KARINA LYBURN | Personal Branding Photographer

Top tips for using video - IGTV and video conferencing

These unprecedented times are forcing many of us business owners out of our comfort zones and catapulting us well and truly into our learning zones! Video, whether for marketing purposes or team communication, has been on the rise for a while, but right now it’s more important than ever.

But the thought of using video still leaves some of us feeling nervous, sick, stupid, and ultimately, hidden.

So I thought I’d share some super easy practical tips to help you feel more confident on camera.

What do you want to say?

Get clear at the outset on what you want to say to keep focused and minimise the potential for going blank on camera. Make bullet points and have them to hand - if you’re on a video conference, have them open in the corner of your screen at the same time to refer to them, or if you’re posting an Instagram Story or IGTV broadcast, have them pinned onto the surface you’re facing (perhaps a wall or even a window, more about that later!) to avoid you looking down. Make sure to read through them a couple of times so that you’re more familiar with them before you record.

Now that you know what you’re going to say and how to stay on track, how can you make your videos look more professional? There are a few practical things to think about…

1. Light

Making sure you’re well lit is critical when it comes to video - how many videos have you seen where the quality is poor because it’s too dark, or whoever’s presenting is half bleached out and half in shade? It’s not a good look! 

Nice, even light is where it’s at, friends.

In order to find the most even light, set up camp in front of a window that’s not in direct sunlight (this might be on the not-so-sunny side of your home). This is where the light will be most consistent and reliable. Position yourself so that you’re facing the window either full on or at a 45 degree angle so that any shadows on your face aren’t too harsh. If the camera is exposing for you, it’ll also help darken the background behind you (can be super useful if your house doesn’t happen to look like a Pinterest show home!)

2. Background

Where possible, find a nice clean background to be in front of. If you’ve worked with me before you’ll know how much I love a good wall! It’s no different for video. A non-fussy wall is ideal - it puts the focus on you and what you’re saying, and not on the pants that are drying on the radiator! The main thing to remember is, if your ideal client was watching this, would you be happy for them to see what’s in the background?

3. Stability

The more stable your video, the more professional it looks. Simple. But we don’t all have tripods for our phones, and the thought of creating video content makes us shake like a Kenwood Mixer on full speed, so what are our options to improve the stability of our videos?  If you’re recording on your laptop, make sure it’s on a flat hard surface. If you’re using your phone, lean your arm / elbow on something steady like a windowsill, wall, table, or try my favourite trick, I often sit on the floor and lean my elbow on my knee. Or try leaning your phone somewhere steady but where you can still be heard clearly through the microphone. 

4. Angle

How many videos have you seen where it’s a cracking shot of someone’s chin? Yep, been there! The most flattering angle for video is ever so slightly higher than eye level. If you’re using your laptop, try stacking it on top of a few books so that it’s slightly higher than normal, or if you’re using your phone, practice your best selfie angle (okay, not quite!). Sneaky, cheeky double chins, no more!

You’re well on your way to mastering this video lark - you’re clear on what to say and you’ve got all the tools to create flattering, stable videos.

I just have one final tip for you: Breathe!

When the camera’s rolling, you’re so busy concentrating on any combination of the following: what you’re there to talk about, what that flicky bit of hair is doing, how flattering this window light really is, praying you’re not about to step on the creaky floorboard and that it might sound like a fart, the blood that’s draining from your arm while you film this, whether you’re saying “erm,” too much, why it is that when you laugh your face goes backwards into your neck and the double chin that you don’t even have mysteriously appears out of nowhere… that you might forget to breathe. Pace yourself and take natural pauses (they’ll sound longer to you in your head than they will on camera, trust me), and remember to breathe.

I hope that’s helpful for you! I’d love for you to drop me a message on Instagram and let me know. I can’t wait to see all the epic video content you create. Here’s to embracing our learning zones, friends!

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