You’ve worked at your company for years.
You help make the decisions, people look up to you, and you’re about to appear in a video on your company’s website, social media channels or maybe even on TV. To effectively convey your message, it’s important to look your best.
Here are five do’s and five don’ts to consider in the run-up to your on-camera debut:
Do wear solid colors.
Whether they’re bright, bold or earthy, keep those colors solid. Stripes, florals and other eye-popping designs are distracting to the casual observer, so keep patterns to a minimum (unless that’s your signature look).
Also, avoid logos. If you show up with a big “swoosh” mark on your chest, you’ll probably have to change, or the editor will have to blur it out in post-production. So, play it safe, and stick to solids—with no brand or team endorsements.
Do apply makeup.
Do you typically have a shiny complexion? If so, dull it down. You don’t want your head to act as a reflector (and major distraction) on camera.
Men are often opposed to this, but everyone should wear some base makeup that matches their natural skin tone when appearing on screen. Viewers will thank you.
Do ask questions.
If this is your first time on camera—or even your hundredth—ask the video team plenty of questions beforehand.
Everyone wants you to look and do your best, so make sure you’re all on the same page as far as expectations, planning and preparation. Ask professionals for their advice, and speak up if something about the production makes you uncomfortable. Discomfort, frustration and anxiety will come through on camera.
Do speak clearly and concisely.
Don’t just wing it. Know your subject matter, and prepare to be the expert once the lights go up—especially if the video is unscripted.
Keep water nearby in case your mouth gets dry, and always speak clearly and concisely. You don’t want a scratchy throat or hesitation in your voice to turn off viewers.
Do get plenty of sleep the night before.
Fatigue shows on camera.
You don’t want to look exhausted when you plop down under the hot lights of a film set. Make sure you get lots of rest the night before. You’ll feel better, you’ll look better, and you’ll have more energy for the busy day ahead.
Don’t forget to smile.
A simple smile can put the audience at ease, and it’s an easy way to trick your own brain into feeling happy.
With all the stress and hubbub of a video shoot, remembering to smile often gets lost in the shuffle. A smiling face goes a long way toward keeping viewers engaged, and it’s a crucial step toward creating a persuasive piece and presenting the best version of yourself.
Don’t wear green (on green-screen shoot days).
If you’re going to be in front of a green screen, resist the urge to wear your lucky green shirt.
Your “Luck o’ the Irish” shirt will “key out” (basically, vanish), and that will be extremely difficult to fix in post-production. If it can’t be fixed, you’ll look like a floating head on the screen. Always ask the videographer ahead of time about the shoot setup to prevent a green-on-green fiasco.
Don’t speak slowly or robotically.
The quickest way to lose viewers is to speak with a monotone. Work on your inflection and body language before sitting down to talk on camera.
Just as you would for a big presentation, practice and prepare your delivery beforehand. Pump up the charm, emotion and energy. (Be careful, though, not to speed through, lest your tongue tangles up on you.) Charisma and passion go a long way toward keeping eyeballs glued to you.
Don’t be discouraged by multiple takes.
Don’t expect perfection on your first attempt. Stay upbeat, be prepared to do multiple takes, and listen to the director/videographer for instructions. Even the pros require a slew of attempts to get it right.
It’s always preferable to take extra time on the day of the shoot instead of having to re-shoot your interview a week later because a line was flubbed or you were flustered on camera. Shooting multiple takes is part of the process and is necessary to achieve excellence in your video project.
Don’t get psyched out.
Don’t worry about being nervous or inexperienced; you were chosen to be in the video for a reason. If you approach production with preparation, passion, patience and a willingness to learn, you’ll do just fine.
A version of this post first appeared on the Circle S Studio blog.