Life in front of the lens

What really goes through the mind of someone stepping into life in front of the lens for the first time? Even the most experienced of us hesitate in front of that little red light jumping into action. We get distracted from the task at hand, and ultimately forget how to string two words together. We start questioning everything, every movement, trying to present ourselves as best we can, ultimately coming across stiff and robotic.

As a photographer and videographer, whenever I’m on a shoot, I spend much of my time building a rapport, trying to demonstrate to clients that camera shyness is normal. Admittedly, from the safety of the other-side of the camera. It is important to reassure clients that they look great in front of the lens, under these circumstances everyone goes through the same thing. When the final shots are delivered they usually say, “what was I thinking, I’m a natural”. There’s always a nice sense reassurance that you’re doing something right when you hear this.

life in front of the lens

Lights, Camera, Fight or flight

So why is it that we get paralysed by stage fright in front of a camera? Granted, we’re no longer being chased by wild animals, have we not evolved beyond fight or flight? Nonetheless, that same sense of being watched resurfaces all these fears.

My first time swapping roles, and moving to life in front of the lens was no different, it was complete panic!! Waves of anxiety and dread yet somewhere amongst the darkness there was a flicker of excitement. From the very moment Talent Garden approached me to feature in their “A day in the life of a Tagger” series, I was a ball of nerves.

A Star is Born: A day in the life of a Tagger

My initial thought was to say no, saying it’s not for me, it’s not my thing; a line that I’ve uttered many times over the years. All of a sudden that dreaded imposter syndrome began to set in; I took a breath, thought about the team I’d be working with and the trust that I have in them and thought what have I got to lose.

With all this in mind, here are a few tips I’ve picked up that might help next time you find yourself spending life in front of the lens.

5 Tips to feel more comfortable in front of the lens

The good news is that there are a few tips to help overcome this feeling. Ultimately don’t forget it won’t last for ever either.

Tip 1: Breathe

Breath work is a fantastic practice, it can relax your body and help lower anxiety levels. The goal here is to slow down, don’t under estimate the power of approaching these things nice and steady. If you’re recording for video try to make a conscious effort to slow your talking speed down, not everyone will be used to the cadence you speak at. This is a good way to lower your anxiety and help you manage getting your point across without rambling.

Tip 2: A good playlist

Not exactly beneficial if shooting a video, in either case, if you’re preparing for a photoshoot ask the photographer if they’ll have a speaker in the studio. Having some music that you love and can bop along too will help get you more comfortable in these new surroundings.

Tip 3: IG Stories & TikTok

If you see yourself in front of the camera more often, a good tip is to start making Instagram Stories or TikToks. By simply recording yourself and seeing yourself on camera, you will become more comfortable over time. So when you find your self in a position that requires you to be on camera by and large you won’t be as shy or awkward. Plus you’ll get used to the way you sound too, that first time hearing how you sound is always terrifying.

The take away here is to practice, practice different angles which may feel awkward to you, but looks natural to the audience. Don’t be discouraged and keep practicing!

Tip 4: Work with someone you trust

This was a big take away for me to be comfortable in front of the camera, especially in the Talent Garden video above. I knew Kevin and I worked well together. Being comfortable with him made getting shots and taking direction far easier.

Tip 5: Find your angles

Before you go out to a shoot, practice some poses in the mirror. This way you’ll find what angles you like, and what works for you. Don’t forget that this is a mirrored image of yourself. Don’t worry, no one will call you vein for this.

Bonus tip

Always make sure that you wear something that you’re comfortable in and makes you feel good, that way you’ll be confident when on camera.

Big Dog Showreel 2022

In Conclusion, everything you’re feeling is normal, this isn’t just happening to you. With just these few tips, of which there are many more, you will get a handle on camera shyness in no time.

Finally, we couldn’t let this opportunity slide, and if you’ll oblige us to do a little self promotion. At Big Dog Digital we are thrive to design and develop tailor made digital experiences for our clients by applying our creative passion help you tell your brands story.

If you are thinking about creating some digital content for your brand, whether it’s team headshots or product shots, a mini documentary telling your story or simply a collection of 30s videos for social media. Big Dog Digital have the skills to help you achieve this. We can help you plan, write and shoot from start to finish.

Check out our 2022 Showreel below, get in touch we’d love to work with you.

Grá, Cathal.

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