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Take a deep breath – How to come across well on camera

Take a big breath and step in front of the camera

We aren’t all made for the red carpet and in fact, I don’t think you need to be.  With the ever-growing pressure for more visual and personal marketing capturing testimonials and standing in front of the camera to show off your business and wares has grown increasingly popular and is something every business should be considering seriously. People invest in people and as long as you are clear and genuine about what you are trying to say I think you will be surprised at how well you will come across.

Even the most seemingly confident person can feel the pressure when the camera lens is pointing at them so here are my tips on getting the best out of them.

The trick is not to rush

Where possible take your time and make it as pressure-free as possible. If you are against the clock don’t let the person in front of the camera feel it as it will only put them off and increase their mistakes.

Forewarn them that you would like to interview/film them. Email your questions/themes of discussion the day before to give them a chance to mentally prepare their answers but don’t rehearse or stage their responses let them respond naturally and in their own way.

Be confident

When filming your staff or a customer testimonial be confident for them, keep calm and keep smiling if they are fluffing it up and panicking – respond with encouragement and guidance – always start with a positive and tell them that they are doing well but you would just like to take one more take and if they could just XYZ will make them feel they are doing ok.

Only have the people there which are necessary. It’s not helpful having fellow staff members grinning in the background and smirking at them if they are stumbling over their lines.


Before you start ask your subject a few warm-up questions to get them comfortable in front of the camera. This will allow you see whether your set up needs any adjustment or if they move out of frame. Rather than stand in front of the camera a lot of people will feel more comfortable being seated and are less likely to step out of the frame and wave their arms around when they talk.

For really nervous subjects remind them to breathe and to relax their shoulders if they are hunched and tense. Literally, ask them to raise and drop their shoulders a few times and take big breaths. Do it with them and they are more likely to mimic you and be less self conscious. If their mind goes blank on a certain phrase change tack and break it up. Don’t expect them to monologue long scripts.


When you ask your subject the question, ensure they say the question in their answer to make sure what they are saying makes sense when you come to edit it. For example: “What impressed you particularly about our ABC product?” Their answer would be: “I was particularly impressed by the quality and efficiency of the ABC product.”

When answering your questions ask your subject to look and speak towards the top of the camera and to look past the lens. Make sure the person who is asking the questions is stood directly behind the camera to ensure their eyes and body language doesn’t instinctively gravitate towards them and away from the camera.

Take one more take

Don’t be afraid to take a couple of shots of the important stuff to ensure you definitely have it. There is no harm in asking them to repeat what they said as it is better to spend a few minutes refining and re-recording a question than having to come back and shoot it all again. If in doubt, capture it one more time.

Be sneaky

Last of all don’t always let them know you are filming or pretend you are capturing a dummy run – you’ll be amazed at how many times people can do it on the cuff without the pressure of thinking they are being recorded!


Image Credit: Camera Operator Setting Up Video Camera by jsawkins Flickr