colleague at Enterprise India Fellowship, Yusuf Hakim, is also the co-founder of www.bohriali.com and they have 19.3K subscribers as of Feb 22. Their customer community consists of thousands of artists and designers across the length and breadth of the country. Their ability to communicate, reach and share new ideas, techniques and best practices with their community is key to their business success.
Whether you are a student, an entrepreneur, a professional or a homemaker, learning to create your presence on camera can be a source of tremendous growth and connection.
Here are 12 tips to increase your comfort in front of the camera:
Take a few deep breaths from your abdomen to reset your nervous system. Remind yourself that video messages are a helpful way to communicate with colleagues — they’re not meant to be perfect or perfectly produced.
When you’re meeting with someone in person, you give them your full attention. The same ethos can help when you are making a video. Be fully present and enjoy the experience. Have fun, be relaxed, but also remember that making video and photo is an important part of your growth.
20% slower, 20% louder
Just as with physical tension, speaking faster could be a byproduct of anxiety. When you’re recording a video, make the conscious effort to slow down your recorded message. Also, speaking a little louder than your usual volume (not too much) will help your voice open up and reduce your nervousness.
Look into the camera
If you still feel awkward, imagine that there’s someone watching on the other end, and it will feel like one side of a two-sided conversation. Focusing your thoughts on the person receiving the message can help quell any anxiety you feel.
At Enterprise, we like to "embrace the weird." We believe that our quirks are essential to who we are as individuals and as a company. One of the best ways to break through your anxiety is to give yourself permission to have fun.
Whether you are on camera or off you MUST learn to love your imperfections just as much as your perfections. Your imperfections make you relatable and likeable and that is a good thing! You can look in a mirror and say 10 positive things about yourself (I like my hair, I have a great smile, I love my laugh etc…) and also say 5 things you consider imperfections (I have a funny mole on my cheek, I tilt my head weird when I feel insecure etc…) and then say, "but it’s okay, because that makes me who I am and I am awesome!".
Practice, practise, practise... and more practise!
The more practice and experience you have the more predictable your experience will be and the more comfortable you will feel. Period. So practice, practice, practice until being on camera feels more natural and predictable. Don't be afraid to do 5, 10... 15 retakes before you are satisfied.
– Practice your lines out loud, even if you will have a teleprompter. Better yet, record yourself on your phone or computer and play it back.
– Take photos of yourself with different facial expressions.
– Practice reading your lines while staring at a large black dot you tape to your wall (don’t use a mirror).
– Close your eyes and visualize your experience going well and feeling fun and relaxed.
– Practice filming yourself several times and watch it back. You can learn what you might want to change and also get used to seeing and hearing yourself on film.
Know your 'why'
Focus on the greater why behind your video and who will be listening to your message. When you care more about getting your message across than how you look or sound you will naturally do better.
Feel like a star!
Do you have a favourite outfit or hairstyle you like to wear? Then wear it! Whatever makes you feel confident, comfortable and like a million bucks – even if it only cost 5 – you should wear that! How you feel even before you walk into our studio will greatly determine how you feel when you start recording.
What helps me is to script out every single word I potentially could use. This gives me the security that I remember my line of thought when I wrote the script. Weirdly enough this gives me the freedom to not stick to the script and say it in my "own words".
Yes, it is the scariest thing in the world. But when you watch yourself over and over again and evaluate what you can do better every single time, your performance will improve and you will get more comfortable over time, you will get to know your own performance.
Talk before you shoot
Before you start filming your script, talk into the camera and record it. Tell what you’ve been up to this morning, what you did yesterday or what you told your mother last week.
The next time you post a selfie on Instagram and you're feeling playful and not camera shy - don't forget to tag me. Would love to see your lovely faces!
Lots of love,